The San Diego Chargers (4-6) will face the Kansas City Chiefs (9-1) who are coming off their first loss of the season last week to the now AFC West leading Denver Broncos. The San Diego Chargers, losers of three in a row, with playoffs hopes looking dim, will look to upset one of the NFL’s best teams. I’ll just say this right now, the Chiefs play the Broncos next week and lets hope they are looking ahead and of course, anything is possible in NFL week to week. Kickoff is at 1:00 p.m. ET.
The Chiefs come in boasting one of the NFL’s best defenses that gave up the most points they have all season to Peyton Manning and the Broncos in their 27-17 loss. They are third in the league in sacks with 36, but have not sacked an opposing quarterback in consecutive weeks. This will be a huge factor in the Chargers coming out of Arrowhead with the W, let’s take a look at the keys to this matchup.
Protecting Phillip Rivers
Like I just mentioned, the Chiefs have some of the most talented pass rushers in the league. Justin Houston (11 sacks), Tambi Hali (9 sacks), and Dontari Poe (4.5) are all having pro-bowl season and have been relentless attacking opposing QBs. The Chargers O-line is going to have to play well, and we still aren’t completing healthy, King Dunlap is still out with a strained neck, so its vital that they can get on the same
page and keep Phillip upright. The Chiefs defense has probably been hearing all week how they have not gotten a sack in their last 2 matchups and are going to be even more determined to see Phillip on his back.
Winning the turnover battle
A tale of two teams as far as turnovers have gone this season. The Chiefs have the AFC’s best turnover differential at +15, they have taken it away 24 times while only giving the rock up 9 times. The Chargers on the other hand have on 7 takeaways and it has been hard for the defense to get off the field during the season. They have turned it over 13 times, including 8 Phillip Rivers interceptions. If the Chargers want to upset the Chiefs today, they are going to have to get turnovers, if not Alex Smith and Jamal Charles will both control the game and keep the Chargers offense off the field.
Finding a way to win
Too many times this season, the Chargers have been in a position to win the game, and have (in typical Chargers fashion) found a way to walk away with a loss. It hasn’t been one thing either; it’s been anything and everything, from untimely penalties, to poor time management and play calling. This game will be close, and it could come down again to just a field goal or a touchdown, the Chargers will have to find a way to become clutch. I’m hoping all the close loses this season, hasn’t mentally taken a toll on the team.
This game has a feeling of a game that the Chargers should have no business winning, but how this season has gone, there is no way of knowing how the Chargers will play. I also think the Chiefs might be looking ahead a little bit toward their re-match with the Broncos at home.
So, you know what, I’m feeling good about this matchup, lets get some pressure on Alex Smith and contain Jamal Charles then the Chargers will pull the upset.
Prediction: Chargers 23 Chiefs 20