Chiefs and Rams NFL Game Receives Highest Over/Under Since 1986
The over/under (64) on the showdown between the 9-1 Kansas City Chiefs and the 9-1 Los Angeles Rams is the largest total for an NFL game since at least 1986. Most official databases of NFL over/under totals do not stretch back to the 20th century, so it is uncertain exactly how long ago the last over/under of 64 or more was.
The Rams opened as a 1-point favorite at the WestGate Las Vegas Superbook. After early betting, the Rams’ point spread increased to 1.5. The Chiefs statistically have a slightly better offense, though the Rams’ running attack behind Todd Gurley and their stout defensive front give them the slight edge.
It is the rare NFL regular season game taking place at a neutral field, because the Rams and Chiefs play in Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. The last two games played in Estadio Azteca, which is known to have soft turf which is troublesome to some NFL players, had total final points of 44. But those games did not feature the NFL’s finest offenses. (Update: Citing field conditions and player threats to boycott the game due to health reasons, the NFL moved the game to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.)
The Rams and the Chiefs lead their respective conferences and therefore are early favorites to represent the NFC and AFC in the Super Bowl. The Chiefs have the NFL’s 2nd-ranked offense with 35.3 points per game (behind only the New Orleans Saints). The Rams have put up 33.5 points per game in the first 10 games of the season.
L.A. Rams Offensive Unit
The Los Angeles Rams’ quarterback is Jared Goff, who was the No. 1 overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft. They are led by Todd Gurley, the All-World running back who many believe could win the NFL MVP award this year. The Rams’ wide receivers corps includes Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, and Cooper Kupp (though Cupp might be hearing to IR).
The Kansas City Chiefs quarterback is second year Patrick Mahomes (pictured above), who was the tenth overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. If anything, Pat Mahomes’ weapons are even more formibable. He has gamebreaking wide receive Tyreek Hill and athletic tight end Travis Kelce, who this year seems to have surpassed Rob Gronkowski as the league’s best tight end. The Chiefs also have second-year shifty running back Kareem Hunt, who gives NFL defenses fits.
Pat Mahomes v. Jared Goff
Together, Mahomes and Goff are giving NFL fans a taste of what they can expect in the next era of pro football, when iconic quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Drew Brees retire. In many ways, the Mahomes and Goff appear to be making the case they are the present of NFL football — not the future.
The coaching matchup is stellar. Sean McVay, the younger NFL head coach at age 32, is being hailed as the next offensive genius in the game. The 60-year old Andy Reid is in many ways to polar opposite of Sean McVay. Andy Reid is in his 20th year as an NFL head coach with a trip to Super Bowl under his belt.
Though Andy Reid has had struggles in the playoffs, Reid came out of the West Coast Offense coaching tree and has a long history of building high-powered offenses. Sean McVay was in grade school when Andy Reid first took to the NFL sidelines as a head coach.
Rams and Chiefs Defenses
The LA Rams’ defense might be the difference in the game. The Rams paired the 2017 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald with 5-time Pro Bowl and 3-time All-Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to build a formidable defensive line. The team just traded to get former No. 3 overall pick Dante Fowler to improve the pass rush, while the linebacker corps of Corey Littleton, Samson Ebukan, Ramik Wilson, and Mark Barron have ranged all over the field in veteran defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ defense.
The Chiefs defense has had more struggles, though Dee Ford and Chris Jones have improved the pass rush over the past month to six weeks. The Chiefs’ main concern has been the defensive backfield, which has been ravaged by injuries. Perennial Pro Bowler Eric Berry remains out, though veteran Daniel Sorensen returned to help the unit last weekend.
Rams vs. Chiefs: Who Will Win?
The Mexico City game should be a terrific showcase of young NFL talent. Both teams go on bye in Week 11, so both will get a well-deserved rest after their game in Estadio Azteca. The Mexican NFL fans might get to see the best game in pro football this regular season.
It would be hard not to bet the over in a game like this. Earlier this year, the Chiefs and Patriots had a smaller over/under and ended up scoring a combined 87 points. But with two teams that are racing towards a bye week and with the traditional trouble NFL teams have with the Aztec Stadium turf, one could see why sports bettors might bet the under.
Also, sports bettors should keep a close eye on the status of Pat Mahomes before placing a wager. In last Sunday’s game, Mahomes’ girlfriend’s stepfather died suddenly at the stadium. While Andy Reid said he did not anticipate Mahomes missing practice or game time, Reid did give Mahomes permission to miss either if the star QB felt it was warranted.
Over/Unders of 60+ in 21st Century
Note: According to the ESPN NFL database, the previous official highest over/under total was 62 in November 2009, when the St. Louis Rams faced the San Francisco 49ers. The game might have been October 2000. ESPN claims the Rams won that match-up 34-24, though the only game between the Rams and Niners in the past 20 years with that score was October 2000.
That would have been the era of the ‘Greatest Show on Turf’ Rams offense with Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce, and Torry Holt. The Niners had Hall of Fame wide receivers Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens were in their first year with Jeff Garcia, who was in the first of three straight Pro Bowl years. That game seems much more likely to have had an over/under of 62 than the 2009 game, which pitted Marc Bulger versus Shaun Hill (Alex Smith was injured). I’m thinking the writer typed “9” instead of “0” and the editor missed the typo.