Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills, 5 p.m. Monday, Fox and NFL Network
Line: Off | Total: Off
Moved from Thursday as a result of Buffalo’s playing Tennessee on Tuesday, this is a rare Monday game that won’t be in prime time. But with both teams coming off their first loss of the season, it will be worth tuning in early to see what happens.
Last week against Las Vegas, the Chiefs (4-1) fell prey to the trap of “playing down to the competition.” The Bills (4-1) were simply demolished by Tennessee. Those results should motivate both teams, which could lead to a lot of yardage and points.
Buffalo may want to feature the running game more than usual to exploit Kansas City’s weakness defending it, and Patrick Mahomes can probably exploit a Bills secondary that has been reeling. The Chiefs, when motivated, can beat absolutely anyone, so Buffalo might be in trouble. Pick: Chiefs
Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers, 8:20 p.m., NBC
Line: Rams -3.5 | Total: 50.5
The winds shift rapidly in the hypercompetitive N.F.C. West, where the Rams (4-1) were a Super Bowl team in 2018 and off the map in 2019, and the 49ers (2-3) brought up the rear in 2018 and then went to the Super Bowl in 2019. They’ve shifted again, with Los Angeles getting off to a nice start, particularly on offense, while San Francisco has been overwhelmed by injury and disappointment.
It makes sense for the Rams to be favored, even on the road, but it might be getting ahead of things to assume San Francisco’s embarrassing loss to Miami last week was anything more complicated than Jimmy Garoppolo being unsteady on his injured ankle and the team’s defense being speed-bagged by a team that has more offense than you’d guess.
Garoppolo has had another week to get his ankle right, Raheem Mostert is healthy and the 49ers can pick up huge chunks of yardage after the catch thanks to the hard running of Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle. If Richard Sherman can return on defense, helping to restore that unit a bit, this game could easily go San Francisco’s way. If the 49ers falter, it might be time to admit that this is not their year. Pick: 49ers +3.5