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Patrick Mahomes injury, Drew Lock play has me taking the points

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This should be a fun divisional matchup between AFC West rivals. Here’s why I’m taking the points.

Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs grabs his hand during the first half of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium on December 08, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs host a moderately surging Denver Broncos team in Week 15. Drew Lock moved into the starting lineup and has impressed in his first two starts. The Broncos beat the Chargers at home and the Texans on the road and Lock has thrown for 443 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions in the pair of games. It’s too early to tell if he is the long-term answer, but the Broncos have to be happy for now.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs are coming off a huge road win against the New England Patriots that helped clinch the AFC West. Patrick Mahomes and company have a shot at a first round bye, but will likely need to win out to have even a chance at it.

The Chiefs are a ten point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook, with the point total set at 45. The Chiefs are -530 on the money line, while the Broncos are +425. Both teams are 8-5 against the spread, with Kansas City going over the point total seven times this season and Denver going over six times.

Injury Report

Patrick Mahomes injured his hand against the Patriots and had some trouble gripping the ball. He has been practicing in full this week, but it’s an injury to keep an eye on heading into the game. The other big question is pass rusher Frank Clark. He has missed two straight days of practice, but there is a “good chance” he plays on Sunday.

The Broncos defense is banged up, but getting Von Miller back last week was a big one. He remains on the injury list, and it’s a lengthy one, with 18 players in total. Tight end Noah Fant appears to be showing progress, but will be one to watch given his playmaking emergence in his rookie season.

Pick against the spread

This could be a letdown spot for Kansas City following the big win over New England, but given the importance of continuing to win and also the rivalry nature of the game, I’m not too concerned about that. However, I do think Mahomes’ hand injury is worth noting and could make life a little more difficult for the Chiefs offense. No pass defense is on the same level as the Patriots, but the Broncos could make his life a little difficult if he’s impeded by the hand injury.

Lock faces his toughest test to date. The Chiefs defense has had three straight solid efforts after struggling with consistency much of the season. That coupled with Lock coming into what should be a raucous Arrowhead crowd will be a big test for the rookie. And yet, I think he will continue to impress. I don’t see Denver winning this game, but I’m not prepared to lay double digit points. You might still be able to find Chiefs -9.5, but at ten and up, I’m staying away. The Chiefs should win this game, but the Broncos will give them a fight.

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