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In what is maybe the best matchup of the NFL season thus far and a potential Super Bowl preview, the 12-1 Kansas City Chiefs will visit the 10-3 New Orleans Saints. We'll take a look at each team, some of their betting trends, and offer a free pick to win. Kansas City is currently a three-point favorite on the road.
The defending Super Bowl champions are on a roll, winning eight games in a row. Their last win, a 33-27 road victory against the Dolphins, put them in a good position to secure the one-seed in the AFC and a first-round bye. With only the Falcons and Chargers remaining on the schedule after this week, a win at New Orleans could seal the deal for Kansas City, claiming the top spot in the conference.
With quarterback Patrick Mahomes, running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce, the Chiefs have perhaps the best group of offensive weapons in the NFL. As a result, their 31 points per game is the second-highest average in football. They also lead the league in passing yards as well as total yards per game and sit fourth in third down conversion rate.
Defensively, Kansas City is eighth with 21.6 points allowed per game. But they're 15th with 369 yards allowed and near the bottom-five in rushing yards allowed. However, the defense can make plays, evident by 24 sacks and the third-most interceptions in the league with 15.
Itching the get back to the Super Bowl for the first time in over a decade, the Saints started off the year 1-2. But they followed that with nine consecutive victories, the last five of which particularly strong defensive efforts.
That streak ended last Sunday when New Orleans was bested by rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts and the Eagles on the road 24-21. Now tied with the Packers for the one-seed in the NFC, the Saints beating the Chiefs could be the boost they need to clinch the first-round bye and home-field advantage for the playoffs.
With quarterback Drew Brees (plus a few starts from backup Taysom Hill), running back Alvin Kamara, and wide receiver Michael Thomas, New Orleans has the seventh-most points per game with 28.3 points per game. They're top-10 in rushing yards per game but 21st in passing yards, resulting in about 383 yards per game. They're also fifth with a 46.6 percent third down conversion rate.
Unlike previous years, this Saints team hangs their hat on defense. They are second with 315.5 total yards allowed per game as well as in rushing yards allowed, plus fourth with 20.4 points allowed and in passing yards allowed. They also have 36 sacks as a team and 13 interceptions.
Despite a 12-1 record, the Chiefs are just 6-7 ATS. That includes a 3-4 ATS record on the road despite being 7-0 overall in those games. In fact, Kansas City hasn't covered in their last five games and are 5-11 ATS in their last 16 games against the NFC South.
The Saints also aren't great ATS, going 7-6 despite a 10-3 overall record. They are also 3-3 ATS at home compared to a 5-1 overall record in the Superdome. However, New Orleans has covered all but once in their last six games.
The Saints will likely be welcoming back Brees after missing the last four games with injuries. Factoring that in, I think this game is going to be one to remember. New Orleans being a home underdog with an elite defense is intriguing, but Kansas City is also the best team in the NFL. I will pick the Chiefs to win, but the Saints to cover, especially if the line moves more in Kansas City's favor.
Pick: Saints +3