The Kansas City Chiefs are still fighting for first place in the AFC West.  They are a game back on the Broncos and while passing Denver seems unlikely at this point, they still need a couple more wins to secure the first Wild Card position in the AFC.  They are on the road this week against the Redskins, but Washington has been mathematically eliminated from the playoff picture, so it seems unlikely the Redskins will be playing with a lot of heart this week.

Washington’s postseason dreams have been shattered.  While I don’t think the entire team will put forth their best effort this week, they are led by a quarterback that seems very concerned with his reputation.  RGIII will not want to go out as the worst team in the NFC, and he has the ability to carry this team on his back.  A win over Kansas City this week would take away some of the pain from sitting on the worst record in the conference.

Kick-off takes place this Sunday at 1:00 PM ET with regional television coverage provided by CBS.  Kansas City is expected to win this game on the road.  The Chiefs are three-point favorites over the Redskins, and the total has been set at 45.5-points.

Why Kansas City Covers

The Chiefs have struggled recently, but they are still in much better shape than the Washington Redskins.  Kansas City leads the Wild Card race, and a win this week over the Redskins would secure a spot in the post season.  Kansas City is averaging 24.8 points per game this season, and they should make easy work of a Washington defense that has allowed 29.3 points per game at home.  Kansas City has arguably the best running back in football with Jamaal Charles.  He is currently second in the league with 1,463 yards, and is tied for third with 11 overall touchdowns.  Washington has been hurt by the run, allowing 115 rushing yards per game on 4.2 yards per carry at home this year.

The Washington Redskins are 2-5 ATS in their last seven home games.

Kansas City’s defense has an amazing ability to step up their level of play on the road.  They are holding opponents to 15 points per game on the road this year, and that is a big reason why they have a 4-1 record straight-up and against the spread in those games.  The secondary should have no problem shutting down RGIII this week.  They have held opposing quarterbacks to a 49.7 percent completion rate in road games, and RGIII has thrown 11 interceptions with just 16 touchdowns this season.  The Chiefs run defense has struggled at times, but against a 3-9 team like Washington and a playoff birth on the line I expect them to once again step up their level of play.

Why Washington Covers

After last week’s loss to the Giants the Redskins are officially eliminated from the playoff race.  They did not have much of a chance going into that game, but they still came out and gave it everything they had.  They have the benefit of playing at home again this week, and without the pressure of the playoffs and a division opponent in town I think they will have a much stronger performance.  The Chiefs have benefited from a soft schedule until recent weeks, and with Kansas City losing three straight games coming into this week’s matchup it is obvious they are not as good as their 9-0 start to the season would indicate.

The Washington Redskins are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games against a team with a winning record.

The Redskins have struggled on defense this year, but they will catch a break this week against Alex Smith.  Smith has completed just 59.3 percent of his pass attempts this year and averages a mere 213 passing yards per game.  He has also been sacked 32 times, and the Redskins have a very underrated pass rush.  There are definitely some positives to take away from this stop unit.  They have held opposing backs to four yards per carry against the run, which is impressive considering their opponents have averaged 121 rushing yards per game on 4.4 yards per carry.

My Pick

I don’t know how the oddsmakers can continue to give the Redskins so much respect.  They are not the same team we saw last season, and they have very little chance of putting up a respectable number against this stout Kansas City defense.  The Chiefs are one of the best teams in the AFC, and they should have no problem picking up a big win on the road this week.