NFL Free Picks: San Diego Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs 9/13/10

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NFL betting action continues on Monday night, as the first week of action finishes up with the duel at Arrowhead Stadium between the San Diego Chargers and the Kansas City Chiefs.

San Diego Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs (+5.5)
Monday, September 13th
10:15 ET, Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO

Chargers Notes: There are a ton of names for the Chargers that need to be replaced for this first game of the season, and there aren't a lot of options, at least at this point, that appear to be capable of stepping up. QB Philip Rivers is back, but my, is he going to have a lot of new options to try to break in. His top target from last year, WR Vincent Jackson, is still holding out and won't be eligible to play until at least the seventh week of the season if the Chargers ever see him report to camp. That being said, there will be a lot of pressure on WR Malcom Floyd and TE Antonio Gates to pick up the slack. Gates had a career year last year with over 1,100 receiving yards and eight TDs, and he could be getting even more looks this year, especially early in the season. The other huge question is whether RB Ryan Mathews, a rookie out of Fresno State, is going to be able to pick up the slack lost by RB LaDainian Tomlinson. LT was a beast for his entire career in San Diego, especially by the goal line, but Mathews proved that he had the ability to run wild in a solid preseason. DB Antonio Cromartie is also going to have to be replaced, but the Chargers don't have a lot of depth in the secondary that could do damage. This wasn't a strong defense last year and doesn't appear to be significantly better in 2010.

Chiefs Notes: Meanwhile, there is a bit of optimism in Kansas City for the first time in several seasons. The Chiefs have two new coordinators in Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel, who are familiar with each other from their days with the New England Patriots. QB Matt Cassel knows that there is a ton of pressure on his shoulders this year, as he knows that he is expected to put up a significantly better year this year than he did in 2009. His running game is going to be fantastic, that's for sure. The acquisition of RB Thomas Jones is going to be key to help take some of the pressure off the shoulders of RB Jamaal Charles, who was arguably the best running back in the NFL in the second half of last season. Jones was the prime rusher in one of the best tandems in the league last year in the Big Apple, as he combined with first Leon Washington and then Shonn Greene for the Jets. The KC defense will get a boost as well from the addition of rookie S Eric Berry, who many think might have been the best player in the NFL Draft this past year.

The Final Word: This is going to be a very tough game to call. Kansas City is going to be up for this game, that's for certain. San Diego crippled the Chiefs twice last season, and they aren't going to forget that. This is a team that carried some momentum over from last year at the end of the season, as KC picked up wins at Pittsburgh and at Denver. Now, that needs to be brought home. We aren't so sure that the Chiefs are going to win it, but we do think that they are going to stick around in this game.

Prediction: Chargers 23 – Chiefs 21

Lou Palumbo is the founder and part owner of the Cappersinfo.com Sports Handicapping Community. He's been writing and posting free picks and sports handicapping strategies on the Cappersinfo forums and website for 15 years now. He enjoys handicapping just as much as he did from the very first day he built the original Cappersinfo website.

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