The last time the San Diego Chargers (3-4) and Kansas City Chiefs (1-6) met, the Bolts walked into Arrowhead Stadium and laid a beating down on their AFC West hosts.
This time around, both teams are spiraling downward and either team is capable of coming out on top.
San Diego has dropped three close games in a row since its Week 4 win over the Chiefs. Last week’s loss in Cleveland was the worst the team has looked in years, albeit in some rough weather conditions.
For the Chiefs, this week is a chance to avoid further embarrassment, this time on national TV. While Romeo Crennel’s Chiefs have failed to live up to expectations, they’ve done it with most of the country in the dark. Thursday Night Football is an opportunity for everyone to see just how bad this team is.
Kansas City hasn’t just been bad, they’ve been historically bad. According to ESPN Stats LLC, the Chiefs are the first team since 1940 to not hold a lead during regulation during their first seven games.
On a short week, though, anything is possible in the NFL. Take a look at some keys to the game for both of these two AFC West opponents.
The Chargers, Philip Rivers specifically, have been unable to hold onto the football as of late. Their three-game losing streak includes four team fumbles (three by Rivers) and five interceptions thrown during that span.
Rivers was awful in the second half against the Denver Broncos after giving his team a 24-point halftime lead. He finished the game with six turnovers (four interceptions, two fumbles), opening the door for a big comeback by Peyton Manning’s Broncos.
Contain Jamaal Charles
For some reason, Charles had just eight touches for 10 yards of total offense during the team’s loss against Oakland in Week 8. Not even the Chiefs’ coaching staff could explain the lack of involvement from their star player.
The Chargers' best bet is to key on the explosive back in hopes that offensive coordinator Brian Daboll gets away from the run early again this week.
Play off Jamaal Charles
When you have a dynamic and talented athlete like Charles on your team, it's best that you go ahead and do whatever it takes to either get the ball in his hands or use him to keep defenses guessing. The former is the more preferable option.
Last week, he saw just eight total touches in a game that was close throughout. It would be one thing if it was a blowout and Matt Cassel was throwing to get the team back into it, but it wasn’t. The last time these teams met in Week 4, Charles (17 attempts, 83 yards, one TD; three receptions, 23 yards, one TD) had a monster game and is someone KC must involve in order to be competitive.
Go to Bowe
In Week 4, Bowe was very productive against the Chargers but not until the Bolts went up pretty big on the scoreboard. The Chargers have been susceptible to giving up some big plays against receivers this season and Bowe gives the Chiefs the best chance to score points.
San Diego’s pass defense hasn’t been awful, but in Week 5 it did give up two 120-yard-plus performances by Marques Colston and Devery Henderson. They also combined for four touchdowns between the two of them.