The Kansas City Chiefs continue life without Patrick Mahomes this week when they play host to the Minnesota Vikings. Game time is at 1:00 EST on Sunday, November 3 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. A majority of the country will be able to watch the game on Fox.
Current odds list the Vikings as 1.5-point road favorites. The over/under for the game is set at 47 points. Be sure to check out all of the Week 9 NFL odds.
The Chiefs failed to survive their first test with Mahomes sidelined by injury. In fairness, Matt Moore did his part and played well. However, the Kansas City defense couldn’t stop Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense, as the Chiefs fell to the Packers 31-24. It was Kansas City’s third loss in their last four games, putting the Chiefs at 5-3 midway through the season.
Oddly enough, Kansas City still has a bigger cushion atop the AFC West than they had most of last season. The closest team to them inside the division is the 3-4 Raiders, so there’s no reason to panic just yet. However, the Chiefs have a challenging game with the Vikings this week and a road game against the Titans next week before getting their bye. Surely, they can’t afford to lose both games while waiting for Mahomes to return.
As for the Vikings, they are currently riding a four-game winning streak. Minnesota had a rather uneven 2-2 start to the season. But they’ve now won four in a row by at least 10 points, pushing them to 6-2 midway through the season. Over the last month, the Vikings have blossomed into bonafide contenders in the NFC.
Minnesota’s problem is that they still trail the 7-1 Packers by a game in the NFC North. The Vikings need to keep winning if they hope to overtake Green Bay, who they lost to in Week 2. Minnesota’s schedule is also ready to go up a notch with three of their next four games and four of their next six games coming on the road. That stretch includes road games with other NFC contenders like the Cowboys and Seahawks, making it important for the Vikings to keep their winning streak alive this week.
In theory, the Chiefs as a home underdog is a dream scenario for betters. But that goes out the door with Mahomes doubtful to play. Even if Mahomes is able to tough it out and play, this is a bad matchup for Kansas City. The Chiefs have a lot of tough questions to answer if they’re going to beat the Vikings. I think Minnesota wins by at least a touchdown, so covering the spread shouldn’t be a problem.
As mentioned, Moore played well last week with Mahomes unavailable. He completed 24 of his 36 passes for 267 yards and two touchdowns. Remember, he has some outstanding weapons around him, so it’s not a surprise that Moore posted strong numbers. However, the Chiefs need a quarterback who can help them overcome their flaws, and Moore just isn’t good enough; it requires Mahomes.
The Kansas City rushing attack has been lackluster all season and it’s only getting worse. The Chiefs have gone four straight games under 100 yards rushing, and not surprisingly, they’ve lost three of those games. LeSean McCoy had just nine carries last week for 40 yards while also losing a fumble. The Green Bay run defense isn’t anything special, meaning Kansas City’s struggles running the ball are all on them.
On the other side of the ball, the Kansas City defense remains a problem that Mahomes has helped them overcome the past season and a half. For what it’s worth, the Chiefs have amassed 13 sacks over their last two games, so the pass rush is improving. The caveat is that the Chiefs are blitzing a lot to make that happen. More importantly, they remain vulnerable against the run.
The Kansas City defense is going to have a world of trouble against the Vikings if they can’t stop the run. The Minnesota rushing attack is borderline unstoppable at times. Dalvin Cook alone is averaging over 100 yards per game while backup Alexander Mattison is averaging close to five yards per carry as well. Keep in mind the Vikings had a game this season in which Kirk Cousins only attempted 10 passes. The Vikings have no problem running the ball on every play until the Chiefs prove they can stop it, rendering Kansas City’s blitz packages useless.
Plus, Cousins has turned his season around after a poor start. He’s now leading the NFL in both QB rating and yards per pass attempt. The biggest surprise is that he has just three interceptions in eight games. If Adam Thielen is able to return from injury this week, the Vikings will once again have an elite receiving tandem to complement their rushing attack.
Unless the Kansas City defense can punch far above its weight class this week, the Chiefs are going to have a hard time beating the Vikings. The Chiefs can’t stop the run, they struggle to run the ball, and they’re playing a backup quarterback. Even at home, that’s not a winning formula against a team that’s won four in a row and is more than capable of exposing Kansas City’s weaknesses. I like the Vikings to beat the Chiefs by a comfortable margin.