For Pete's Sake

Here is who the national experts are saying will win Chiefs’ game against the Rams

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Here are seven things to know about the Los Angeles Rams before they take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Mexico City.
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Here are seven things to know about the Los Angeles Rams before they take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Mexico City.

Some of the games on the “Monday Night Football” schedule this season have left much to be desired. But the next contest will be different.

One week after a pair of last-place teams faced off (San Francisco and New York Giants), two first-place teams will be in the national spotlight on Monday night.

It’s Chiefs vs. Rams and one of them will double their number of losses* in the game, which is at 7:15 p.m. (ESPN and ABC Ch. 9).

*Unless there is a tie, of course

Of the 47 national NFL observers who made straight-up picks for the game, 22 believe the Chiefs will win. The Rams are the pick of 25 experts.

Heading into Monday night’s game at the LA Coliseum (at 7:15 p.m. on KMBC Ch. 9), here is the breakdown and what people are saying about the game.

Elliot Harrison of predicted a 42-38 Rams win. He wrote in part: “The Chiefs also rank 31st in stopping offenses from gaining 4-plus yards on first down. Thus, at least in this game, first down will be more important than third down. That is a pro football rarity. The Chiefs will be asking a lot of Patrick Mahomes. Look for Andy Reid to call for several designed roll-outs and misdirection plays to neutralize, or at least tame, Aaron Donald’s impact.”

David Steele of the Sporting News sees a shootout, too. He picked the Rams to win 38-34. Here is an excerpt of what he wrote: “This is what everyone’s been waiting for since late September, when they both looked unbeatable. They’ve both lost, but the Chiefs still look more unbeatable with an offense that keeps overcoming their defense’s obvious shortcomings. The Rams’ defense has shown its flaws in recent weeks, too. It comes down to which defense can be trusted more, for the whole game or for any given make-or-break play.”

Five of the eight CBS Sports writers picked the Chiefs: Jason La Canfora, Will Brinson, Ryan Wilson, John Breech and Dave Richard. Pete Prisco, Jared Dubin and Jamey Eisenberg see the Rams prevailing. Prisco predicted a 40-34 Rams victory. He wrote in part: “This should be a shootout with a ton of points. I think the Rams at home will get the most of them. Jared Goff lights up the Chiefs and wins his duel with Patrick Mahomes.”

Five of seven SB Nation writers went with the Rams: Adam Stites, Ryan Van Bibber, David Fucillo, Stephen White and Christian D’Andrea. However, Charles McDonald and Geoff Schwartz predicted a Chiefs victory. Van Bibber wrote in part: “The Rams did lose receiver Cooper Kupp, but they’re still pretty loaded offensively with Brandin Cooks, Todd Gurley and Robert Woods. I’d be more worried about the L.A. secondary withstanding Chiefs offense. Then again, you could say the exact same thing about Kansas City’s defense here.”

Four of USA Today’s five experts picked the Chiefs: Lorenzo Reyes, Mike Jones, Mike Middlehurst-Schwartz and Jarrett Bell. Nate Davis went with the Rams. He wrote: “Chiefs at Rams is clearly the game of the week — arguably the best of the season given its potential to be a Super Bowl LIII preview — but four of our five prognosticators are picking Kansas City to win on the road Monday night, even though the game is now truly an away contest for the Chiefs in L.A. instead of the originally planned neutral site of Mexico City.”

Just three of the eight Pro Focus Football writers predicted a Chiefs victory: Neil Hornsby, Palazzolo and Mike Renner. Sam Monson, Gordon McGuinness, Zac Robinson, Jeff Ratcliffe and Nathan Jahnke went with the Rams.

ESPN’s 10 experts were split. Matt Bowen, Dan Graziano, Mina Kimes, Louis Riddick and Seth Wickersham predicted a Chiefs victory. The Rams were the pick of Mike Golic, Trey Wingo, Molly Qerim, Kevin Seifert and Mike Clay.

Three of the seven Sports Illustrated Monday Morning Quarterback writers picked the Chiefs: Andrew Brandt, Mitch Goldich and Jonathan Jones. Albert Breer, Bette Marston, Mark Mravic and Jenny Vrentas picked the Rams.