Special to GamingToday
One handicapping trend that’s batting 1,000 over the past two years, despite a small sample size, is that older teams suffer on only three days rest.
Thus, that could mean curtains for San Diego, which hosts Kansas City on Thursday night. The Chargers had the oldest opening-day roster in the league this year.
Last season, the four oldest teams in the NFL went a combined 0-3 ATS in this Thursday spot, including the Chargers’ 24-17 home loss to Oakland as a 7-point favorite when San Diego had the league’s third-oldest roster. And even in Week 16, the Chargers were horrible on only five days rest in a 38-10 drubbing at Detroit
Maybe jet lag had something to do with that, or perhaps it’s as simple as Norv Turner isn’t a very good coach. This season Arizona, with the fourth-oldest unit, were 4-0 heading to St. Louis 4-0 and left 17-3 losers. The Cardinals haven’t been the same since.
Now for a closer look at Thursday’s Night Football:
Kansas City Chiefs (1-6) at San Diego Chargers (3-4)
Time: 5:25 p.m. PDT
Line: Chargers -8 (42½)
Facts: Previously benched QB Matt Cassel will be starting again for the Chiefs against Coach Romeo Crennel’s best wishes. Week 8 starter Brady Quinn is out (concussion). San Diego, on a three-game losing streak, counters with Philip Rivers, who has plummeted from 11 to 19 on the passer chart the past three weeks. • When these teams met in San Diego in 2010, KC was held to 67 yards of total offense in a 31-0 loss, the worst production in a game the past eight years. • The Chiefs have an NFL-high 25 turnovers, more than 17 teams had all last year. • When KC played host to San Diego in Week 4, the Chargers won 37-20 thanks in part to a +5 turnover margin, matching the biggest differential for any team this season.
Analysis: The Chiefs are third in the league with 155.1 rushing yards a game, but last week inexplicably gave Jamaal Charles only five carries (for 4 yards), his fewest rushes since he became the team’s alpha back in 2009. He’s the same guy who had a league season-high 233 yards on 33 carries against New Orleans and 140 yards on 31 rushes vs. Baltimore.
Those KC coaches aren’t dumb, so this week for absolutely sure KC feeds Charles and takes the ball out of Cassel’s hands. Also, that 2010 game aside, there’s been some good karma for the Chiefs against heavily favored Chargers teams in San Diego. In 2007, KC won 30-16 as a 12-point underdog, the biggest upset of the regular season. A year later, KC lost 20-19 as a 14½-point underdog. In 2011, KC lost only 20-17 despite being another 14.5-point dog.
Forecast: Chargers 24, Chiefs 22
“Popular” Bob Christ has been forecasting NFL games for more than 30 years. His work has appeared in newspapers from coast to coast in Canada and the U.S. Contact him at [email protected].