They’re calling this matchup a potential Super Bowl preview. There should be plenty of excitement and drama on the field Monday night for NFL fans, but this game isn’t taking place without a little drama off the field too… well actually, it’s the field that’s the whole issue.
Here’s a preview of the days leading up to this game as well as what we can expect from the Chiefs-Rams game itself.
Moved From Mexico City to Los Angeles
The Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams were scheduled to play one of the NFL’s four international matches this season in Mexico City this Monday night. However, poor field conditions at Estadio Azteca where they were supposed to play caused the NFL to relocate the game to Los Angeles. Photos of the field showing its “horrendous conditions” circulated on social media, causing an uproar and concern for the safety of the players. Apparently, a November 7th concert at the stadium left the field in substandard conditions.
To be fair, more recent photos of the stadium don’t actually look that bad. Some are joking that it’s better than the Raiders stadium where they literally play on baseball clay during the beginning of the season. But multiple concerts, soccer games, and unexpectedly heavy rainfall on top of the field’s new natural and synthetic hybrid grass made things more difficult.
There was some concern about the field at Estadio Azteca for the Rams-Chiefs game next Monday in Mexico City. This is what it looked liked today as they began work on it. pic.twitter.com/mRMI2PaohL
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) November 13, 2018
It appears too late though to salvage things – despite attempts in Mexico City to lay sod and fix the field ASAP – as the decision to move the game has already been made and tickets are already on sale for the game in LA.
But many fans who planned to travel to Mexico City, or those local NFL fans there, are understandably disappointed. Several Rams fans were using it as an opportunity to connect with their roots, bond with Mexican family members, or share an NFL game day with loved ones.
The Rams had already been practicing in Colorado Springs to acclimate to the higher elevations of Mexico City. Still, many players (who’d complained online) and LA-based fans are relieved to be playing the game at home instead.
So why LA? How is that fair? Well, because it was scheduled as a home game for the Rams anyway. But doesn’t that give the Rams too much of a home-field advantage? Most say no, as the Rams don’t have a huge home fanbase to speak of at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum anyway. (It’s not like they’re moving it to Arrowhead.) It’ll be the Rams’ first Monday Night game at the stadium since 1985. For an area that’s been dealing with a mass shooting and raging wildfires, they’ve been organizing things quickly, even giving away free tickets to first responders, lowering prices for season ticket-holders, and making “special arrangements” for those who were planning to head to Mexico City.
A Preview of the Chiefs vs. Rams Game
The Rams and the Chiefs are both 9-1 going into Week 11. Some are dubbing this game the mid-season Super Bowl. There’s a lot on the line – well, bragging rights and end-of-season predictions from sports commentators mainly. These high-scoring teams with young, skilled quarterbacks have two of the best offenses in the league and both are favorites to make it to the actual Super Bowl. Mahomes is playing at an MVP-level. Sean McVay is a fantastic coach. So which team will win this one?
With offenses this explosive, some are saying it might come down to who has the better defense. That means QB Jared Goff, who only has two interceptions at home this season, has an easier path to victory. After all, the Rams defense has 26 sacks this season, the ninth best in the league. The addition of Dante Fowler only makes them better. The Chiefs defense is looking better, but that’s not huge praise since it was barely nonexistent at the beginning of the season.
Both teams struggle to stop the run and that’s a problem when you’re playing against an epic running back like Todd Gurley. The Rams definitely have the edge when it comes to the running game but since wide receiver Cooper Kupp’s injury, Gurley will have to step up. Either way, most folks are slightly favoring the Rams in this matchup.
What does Vegas think? Well, when two teams are evenly matched, the standard home-field advantage is 3 points. The oddsmakers set the line at Rams -3.5, a line that only grew by one point (from -2.5) after it was announced the game was moved from Mexico City. So like we said, the powers that be don’t exactly believe in much of a home-field advantage for the Rams in LA… or they just anticipated the game’s relocation… or something else.