In one of the NFL's Week 16 matchups, the 4-10 Atlanta Falcons will visit the 13-1 Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Atlanta has lost three in a row and is coming off yet another blown lead in a loss to the Buccaneers. Meanwhile, the Chiefs edged the Saints on the road to improve their winning streak to nine games.
Here is a closer look at both teams, along with betting trends and a free pick. Kansas City is a big 10.5-point favorite at home in this one.
A rough year for the Falcons culminated in the firing of Dan Quinn after an 0-5 start. While they have improved under the interim Raheem Morris, Atlanta enters this game as a loser in its last three games, albeit all of them by single digits.
Although they have the Chiefs and Buccaneers left on their schedule, the Falcons hope to end their season in a positive way.
Quarterback Matt Ryan and wide receiver Calvin Ridley will lead an offense this season that is 15th with 25.4 points per game while also ranking 13th in total yards per game. However, the Falcons' offense is unbalanced, as they have the fourth-best passing offense but the fifth-worst rushing offense, which accrues just under 94 yards per game.
Things are a little bit shakier on the defensive side. The Falcons are giving up over 407 yards per game, the fourth-most in football, which includes the second-most passing yards allowed as well. They do, however, give up just 25.2 points, 18th in the league, and have a top 10 run defense. The Falcons also enter the game with a solid 28 sacks to go along with nine interceptions.
The defending Super Bowl champs once again appear to be the league's top team. With just one loss through 14 weeks, Kansas City is rolling into Sunday on a nine-game winning streak, with four of the last five of those coming on the road against teams .500 or better.
A win against Atlanta would clinch the top seed in the AFC for the Chiefs, which includes home-field advantage for the playoffs.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes, wide receiver Tyreek Hill, and tight end Travis Kelce are the focal points of an offense that is the best in the NFL. Kansas City is averaging a league-leading 31.1 points, 439 total yards, and 311 passing yards per game.
The Chiefs' third-down offense is also within the top five, converting on just under 49 percent of their attempts.
While not elite, the Chiefs defense can hold their own. Kansas City is 12th in yards allowed with 364, including 21st in rushing yards allowed, but ranks inside the top 10 with 230 passing yards allowed and 22 points allowed per game.
While the Chiefs' total of 25 sacks is on the low side compared to other title contenders, their 16 interceptions as a team are second to only the Steelers.
Starting with the visitors, the Falcons are 6-8 ATS and 4-10 overall, and 3-3 ATS and 2-4 on the road. The under has hit in four of the last five games for Atlanta, a stretch in which they are 1-4 straight up.
Although the Falcons are 3-15 ATS in their last 18 games against an AFC opponent, they're 13-4 straight up against an AFC West team in their last 17 meetings.
For the Chiefs, their 13-1 overall record is balanced by a 6-7-1 mark ATS. They're also just 3-3 ATS at home despite a 5-1 record.
The woes when it comes to covering are amplified over the last several weeks, as Kansas City is 0-5-1 ATS in its last six games. But the Chiefs have lost just one of their last 13 games at Arrowhead and have hit the over in four of their last six games.
The Falcons have been in plenty of close games this season, while the Chiefs have also been a little too close for comfort on a number of occasions. Plus, given what the Jets and Bengals just did to the Rams and Steelers, respectively, anything can happen.
However, with a chance to wrap up the top seed at home in front of a select number of fans, I'm picking Kansas City to win in a blowout. Give me the champs to roll in this one, with Mahomes having a huge game against one of the league's most vulnerable defenses.
Pick: Chiefs -10.5