This week 14 AFC West matchup between the San Diego Chargers (3-9) and the Kansas City Chiefs (7-5) is a tale of teams at opposite ends of the NFL standings. The in form Kansas City Chiefs are currently the 5th seed in the AFC, and will be trying hard to ensure their playoff spot in the coming games. Whereas San Diego sits near the bottom of the league competing for the number 1 draft pick in 2016. Last time these two teams met in week 11 the Chiefs managed to run the game and the final score was 33-3 to the Chiefs. The Chiefs began the 2015 NFL season losing 5 of their first 6 games and suffering key injuries, such as RB Jamaal Charles, early in the season. However the Chiefs were able to turn the losing streak around and are now one of the most in form teams in the NFL with a win streak of 6 games bringing their record to 7-5 and playoff contenders. The Chargers on the other hand have struggled to get started this season, whilst their passing offense has had some success with Philip Rivers, their defence (ranked 24th) and rushing offense (ranked 30th) have left a lot to be desired. The Chargers will be trying hard to prevent a repeat of their week 11 performance.
Keys to the game
Can the Chargers stop the run?
The Chargers this season have so far struggled to prevent teams from rushing against them, giving up 124.6 rushing yards per game. In comparison the Chiefs have enjoyed a lot of success running the football, with 17 of their 35 TDs coming from rushing and have a rushing offense ranked 7th in the NFL. It will therefore be vital for the Chargers defensive line to win the war in the trenches and prevent the Chiefs from controlling the game.
Stop Philip Rivers
The only threat to the Chiefs defence is the passing attack of Philip Rivers. The Chargers passing offense has scored 24 of the Chargers 27 TDs this season and is ranked 4th in the NFL. Likewise the Chiefs secondary has been quite successful at defending against the pass this season, racking up 17 interceptions and allowing only 241 pass yards per game (ranked 14th in the NFL). The battle between the Philip Rivers, the Chargers receiving core and the Chiefs defence could be vital in deciding the outcome of the game.
The Chargers Offensive Line
The offensive line play for the Chargers has been disappointing this season, they have struggled to help out their running backs and recently Philip Rivers is under pressure more and more. However, with the Chiefs top pass rushers, Tamba Hali (probable) and Justin Houston (out), having knee injuries the Chargers might have more luck protecting Philip Rivers.
Match up to watch
Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware vs Manti Te’o and Denzel Perryman
As has been said previously the rushing attack of the Chiefs will be the most important part of Sundays game. In week 11 the Chiefs racked up 153 yards and 3 TDs on the ground against the Chargers defense. If the Chargers’ interior linebackers can’t stop the run then it looks like a repeat performance for the Chiefs offense. Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs It is very hard to imagine the Chargers achieving an upset here, the Chiefs offense is rolling and the Chargers defence has been unable to effectively stop teams all year.