The undefeated Kansas City Chiefs are back home at Arrowhead Stadium this week, this time to take on the (2-1) Washington Redskins (8.30pm ET Monday on ESPN).
The undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. There’s certainly a sentence that most people probably wouldn’t have expected reading, especially given who the Chiefs had to play in the first week of the 2017 NFL season and where they had to play them. Kansas City opened the year as huge road underdogs against the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, a team that had lost just one game at home against an AFC opponent in their last 51 games.
The Patriots were favored by nine points and considered almost a lock to hit it. However, that’s not what happened. The Chiefs went down early and saw a fumble from their rookie running back on his first NFL carry. It seemed like New England was going to roll to an easy victory but Kansas City kept the game close and went into the half down just three points. In the second half, the Chiefs scored first to take their first lead of the game. New England would quickly take the lead back with a pair of field goals but in the fourth quarter everything changed. The Chiefs outscored the Patriots 21-0 in that final quarter to win 42-27. Kansas City’s defense held Tom Brady to zero touchdowns meanwhile their own QB Alex Smith, had four. Kareem Hunt, the running back who fumbled on his first NFL carry, finished with 148 yards rushing, 98 yards receiving and three total touchdowns.
- Kareem Hunt: Kansas City carried this momentum into their second and third games of the season, defeating the (2-1) Philadelphia Eagles at Arrowhead, 27-20, and beating the (0-3) Los Angeles Chargers on the road, 24-10, in which Hunt rushed for 172 yards and a touchdown. Over the first three games, Hunt is first in the NFL in rushing yards (401), rushing yards per game (133.7) and rushing touchdowns (4). He is also sixth in receiving touchdowns with two. Needless to say, this rookie is incredible and is a huge reason for Kansas City’s early success and the fact that they are the league’s best rushing team and fifth best offense overall this season.
- Taking Care of the Ball: The other reason for their success is the way that the Chiefs take care of the ball. Kansas City may only have five turnovers this year (four interceptions, one fumble), but they’ve also only turned the ball over once and it happened on their first offensive play of the season. Since then, the Chiefs have been the best in the league when it comes to taking care of the ball. Limiting mistakes has also been the M.O. for Smith and this year he’s off to another great start in that regard.
Turning to the Washington Redskins, they opened their season against their divisional rivals, the Eagles. The Eagles came out of the gate strong and showed their presence defensively as they held the Redskins scoreless in the first quarter while the team’s offense scored 13 points of their own. Washington came back in the second with two touchdowns to take the lead. In the second half, Philadelphia dominated, outscoring Washington 14-3 and 11-0 in the fourth quarter.
- Defensive Improvements: The Redskins then took on the (2-1) Los Angeles Rams at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum and won 27-20, before heading back home to face the (2-1) Oakland Raiders, where they won 27-10. This was the best game defensively for the Redskins, who are considered to be heading in the right direction in that department. The Raiders offense boasted a high-powered and fast paced attack which is much like what Washington will see this Monday night. However, even with that aerial attack of Oakland, Washington’s defense only faced a strong passing game. This week, they’ll face a team that offers a two-pronged attack and the best rushing offense in the NFL. Washington found success against Oakland by forcing turnovers and they’ll look to do the same this week, even though it won’t be easy given how well Kansas City takes care of the ball.
- Finally Healthy: Another aspect of Washington’s team is the way that injuries have plagued them this year. Last week, the Redskins were able to overcome a handful of injuries including to tight end Jordan Reed and starting running back Rob Kelley. The defense really helped take the load off in that department but Kirk Cousins too, found a way to get other players involved in the 17-point victory. This week is the perfect time for both of those players to be back however. Reed was one of Cousins’ favorite targets last year and in just two games this season, has already seen 14 passes thrown his way, 11 of which were for completions. Having him back will certainly be to Washington’s benefit as they attempt to pull off a shocking win at Arrowhead.
Our Preview’s Washington Redskins vs Kansas City Chiefs Picks & Predictions
Going into New England, the Patriots had only ever lost once at home against an AFC opponent in the Tom Brady era. Now, they’ve lost twice. It’s worth bringing up because Washington is headed into Kansas City looking for their first win there and just second win all-time against the Chiefs. The Redskins have lost the last six in a row since then, including their last meeting which saw the Chiefs bulldoze them in Washington for a final score of 45-10.
The Chiefs are good this year. They are really good and Hunt is the number one reason. Sure, the stability of Kansas City’s passing game as well as their lack of turnovers have been contributing factors, but Hunt has been the explosion this offense has needed. He is on track for some amazing numbers and could even beat Ezekiel Elliot’s rookie rushing record set just last year. The Redskins have yet to face a rushing game this year even half as good as Kansas City’s and ultimately this will make the difference.
Playing at Arrowhead is never easy for opposing teams and this Monday won’t be any different. The Chiefs will enjoy home field advantage and cruise to victory over the Redskins to go 2-0 against the NFC East this year and 4-0 overall.
With those firm opinions in mind, here are this preview’s betting predictions and picks:
- Take the Chiefs to cover the seven point spread they are favored with the USA betting bookmakers. Bet Kansas City -7pts @ -105 with MyBookie or Bookmaker sportsbooks.
- As for the total points in the game, our prediction is to take over 49pts @ -110 with Bovada. It is over 49.5pts with almost every other betting company.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.