When the Kansas City Chiefs host the Seattle Seahawks at a wild Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, there will be ample playoff implications at stake. With both teams at 6-3 and in second place of their respective divisions, a loss would not be crippling but certainly makes the next six weeks harder. A win puts either in great position to qualify for the postseason.
This is a pivotal game for the Chiefs from this standpoint; with a win, Kansas City moves to 7-3 with the Oakland Raiders on deck. If the Chiefs take care of business against the only winless team in the NFL, they would be hosting the Denver Broncos in Week 13 with a chance to take first place in the AFC West. With a loss to Seattle, chances are that Kansas City's only realistic hope for the playoffs is through the wild card route.
So, can the Chiefs get the job done against the defending champs? Our guys weigh in:
Seattle Seahawks at Kansas City Chiefs (EVEN)
Matt Verderame: Chiefs 23, Seahawks 17
This is going to be a brawl. Both of these teams are going to pound each other in the trenches all day with the hope of wearing down the other. The Chiefs have to control the sticks and win on third down, something they have done all season sans the Buffalo game. Kansas City must be disciplined on the defensive edges, with the Seahawks loving the read option. The Chiefs have to force Russell Wilson to hand off and keep the play inside. I think they do it, with Arrowhead in full throat.
Matt Conner: Chiefs 21, Seahawks 10
I think the Chiefs have taken care of business in difficult places, and they continue to see young players get better each week. The Seahawks have gotten on track against the Panthers, Raiders, and Giants, so it's hard to tell whether they're in championship form or not. However, I think KC surprises a lot of folks this week with their ability to stuff Marshawn Lynch at the line of scrimmage and force Russ Wilson into a couple of mistakes.
Clay Wendler: Chiefs 24, Seahawks 16
The Seahawks get a reminder of the REAL loudest stadium in the NFL. Alex Smith again fails to throw a TD to a WR, but makes up for it by throwing two to tackle-eligible linemen. The Chiefs take a full body cast of Andy Reid in preparation for erecting his bronze statue outside Arrowhead.
Joel Thorman: Chiefs 24, Seahawks 23
The Chiefs aren't always pretty but they keep winning. That continues this week.
Seth Keysor: Chiefs 31, Seahawks 21
I think the Chiefs offense surprises people on Sunday. It's looked a little vanilla as of late, with lots of hints of fancy stuff (fakes to DAT, bunch formations without bubble screens, etc.) without really delivering. I think we're due for another game like the MNF game against the Patriots, when Andy Reid unleashed a ton of previously unseen formations and plays. Winning this game puts the Chiefs in the driver's seat for a playoff run even more so than they already are. Marshawn Lynch scares me, but if the Chiefs can get up early, a chaotic Arrowhead ( I expect fans to be insane against the team with the "other" loud fans) will be Russell Wilson's worst nightmare.
Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins (-5)
Miami (5-4) is the better team and is at home. While I respect the Bills (5-4) and fully expect the defensive line to pound on Ryan Tannehill, I have no faith in Doug Marrone to win the game with any kind of logical playcalling. It should be close, but the Dolphins will take the day.
Pick: Dolphins 20, Bills 13
Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers (EVEN)
This has to be the worst game of all-time between two teams that can actually win their division. The NFC South is a disgrace to football, leaving these crap bags in the race. Atlanta (3-6) is pretty worthless but has an offense. Carolina (3-5-1) is completely worthless, and therefore will lose again.
Pick: Falcons 30, Panthers 23
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears (-3)
Chicago (3-6) is atrocious and seems hellbent on getting Marc Trestman fired. However, Minnesota (4-5) is still going through some growing pains with Teddy Bridgewater throwing more interceptions (5) than touchdowns (3). This game should be banned from television.
Pick: Bears 27, Vikings 23
Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns (-3)
This is a sneaky-interesting game. Cleveland (6-3) is leading the AFC North for the first time since dinosaurs roamed the Earth and could further the claim that its a legitimate playoff contender. Houston (4-5) is simply trying to figure out if Ryan Mallett has a future as a starting quarterback. My God, the Browns might win again.
Pick: Browns 22, Texans 20
Cincinnati Bengals at New Orleans Saints (-8)
Does anybody think Cincinnati (5-3-1) is going into the Superdome and beating New Orleans (4-5) after it lost at home last week. The Saints are going to come out flying, Andy Dalton is going to play like Andy Dalton, and Marvin Lewis is still on the sideline. Good luck, Cincy.
Pick: Saints 34, Bengals 24
San Francisco 49ers (-4) at New York Giants
The Giants have proven they're incapable of beating anybody with a pulse over the past four games, so San Francisco (5-4) begins to get on a roll here. Colin Kaepernick is the most overrated quarterback in the NFL, but he will find holes in New York's (3-6) swiss cheese defense.
Pick: 49ers 28, Giants 20
Denver Broncos (-10) at St. Louis Rams
I would love St. Louis (3-6) to pull off a massive upset, but it isn't happening. Denver (7-2) is going to score at will against the Rams mediocre secondary while Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware feast on
Austin Davis Shaun Hill. St. Louis' only hope is weird turnovers and trick plays. I wouldn't bet on it.
Pick: Broncos 35, Rams 17
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington (-8.5)
I refuse to write about this game. Washington (3-6) and Tampa Bay (1-8) should both be contracted.
Pick: Washington 26, Buccaneers 24
Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers (-11.5)
San Diego (5-4) has to win this game. The Chargers are coming off a bye week and after losing three straight, need to make a serious run starting right now. Oakland (0-9) is absolutely rancid on every possible level and without a couple of major breaks, is going to struggle to win a game.
Pick: Chargers 37, Raiders 20
Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers (-5)
This should be a great watch. Green Bay (6-3) is rolling behind an MVP-caliber season out of Aaron Rodgers, who has not thrown an interception at home since Dec. 2012. Philadelphia (7-2) will play itself into the postseason behind Mark Sanchez, but he won't outgun Rodgers in the Frozen Tundra.
Pick: Packers 31, Eagles 23
Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals (-1)
Can Arizona (8-1) win with Drew Stanton at the helm long-term? Stanton held the fort before, but this time he knows that Carson Palmer won't be returning. Detroit is going to be a firm test considering it has the best defense in the NFL. The Lions are a more talented team, but are they the better one? Tough call, but I'll go with the better quarterback.
Pick: Lions 23, Cardinals 19
New England Patriots at Indianapolis Colts (-2.5)
This is easily the game of the week. Tom Brady vs. Andrew Luck is going to be a blast, while it will be fascinating to see what type of scheme Bill Belichick comes up with to stop the Indianapolis (6-3) passing attack. New England (7-2) is a better all-around team, but Luck makes it an even matchup.
Pick: Colts 38, Patriots 34
Pittsburgh Steelers (-5.5) at Tennessee Titans
Pittsburgh (6-4) is not dropping two consecutive contests against bad teams. Tennessee (2-7) is an awful team with Zach Mettenberger at the helm. It would be shocking if the Titans can pull this one off, despite the Steelers' penchant for poor play.
Pick: Steelers 29, Titans 16
Last Week: 10-3 (10-3 ATS AGAIN!!!)