GREG COTE’S THURSDAY NFL PICK
CHARGERS (10-3) at CHIEFS (11-2)
Line: KC by 3 1/2
Cote’s pick: KC 34-27
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TV: 8:20 p.m., Fox
The NFL Week 15 bell rings, the gates bang open and pounding out first is the Game of the Week, a rare Thursday night gem, guaranteed offensive fireworks in a duel for AFC West supremacy. Chiefs clinch division and first-round bye with a win, Chargers clinch playoffs with a win, and whichever team leaves the field smiling gets to believe it is king of the AFC. Hard to envision that won’t be Kansas City, at home. Chiefs have beaten Bolts four in a row at Arrowhead and nine of past 10 in this series overall (including 38-28 in this year’s opener). KC also has been a career thorn of sorts for Philip Rivers, who in 26 games vs. Chiefs has 31 interceptions and 11 fumbles. And Phil’s job won’t be any easier Thursday with bell-cow RB Melvin Gordon likely to miss a third straight game injured. Chiefs fantasy stud Tyreek Hill also is iffy but much likelier to play, so Patrick Mahomes will have his favorite toy to play with assuming Joey Bosa gives him time. Bolts might be the better all-round team here, but KC’s stratospheric highs on offense are great enough to overcome its fissures on D. Beyond that, in general terms, anytime you find me picking against an 11-2 team that leads the league in scoring and is unbeaten at home, please call the cops on me.