Week 15 Preview: Kansas City Chiefs vs. New Orleans Saintsby Christopher Gallagher December 20, 2020 0 comments
In a battle between two teams fighting for the number one seed in their respective conferences, the Kansas City Chiefs travel to New Orleans to battle the Saints.
Winners of their eighth consecutive game a week ago, the Chiefs stormed back from 10 down with 30 unanswered points to beat the Miami Dolphins. The Saints saw their elite play halt in Week 14 when they were stunned by the Philadelphia Eagles. Dominating New Orleans on both sides of the ball, Philadelphia jumped out to a 17-0 first-half lead and never relinquished it. With the defending world champions leading the all-time series 4-2, including victories in the last two matchups between these two teams, here is what to look for in this one.
Kansas City Chiefs
Firmly in the driver’s seat for the number one seed in the AFC after the Steeler’s loss to the Bills on Sunday Night Football a week ago, the Chiefs have been red hot on offense over the past few weeks. Led by star wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce, the team has averaged 29 points per game over their last four contests. One of the most potent weapons across the NFL, Kelce has caught 90 passes for over 1200 yards this season with nine scores. In for a big day once again on Sunday, one matchup to watch in this one for Andy Reid and company will be the play of their star tight end against the Saints defense. Struggling in stretches against the position this season, New Orleans has allowed 56 receptions for over 550 yards and six scores.
Receiving tough news on the injury report this week, the Chiefs will be down two starting offensive linemen in this one with both Eric Fisher and Mike Remmer’s doubtful with injuries. In tough against the league’s number one defense overall since week 9, pass protection will be key for Patrick Mahomes and company if they hope to find success in this one. Led by two stellar edge rushers in Trey Hendrickson and Cameron Jordan, the duo has combined for 17 quarterback takedowns, and 22 hurries this season. However, number one cornerback Marshon Lattimore has failed to have the same success as his teammates during his 2020 campaign. Receiving the lowest grade of his NFL tenure according to Pro Football Focus, the four-year veteran has allowed six touchdowns against when targeted in coverage.
Watch out for Tyreek
Expected to be matched up with Hill for the game’s duration, Lattimore will need to be at his best if the team hopes to limit the Chiefs speedster. Electrifying once again in 2020, Hill has caught 77 passes for over 1100 yards and 14 scores in 13 games for Kansas City.
New Orleans Saints
After being stunned by the Eagles on the road a week ago, the Saints will welcome back a familiar face in this one as Drew Brees is expected to return from injury and start for the team. Out since November 15th with multiple rib injuries, the play of the 41-year-old will be the biggest storyline in this one. Playing at a high level when healthy early on in the season, Brees led the league in completion percentage (73.5) while throwing 18 touchdown passes to just three interceptions. Faced with navigating a tough Kansas City defense, the one-time Super Bowl champion will be without his number one wideout on Sunday after Michael Thomas was placed on the injured reserve list on Saturday.
Joining Thomas on the injury report, defensive tackle Malcolm Brown and guard Nick Easton were also ruled out earlier on in the week with multiple injuries. Needing to keep Mahomes and the high powered Kansas City passing attack on the sidelines if they hope to find success on Sunday, look for star running back Alvin Kamara to play a major role. Struggling against the rush all year long, Steve Spagnuolo’s group has allowed over 128 yards per game on the ground.
A workhorse for Sean Payton‘s offense once again in 2020, Kamara has averaged over 4.7 yards per carry this season, leading to 723 yards and seven scores. The 25-year-old has also added 77 receptions for 699 yards and four scores. He should be the primary option in the passing game for Brees in the absence of Thomas.
Date: December 20th, 2020
Start Time: 4:25 P.M. est
Location: New Orleans, LA
Stadium: Mercedes-Benz Superdome
TV Info: CBS
Betting Odds Sponsored by Jazz Sportsbook
Points Spread: KC -2.5 (-110) | NO +2.5 (-110)
Moneyline: KC -155 | NO +125
Over/Under: O 52.5 (-110) | U 52.5 (-110)
Taking a look right away at the point spread of 2.5, take the Chiefs to cover the number and at a price of -155 on the money line. The better team all season long, Mahomes and company are red hot on the offensive side of the ball and should outlast Brees and the saints in a potential shootout. Looking at the game total of 52.5 points, the over is the play in this one as New Orlean’s offense should get a much-needed boost with the return of their hall of fame quarterback.
Focused on maintaining their lead atop the AFC with three games left to play in the season, look for Andy Reid’s team to be focused in this one. While the Saints defense will provide Mahomes and company with their toughest test of the season with playmakers at all three levels, look for the reigning Super Bowl MVP to outlast the high-powered New Orleans offense in one of the biggest games of the year.
Final Score: Kansas City Chiefs 31 New Orleans Saints 24