Thursday matchup a worthy finale
Chargers, Chiefs meet in critical AFC West contest
For those fans who dislike Thursday-night football, rejoice that this week is the final game of the season on such short rest.
Also rejoice that it’s one of the best matchups of the year, with hefty implications in the standings, as Kansas City plays host to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Even with a loss, the Chiefs keep the top spot in the AFC West with a better division record, as the teams will have split their series. A win for Kansas City (11-2) could secure the top seed in the conference, though, depending on what happens to the Patriots and Texans.
The Chargers (10-3), who lost to K.C. 38-28 in the season opener, will own a post-season berth with a victory. They also can get in with a loss and help elsewhere.
Los Angeles is a 3½-point underdog. We think, right now, the Chargers are the more balanced team, though winning on the road on Thursday nights is difficult, especially if your top two running backs are out. That could be the case with Melvin Gordon (knee) and Austin Ekeler (neck, concussion protocol) both uncertain. Chiefs, 30-29 Green Bay (+5½) at Chicago
Normally, a letdown for the Bears could be expected. Not against the Packers, though.
Best bet: Bears, 23-16
Dallas (+3) at Indianapolis
We recognize this could be a sucker bet. OK, we’re suckers. Upset special: Cowboys, 20-17 New England (-1½) at Pittsburgh
Steelers about to blow division and maybe even a wild-card spot. Patriots, 39-32
Tampa Bay (+8) at Baltimore
Ravens about to surge to AFC North title. Ravens, 26-20 New Orleans (-6½) at Carolina, Monday night
Saints need to stay ahead of Rams for NFC home-field edge. Saints, 33-20
Philadelphia (+9½) at L.A. Rams
Eagles play hard while undermanned, just don’t win enough. Rams, 37-24
Seattle (-5½) at San Francisco
Seahawks have that NFC wildcard berth in sight. Seahawks, 17-13 Houston (-6) at N.Y. Jets, Saturday
Texans get back on track in New Jersey. Texans, 28-13
Tennessee (+2½) at Giants
Titans keep it going in New Jersey? Well, no. Giants, 30-19 Cleveland (+3) at Denver, Saturday
Browns on right track, Broncos too banged up. Browns, 27-23 Miami (+7) at Minnesota
No “Drake Escape” or “Miami Miracle” this week. Vikings, 22-20 Arizona (+8½) at Atlanta
Cardinals even more confounding than Falcons. Falcons, 30-20 Detroit (+2½) at Buffalo
Two more confounding alsorans. Bills, 23-17
Oakland (+3) at Cincinnati
Bengals have lost their way. They’ll find it for a week. Bengals, 21-20
Washington (+7) at Jacksonville
Will Redskins show up this week? Will Jags? Jaguars, 20-10
Last week: Against spread, 8-8; straight up, 9-7
Season totals: Against spread, 10393-7; straight up, 136-70-2
Best bet: 4-10 against spread, 9-5 straight up
Upset special: 8-6 against spread, 7-6-1 straight up