Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. ET
For all the accolades and glory Patrick Mahomes gets, his dominance at home just isn’t revered as much as it should be.
I mean, it’s now three years into this being Mahomes’ team, and every time the Chiefs take the field at Arrowhead, an offensive explosion is automatic. Clearly, there’s something special here, akin to a Michael Jordan showcase from the United Center.
Soak in this: Mahomes has started 22 career games (including postseason) in KC and what have the Chiefs done? Oh, just put up 31.7 points on average. By now, this becomes a worthwhile tendency to bet on if you can regularly harness a high total like that from at least one side.
The Chiefs are currently plating right around that mark — 31.8 points — in front of the home fans (some of them, at least) and I think that’s a likely projection with where this Mahomes-led offense ends up.
Kansas City’s latest assignment at home — which also surprisingly involves their first NFC opponent of the year — comes against a club that is meh on the defensive side of the ball. Does it matter anyway? The Jordan Bulls performed their mastery no matter who the opponent was.
What we care about is the Panthers offense being game and hanging in there to help assist on this over. And that will be the key to cashing this wager, as Carolina lugs an underrated group of skill players.
Teddy Bridgewater is exceeding even his Minnesota Viking prime pre-knee wreckage, recording a very respectable 97.8 passer rating. In the process, he’s also logging a career-best 263.3 yards per week, which is nearly double that of his breakout a year ago in New Orleans.
Teddy Time is made possible by the assembling of his plus trio of top receivers. Robby Anderson flashed Pro Bowl potential often as a member of the Jets and (of course) is now looking like one of the elite wide-outs around. Curtis Samuel and DJ Moore are useful as well.
Saving the best for last, obviously the return of Christian McCaffrey — one of the sport’s most complete tailbacks in quite some time — should ignite a huge spark. He’s probably one of the most valuable players in the entire league, as evidenced by him receiving votes last season for Offensive Player of the Year.
McCaffrey is so good that even after missing the last six games, he still leads the NFL in scrimmage yards since the start of 2019. That’s, uh, pretty incredible.
I wouldn’t worry about McCaffrey’s workload in his first game back, either. The Panthers have dropped three in a row and are desperate for a win, meaning they’ll pull out all the stops and deploy CMC as much as necessary. As it is, the Panthers were still topping more than 20 points each week on average without their starting running back, and simply hitting that mark once again is all we really need.
This may be a real-life Harlem Globetrotters (except for football) we’re dealing with in the form of the Chiefs but I’m still buying a full point on this total anyway. Doing so affords protection from a 31-20/34-17/38-13-type scenario, very likely scores in any given Arrowhead bout.
The Bet: OVER 51 (-130)
The Record: 5-3, +1.7 units
Last Week: Cowboys-Eagles Under 44 (WIN)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit