Chiefs HC Andy Reid has joined the growing list of NFL coaches who make no bones about it – if it’s Week 17 and their team has nothing to play for, they’re not going to play the starters.
In fact, Kansas City actually has more to play for than a lot of playoff teams giving it the old “we come to win” cliche. A prized rookie QB, Patrick Mahomes II, will be taking his first live-fire NFL snaps. He’s a talented player, the Chiefs just bring rookie signal-callers along the old-fashioned way, and the last thing anybody in the franchise wants is for the young man to have a dismal debut.
That’s not stopping odds-makers from giving rival Denver the nod in the point spread, however. Action has confirmed that the thinking among bettors and analysts is the same – given a revolving supporting cast and a hostile venue, Mahomes will not be able to handle playing against a tough defense.
Who: Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos
When: Sunday, December 31st, 4:25 PM EST
Where: Sports Authority Field, Denver, CO
Lines: KC (+4) at DEN (-4) / O/U Total: (38)
Denver has been playing somewhat better, winning 2 in a row before allowing Kirk Cousins to throw for almost 3 bills in a 27-11 road loss to Washington. Memphis product Paxton Lynch will get the start in another chapter of the Broncos’ absurd quarterback saga.
Lynch has never had a sustained shot as a starter in the NFL. His stats aren’t bad, and his mobility might be a load for the 2nd-string KC defense to deal with.
Mahones’ supporting cast will be looking ahead, and he won’t get to gel with any particular starter for more than a quarter at a time. Is there anything special he might do to overcome the disadvantage? Mahones only runs a 4.8 40 yard dash and won’t look like a thrilling play-maker on the run. But he’s got a nice arm and can move around the backfield. Reid is likely to have a little fun with waggle-passes and roll-outs.
We’re thinking that (38) total points is a low number, since one defense won’t be completely ready for what Lynch brings to the table, and the other could be unprepared for a mysterious rookie. If the QBs blunder and turn it over (Lynch has a nasty fumbling habit) it could set up extra points-off-TOs. Finally, the fact that Lynch will be playing against a 2nd-string, foot-off-the-pedal KC defense is the icing on the cake.
It’s likely that 40+ points will be scored. Take the over for a winner at Mile High.