Chiefs vs Saints Preview & Free Pick [December 20th 2020]

Kansas City (12-1) at New Orleans (10-3)
When: Sunday, December 20th, 2020
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome,
New Orleans, LA
Time: 4:25 ET | TV: CBS
Opening Odds: Kansas City -3/51.5

In a potential Super Bowl preview, the Kansas City Chiefs visit the New Orleans Saints on Sunday afternoon with playoff positioning on the line in each conference. The Saints are currently are tied for the best record in the NFC, but sit as the No. 2 seed because of an early-season loss to the Green Bay Packers. The Chiefs have clinched their fifth consecutive AFC West title, while the Saints are on the verge of clinching their fourth consecutive NFC South crown. It does appear that Saints quarterback Drew Brees will make his return from broken ribs to face Patrick Mahomes and the defending Super Bowl champions. The Saints’ 24-21 loss to Jalen Hurts and Philadelphia last week was their first with Taysom Hill starting in Brees’ place. That lost ended New Orleans’ nine-game winning streak and five-game ATS win streak, leaving Kansas City’s eight-game winning streak as the longest in the NFL. New Orleans had not allowed an individual to rush for 100 yards in an NFL-record 55 straight contests until the Eagles had two 100-yard rushers in Miles Sanders (115) and Hurts (106). Mahomes led the Chiefs to a 33-27 win at Miami last week, but have failed to cover the spread in each of their last five games – all SU wins. There will be around 3,000 spectators for this game at the Superdome.

The Chiefs are 3-point favorites heading into this contest, making it just the eighth time the Saints will be a home underdog since late in the 2012 season. During that span, New Orleans is 5-2 SU and 6-1 ATS when receiving points at the Superdome. Kansas City, however, is receiving almost 70% of the bets from the public. The Chiefs are riding a 6-3 Over streak in its previous nine games against NFC opponents. The Saints, on the other hand, have made good on the Under in five of their previous six games overall. The teams last played in 2016 with the Chiefs winning 27-21 at home. Alex Smith outdueled Brees in that contest.

Mahomes is the leading passer in the NFL and favorite to win the MVP award after his sixth consecutive 300-yard game in the win over Miami last week. It was the ninth time this season in which he’s eclipsed 300 yards passing. Multi-purpose wide receiver Tyreek Hill leads the NFL with 16 touchdowns and the Chiefs can come at you with Le’Veon Bell and rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire from the backfield. Travis Kelce comes into Week 15 as the NFL leader in receiving yards with 1,250 – 80 more than Seattle’s D.K. Metcalf. He could become the first tight end in history to lead the league in yards. Putting up 33 points against a solid Dolphins defense was nothing new for the Chiefs who are second in the NFL with 31.0 points per game and tops with 429.2 total yards per contest. The Chiefs’ defense has been shaky at time, ranking 17th overall (358.8), but it doesn’t need to be great when you have Patrick Mahomes and company putting up big points. Kansas City will host Atlanta next week before closing the season against the Chargers.

The Saints’ passing attack will get a lift with the return of Brees. New Orleans stalled a bit under backup Taysom Hill, who threw just four touchdown passes in his four starts. Brees has completed 73.5 percent of his pass attempts with 18 TDs and three INTs on the season prior to his injury. The Chiefs’ third-down defense is only 20th in the league, which plays into New Orleans’ third-down offense that is third in the NFL (46.5 percent). They are also seventh in the league with 28.3 points per game and the Chiefs allowed rookie Tua Tagovailoa to throw for 287 yards last week. All-Pro tackle Mitchell Schwartz (back) has not returned from injured reserve and the two tackles who have been starting in his absence – Eric Fisher and Mike Remmers – both missed practice Wednesday because of back issues. The Saints defense ranks No. 2 overall and are tied for seventh with 36 sacks. New Orleans will host Minnesota next week.

I know the Chiefs haven’t been covering the spread lately, but they’re still winning and they’re still very dangerous. The Saints defense is good, but so is Miami’s and K.C. scorched them last week. Brees is going to be a little rusty and I think the Chiefs can come up with enough stops to win and cover this contest.

Pick: Chiefs -3
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