The first meeting between the San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs this season resulted in a 37-20 shellacking put on the Chiefs by the Chargers in San Diego. Now this time in Kansas City on Thursday Night Football the Chiefs are hoping they can alter the final outcome to reflect in a victory for them. Both teams enter this contest coming off of losses last week as the Chargers lost an ugly 7-6 game at the hands of the Cleveland Browns while the Chiefs fell to the Oakland Raiders 26-16.
The Chargers offense is currently ranked 25th in total offensive yards gained per game (320.9 yards), 21st in passing yards gained per game (217.4 yards), 20th in rushing yards gained per game (103.4 yards) and 18th in points scored per game (22 points).
Their defense is ranked 10th in total offensive yards allowed per game (326.6 yards), 21st in passing yards allowed per game (246.6 yards), second in rushing yards allowed per game (80 yards) and tied for ninth in points allowed per game (20.6 points).
San Diego needs to get their offense together and this could be the ideal week to do so in facing off against a defense that is prone to giving up plenty of points. So far this season Philip Rivers has passed for just 1,646 yards and 10 touchdowns while completing 64.6% of his attempts and tossing nine interceptions. Rivers must find a way to get the ball in the hands of his playmakers who include Antonio Gates (21 receptions for 238 yards and 2 TD this season) and Malcom Floyd (29 receptions for 461 yards and a TD).
Robert Meachem must also find a way to become a larger part of the offense because so far the Chargers main free agent acquisition has only hauled in 12 passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns this season. Ryan Matthews also needs to have a productive day for the Chargers offense, this season he has rushed for 354 yards and a trip to the end zone on 82 carries while catching 19 passes for 140 yards. Shaun Phillips (26 tackles, 5 sacks, forced fumble and fumble recovery) will be looking to apply pressure on the Chiefs backfield which may cause them to make mistakes which the Kansas City offense has been prone to this season.
The Chiefs offense has been up and down this season and currently ranks 12th in total yards gained per game (367.3 yards), 22nd in passing yards per game (212.1 yards), third in rushing yards gained per game (155.1 yards) and tied for 28th in points scored per game (17.1 points).
Their defense is 18th in total offensive yards allowed per game (348.7 yards), 11th in passing yards allowed per game (222.3 yards), 23rd in rushing yards allowed per game (126.4 yards) and 29th in points allowed per game (29.9 points). The Chiefs have also turned the ball over 25 times this season (13, interceptions and 12 fumbles lost) which is worst in the NFL and they also have the worst giveaway/takeaway ratio at -18.
Kansas City will have Matt Cassel back behind center after losing his job a few weeks ago to then backup quarterback Brady Quinn, due to the concussion that Quinn suffered last week versus the Raiders.
During Cassel’s time as the signal caller he has been extremely ineffective passing for 1,368 yards, six touchdowns, 10 interceptions and completing just 59.7% of his attempts. If the Chiefs are to stand a chance in this game they will need Cassel to produce at a much more efficient level and also remain confident in the pocket.
Jammal Charles has had an incredible season thus far rushing for 595 yards (tied for 7th in NFL) and two touchdowns on 120 carries but this week it will be difficult for him to find holes in a San Diego defense that is second in the league against the run.
Cassel is going to have to get the ball to Dwayne Bowe (37 receptions for 492 yards and 3 TD) and Dexter McCluster (27 receptions for 241 yards and a TD) in order to take some of the pressure off of Charles and the running game. Look for Justin Houston (24 tackles, 6 sacks, 3 pass deflections and an INT) and Brandon Flowers (17 tackles, 7 pass deflections and 2 INT) to make big defensive plays for Kansas City otherwise it could be a long night.
In the end, the Chiefs just totally stink this season and unless something miraculous occurs in this one the Chargers are going to destroy them. I’ll take San Diego 31-16.