Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 8:45 AM EST. Odds subject to change.
Philadelphia +2½ over Kansas City
Best odds: Pinnacle (+107)
8:15 PM EST. One of the most anticipated games of the NFL season is set for Week 11's Monday night showcase. As if the football gods are shining uponeth the event, a rematch of last year's Super Bowl, both teams are healthy except for one injury - Philadelphia's Dallas Goedert won't suit up. Goedert has been great for the Eagles but he's hardly a line-mover. Since both teams are coming off a full two weeks of rest, we imagine both squads will be armed with trick-plays and unique schemes for such a big game. Not so in-line with godliness is the weather; the forecast in Kansas City is forecasted to be windy and rainy.
Last season's title game was a coin-flip. Jalen Hurts statistically outplayed Patrick Mahomes, but Mahomes pulled his usual shtick, finding a way to will his team when it mattered most. The Chiefs' defense stepped up, too, holding Philly to just 11 points in the third and fourth quarters after the Eagles went into halftime with a 24-14 lead. It was a back and forth affair of two true elites. In the end, Andy Reid and the Chiefs held up another Lombardi Trophy, beating the Birds 38-35.
Both rosters are largely the same, although its worth noting that the Chiefs' defense is considerably better than recent seasons. Kansas City is 4th in opponent yards per game (288.2) and #1 in opponent points per game (15.9) through 9 contests. And they've needed their defense, too.
The Chiefs' offense isn't quite as explosive as what we're used to. Travis Kelce, aka the boyfriend of the most popular human on earth, is Mahomes' clear #1 target every week. Otherwise KC's wide-receiver options are sporadic. Their pass-game is still ranked in the top 10, but they're 13th in points per game (23.1) and their rushing attack is below average (4.1 yards per carry, 19th). Against a deep and talented Eagles' defense, it won't be easy sledding, even at home. We're confident that KC's offense will be more refined by January, but it would be misleading to suggest they're firing on all cylinders just yet.
Last year we were critical of talking heads who soared about the Eagles 14-3 record. Their schedule just wasn't very challenging, so we had good reason. This year no one can deny how consistent and high-performing they've been. With a newfound target on their back, the Birds stand tall at 8-1, atop the NFC conference again. The back-half of their schedule will be even tougher, though. After Monday's Super Bowl rematch, the Eagles hot Buffalo and San Francisco, and then take on Dallas and Seattle on the road.
The Eagles' offense has been formidable, and most of that is Jalen Hurts. A rushing attack that gains just 4 yards per carry (21st) doesn't always show up against top-tier defenses, but Hurts and an extremely talented wide-receiver corps find a way to score points. They average 28 per game, and they're the league's best on third and fourth down conversions (ahem, much credit to the tush-push). Philadelphia's pass-defense is the real concern. While their rush defense is among the best in the league (they're 1st in opponent rush yards per game, allowing only 66.3), they rank 28th in opponent pass-yards per game (257). Facing one of the best QBs to ever throw the pigskin might feel like a daunting task then, especially on the road, but Philly has the talent to rapidly improve when they're fired up. The motivation will be there and then some.
We won't have any real money on this game, but we'd be remiss to discount the value of an underdog that's been as consistent as any NFL program the last two seasons. Jalen Hurts and an outstanding offensive line seem to always move the ball when they need to, and their defense is flawed but along its front and throughout all three units, the talent is there to make a difference. The Chiefs are undoubtedly a juggernaut at Arrowhead (they're 21-5 at home the last three seasons), but the Eagles have been in tougher spots. And in case you haven't noticed, Jalen Hurts doesn't get shook easily. We like a hyper-motivated dog to come out on fire Monday night. The Chiefs might still win, but we can't fade the vengeful Eagles if they're getting points.
Philadelphia +2½ (Risking 0 units - To Win: 0.00)