Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

NFL Week 15: 3 keys for Chargers defense vs. Chiefs

Domingo Copeland | 17 December, 2017, 04:11

Plus KC has beaten the Bolts seven straight times. They must make quarterback Philip Rivers uncomfortable in the pocket and the Chiefs' defensive backs must win one-on-one matchups.

Prior to the season, many around the National Football League thought the Chargers could be a serious threat even though they went 5-11 last season, which cost coach Mike McCoy his job.

Thirteen games into the season, the Los Angeles Chargers are tied with the Kansas City Chiefs for first place in the AFC West, and the two teams play each other on Saturday. With the Broncos out of the race, it basically comes down to the Chargers and Chiefs over the next three games to decide it all. The Tennessee Titans are 8-5, but they could be underdogs in each of their last three games as they visit the San Francisco 49ers and host the division-leading Los Angeles Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars.

Chiefs in position to sweep series for the fourth consecutive year.

Stafford's battle with his opposite number, Bears rookie QB Trubisky, could be the key to the game. The Chargers were struggling and losing close games and the Chiefs seemed to be maybe the best team in the entire AFC. Reid might have righted the ship in last weekend's 26-15 victory over the Raiders - with his team rushing for 165 yards, its highest mark since Week 4. The Chiefs smothered the Raiders' passing game last week even with Peters suspended by coach Andy Reid. This season he has only been sacked 15 times this season, which is the lowest in the NFL.

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The Chargers offensive line has been one of the unsung heroes of this season. He does have one year left on his contract, but he also has a 13-32 record and his.289 winning percentage is barely better than Abe Gibron's franchise-worst.274 from 1972-74. For these reasons I think the Chiefs will pull off the win, but I'm not super confident in my prediction.

FAST FACTS: Chargers QB Philip Rivers passed for 319 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions, in Week 14.

THIS match will be held at the raucous Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. The return of linebacker Denzel Perryman, a thumping run-stopper who missed eight games while recovering from ankle surgery, has helped too. Receiver Keenan Allen, who is finally healthy, has 83 catches for 1,143 yards. All signs point toward Patrick Mahomes taking over at quarterback in 2018, leading to the departure of Alex Smith after this season. The second-year tight end has been a trusty option for Rivers all year, and after missing the first game between these two he is going to want in on the action. Since Week Five, L.A. also have the league's best turnover differential (+14) and sack differential (+16).

But that was the old Chargers and we have been watching a completely different team in all phases since that game.

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