While the AFC West matchup between the San Diego Chargers and the Kansas City Chiefs isn’t the sexiest game of Week 4, you can never underestimate a divisional battle; especially one between these bitter rivals.
The 2-1 Chargers look to get their starting lineup healthy and playing together for the first time this season, while the Chiefs are looking to build on their huge win over the New Orleans Saints in Week 3.
With so many underlying storylines and intriguing matchups, this will be the surprise early game that has the eyes of the nation fastened upon it.
Who said the AFC West wasn’t going to be interesting?
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.
When: Sunday, September 30 at 1 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket
Listen: Online at NFL Audio Pass
Betting Line (via Covers)
Over/Under: 45; Spread: Kansas City (-1)
While neither team had its breakout offensive games so far this season, this divisional matchup will be an all-out assault. Neither defense will have much success Sunday, which will turn this game into a shootout. Take the over here and San Diego minus one point.
What’s At Stake?
Coming into 2012, most NFL experts openly questioned how much Peyton Manning had in the tank and how much he would help the Denver Broncos, but it’s clear now that the AFC West is up for grabs.
With the Oakland Raiders faltering and the Broncos still struggling, Kansas City and San Diego both want to take the divisional reins and run with them—that starts Sunday.
Whichever team wins Sunday will be sending a message to the other squads in the AFC West that they’re the team to beat moving forward.
Injury Report (Via ESPN)
Jamaal Charles, RB, Probable
Kevin Boss, TE, Questionable
Peyton Hillis, RB, Questionable
Dexter McCluster, WR, Questionable
Kendrick Lewis, S, Doubtful
Jacques Reeves, CB, Placed on IR
Curtis Brinkley, RB, Probable
Antonio Gates, TE, Probable
Eddie Royal, WR, Probable
Dante Rosario, TE, Probable
Ryan Mathews, RB, Questionable
Jared Gaither, T, Out
Shareece Wright, CB, Out
Chargers Player to Watch: Antonio Gates, TE
After missing much of last season with a foot injury, veteran tight end Antonio Gates was looking to return to his elite form in 2012 and catapult the Chargers back into the playoffs.
That was until Gates was blasted in the ribs Week 1 and missed the remainder of that game and was inactive for Week 2. After a mediocre performance against the Atlanta Falcons last week, the Chargers need Gates to step up and be the elite tight end the team knows he can be.
With just seven receptions on 15 targets—the second most on the team—Gates has to do a better job of getting open, making the catch and then gaining yards afterwards. As of right now, he hasn’t done any of those things.
Chiefs Player to Watch: Jamaal Charles, RB
It is safe to say that the reconstructed knee of Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles is back to 100 percent after his over 280-all-purpose-yard performance against the New Orleans Saints in Week 3.
While the Chargers' defense is much better than New Orleans’, Charles is finding the rhythm that he had during the two seasons before he was injured. We can’t forget, this is a player that had over 1,000 yards rushing in 2009 and 2010.
If Kansas City’s offensive line can continue to open up lanes for Charles to hit, the veteran back is now quicker and fresher than he has been at any point in his career. Expect a huge game from the Chiefs’ star running back.
Prediction: San Diego 34, Kansas City 30
There is little doubt that this could turn into a defensive battle between bitter division rivals, but both teams are so desperate to win that this matchup has "shootout" written all over it.
Despite the fact that the oddsmakers set the over/under at 45, there is no way these two teams stay below 60 points against each other. This game will be ugly to NFL purists, but it will be a modern-day football fan’s dream.
As good as Kansas City can be, San Diego has the experience to keep the game close throughout before finally stealing the show at the end with a late touchdown drive led by Philip Rivers.
Even if you don’t have a horse in this race, this will be the game of the weekend; don’t miss it!
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