12 Nov Pick 4: Kansas City vs. Seattle and Cleveland vs. Houston
The Teaser: Pair Kansas City and Cleveland
Game 1: Kansas City vs. Seattle
The Initial Line:
Kansas City even home vs. Seattle
Add 7.5 points to Kansas City’s line
The Final Line:
Kansas City +7.5
Kansas City was able to rally in Buffalo in week 10, winning 17-13. Down 13-3 going into the 4th quarter, they scored 14 unanswered behind rushing TDs from Jamaal Charles and Alex Smith. The Kansas City defense also played a strong game, forcing 3 fumbles and leading their team to a 4th straight win. Seattle got a convincing win at home behind 5 rushing TDs, defeating New York 38-17. Marshawn Lynch had possibly the best game of his career, with 140 rush yds and 4 rushing TDs. Russell Wilson also rushed for over 100 yds and a TD, giving Seattle 350 total yards on the ground (a franchise record). The defense was able to force 2 turnovers as well.
Kansas City now heads back to Arrowhead Stadium to face a tough Seattle opponent. Seattle is riding a 3 game winning streak of their own, but Kansas City has its own version of the “12th man” with the intensity of their home crowd. Seattle will have to attempt to run the ball again this weekend, as KC ranks 1st in pass defense compared to 20th in rush defense. Besides KC’s embarrassing week 1 loss to Tennessee, they have been stellar at home with an average of 33.0 PPG vs 10.3 PPG against them. Seattle is clearly much better at home, as they outscored opponents by 46 pts at home compared to 3 on the road. I believe KC will get its 5th straight victory this weekend, but take them at +7.5 since Seattle is a quality team and could pull out a road win. This one should stay close though, so a TD cushion should cover it.
Game 2: Cleveland vs. Houston
The Initial Line:
Cleveland -3 home vs. Houston
Add 7.5 points to Cleveland’s line
The Final Line:
Cleveland showed that they are for real in week 10, as they went into Cincinnati and won in convincing fashion 24-3. That was Cincinnati’s first home loss in 2 years, and Cleveland dominated on both sides of the ball. Brian Hoyer went 15/23 for 198 yds, and Tate, West and Crowell all contributed a rushing TD. The defense also had 4 turnovers in the game, including 3 INTs vs Andy Dalton. Houston had a bye week in week 10, after turning in a 4-5 record at the halfway mark into the season. They decided to shake up their offense a bit, as Ryan Fitzpatrick was benched for backup QB Ryan Mallett. Arian Foster continues to anchor the offense with 822 yds and 7 TDs, while the defense has forced the most turnovers in the league with 21 (10 INT, 11 fumbles recovered).
This aims to be a good matchup in week 11, as these teams seem to be evenly matched. It will be interesting to see who performs better of the former Brady backups, as Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer go head-to-head. Ryan Mallett is getting his first start of his NFL career, which may be tough on the road against a revitalized Cleveland team. Cleveland has also been getting better at converting red zone opportunities into touchdowns (something they struggled with earlier this year) and could be getting Andrew Hawkins, Jordan Cameron, and potentially Fred Jackson back for this game. They now sit at 6-3 on the season and have their first shot at a playoff berth since 2002. They have been playing well at home this season, with a 4-1 record and their only loss coming by 2 pts to Baltimore. Expect a tight game but an eventual win by a streaking Cleveland team.