I've taken some time to read a couple of predictions concerning the matchup between the Chargers and the Chiefs. I've read some predictions that have the Chargers winning the game all the while reading some articles that have the Chiefs winning the game. Not once have I read a article in which they explain how and why a certain team was going to likely win the game. So I decided to add my own little analysis on this game.
This is a game of great importance as it is a AFC West divisional game. Both teams need the win not only to start off the season on the right foot but to also start off the season in the division lead. I won't beat around the bush as to who I believe is going to win the game.
The Chargers will win this game.
The Chiefs made great strides in revamping their offensive roster in the offseason. They seem to be content with their defense hoping that the hiring of a new defensive coordinator will help them.
Here is the thing: Both the Chiefs' offensive and defensive coordinators are great, but the Chiefs' personnel doesn't fit their schemes.
Charlie Weis, the Chiefs' new offensive coordinator, is a passing guru and one of the best in the league to throw the ball around. The problem I see here is that their personnel seem more oriented to run the ball rather than pass it. If Weis decides to pass the ball, expect the Chiefs to get crushed.
The same thing can be said about Romeo Crennel. Crennel is a great defensive coordinator but his scheme requires the defensive linemen in their 3-4 to control the line of scrimmage with each guy controlling two-gaps. None of the Chiefs' linemen are capable of that. Both Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey excelled in college using their speed going up against opposing offensive linemen in one-on-one battles. In a two-gap scheme, only strength matters. Crennel had that personnel back in New England with Richard Seymour, Ty Warren, and Vince Wilfork.
The key for the Chiefs to win this game is the running game. Having a good running game will keep the Chargers' offense off the field and control the clock. This is the only way the Chiefs will be able to win. The question is, can they do it?
I don't believe the Chiefs will. I think they'll be able to run the ball but they won't be able to score on the Chargers' defense in the redzone. The Chargers had one of the top redzone defenses last season.
The Chargers' offense is absolutely too dominant in the passing game from every level of the field to attack. Philip Rivers has more short- to mid-range weapons this year that he didn't have last season. Not to mention that they'll take the occasional shot at the deep pass with Malcom Floyd and test whether Legedu Naanee or Patrick Crayton can do the same. The Chargers also have a promising running game with Ryan Mathews that will test the Chiefs' suspect run defense.
The Chargers will destroy the Chiefs. This is why: The Chiefs' defense is no match for a powerful Chargers' offense.
The Chiefs won't be able to stop the Chargers from scoring and the Chargers' defense should be able to continue their stout redzone defensive play from last season. If the Chargers score many points, the Chiefs will be forced to abandon their running game and take the ball out of Jamaal Charles' hands. It will be in Matt Cassel's hands to win the game if that happens, which doesn't look that promising going up against a Charger pass defense that will be expecting the pass.
Also compounding the problem for the Chiefs is that the Chargers have a running game to run the clock out while in the lead. Cassel will have to make the most of his opportunities, which I believe he won't be able to do.
How do I know how this will likely happen? Because this is what happened last season in both games when the Chargers dominated the Chiefs. In their second meeting of the 2009 season, Charles couldn't be stopped. The only way the Chargers beat the Chiefs really bad was when they were playing from behind. This is what will happen on the first Monday night game of the 2010 season as the Chiefs have failed to upgrade their run defense and their pass rush, which will in turn affect their pass defense.