The Kansas City Chiefs will try to keep up their late-season momentum and push for a bye in the playoffs as they pay a visit to the Chicago Bears in Week 16. Kickoff is at 8:20 EST on Sunday, December 22 at Soldier Field in Chicago. The game will be televised nationally on NBC.
According to the Week 16 NFL odds, the Chiefs are 6-point road favorites. The over/under for the game is set at 44 points.
On the heels of a four-game winning streak, the Chiefs have comfortably clinched the AFC West and are looking forward to another playoff run. With all the attention being given to Lamar Jackson, people have almost forgotten about Patrick Mahomes, last year’s MVP. After missing some time with an injury, he’s back in the saddle and has Kansas City at 10-4 heading into the final two weeks of the season.
With the division title secured, the Chiefs are hoping they can move up to the no. 2 seed in the AFC and earn a first-round bye. At 10-4, they trail the 11-3 Patriots by a game, although they own the head-to-head tiebreaker with New England. That means if the Chiefs can win their two remaining games, they can get the no. 2 seed if the Patriots lose one of their final two games. In other words, don’t expect Andy Reid to take his foot off the gas these last two weeks.
On the other side, it’s all over for the Bears. Despite a four-game losing streak earlier this season, Chicago put up a valiant fight, winning three in a row in late November and early December to stay in the hunt. However, the Bears came up a little short in Green Bay last week, knocking them out of playoff contention.
At 7-7, the Bears are in no-man’s land. They aren’t going to get a top-10 draft pick and they aren’t going to the playoffs. The Bears may get a chance to play spoiler for the rival Vikings in Week 17, but it might be tough to find motivation for their home finale against the Chiefs. However, there is an interesting subplot to this game with Chicago head coach Matt Nagy being a longtime assistant of Reid, including two years as Kansas City’s offensive coordinator before coming to Chicago.
There’s no question that the Chiefs are a team that you don’t mind taking as a road favorite. I’ll admit that the Bears are a little bit of a threat to beat the spread in this game because they are good defensively. But even good defenses can look average against Mahomes. Also, keep in mind that Chicago’s recent wins came against the Giants, Lions, and floundering Cowboys. Kansas City should be a little out of their league, so I’ll lean toward the Chiefs to cover.
We can go on all day about Mahomes, but I want to give the Kansas City defense some credit. They were a huge liability last season, and that’s been true for large chunks of this season as well. However, the Chiefs are starting to look adequate on that side of the ball following a massive overhaul last offseason. The Chiefs are giving up just over 11 points per game during their current four-game winning streak. Keep in mind that stretch includes giving up 16 points in New England a couple of weeks ago, so it might not be a fluke.
The K.C. defense should e able to keep it going against Mitch Trubisky and the Chicago offense. Trubisky has a nice collection of receivers around him, but he still manages to underperform. Despite Trubisky throwing for over 300 yards last week, the Bears only managed 13 points, with 10 of them coming in the fourth quarter after Chicago had fallen behind 21-3. Trubisky has also thrown at least one interception in five straight games while the Bears struggle to get consistent production from their rushing attack.
Needless to say, that puts a lot of pressure on the Chicago defense this week to force a low-scoring game. That’s not to say that the Bears aren’t up for it. On the season, they’re giving up just 18 points per game, which is even more impressive when you consider Chicago’s offensive inconsistency. But the Bears, like everyone else, will have their hands full against one of the NFL’s elite offensive teams. Chicago couldn’t slow down Drew Brees and the Saints earlier this year, so Mahomes and the Chiefs will pose a stiff challenge as well.
Not even a snowstorm could slow down Mahomes last week. He threw for 340 yards, completing 27 of his 34 passes against the Denver defense. Also, Mahomes has thrown just four interceptions this season, so he continues to have a high upside without making a lot of mistakes. The Chiefs, of course, would like to get more out of their running game. But Kansas City is playing with a full deck at wide receiver and tight end, which means Mahomes and the passing game are usually enough to get the job done.
While I admit the Chicago defense has a chance to slow down the Chiefs and make this a one-score game, I still think the odds are against the Bears in this game. The Kansas City offense is too explosive, and once they start to get a little separation, I have no faith in Trubisky to keep pace with Mahomes. I’ll lay down the points and take the Chiefs to win and cover.