The 1-2 Kansas City Chiefs have a chance to tie for the AFC West division lead this Sunday when they take on the 2-1 San Diego Chargers in Kansas City. An array of injuries has put the team in a hole, and you never know what you’re going to get with quarterback Matt Cassel. To win on Sunday, the Chiefs strategy will be simple: run, run, and run.
Minus Peyton Hillis, stud running back Jamaal Charles will need to have another huge game. It will be hard to top the 290 total yards and a touchdown he recorded last weekend against the New Orleans Saints, but he’s likely to get about the same amount of touches (39) as he did last weekend. Dexter McCluster, Hillis, Kevin Boss, Rodney Hudson, Dwayne Bowe, Devon Wylie, and Kevin Boss have all been banged up this weekend, which could severely limit the passing game and force Cassel to rely on unproven second year receiver Jonathan Baldwin. The Charger defense is coming off of a beating from the Atlanta Falcons in which it allowed struggling running back Michael Turner to average almost 6 yards a carry, and it’s safe to say that Charles is much more of a rushing threat than Turner at this point in their careers. Charles and Shaun Draughn had best be ready to pound the football on Sunday.
If the Chiefs can be effective running the ball, it will set up Cassel’s play action passing game on 1st and 2nd downs. If Cassel can hit Tony Moeaki, Baldwin, and Charles out of the backfield on running downs, the Chiefs should be able to avoid the 3rd and longs that have plagued them so far this season. Cassel just isn’t a guy who can be trusted on obvious deep passing downs. My prediction? Charles carries 29 times for about 170 yards and a touchdown, to go along with 50 receiving yards.