The San Diego Chargers won four of their first five and were immediately declared AFC West champions and, as usual, Super Bowl contenders. In fact, because they did not lose four of their first five, as is their custom, it was a foregone conclusion.
Conversely, the Chiefs lost three of their first five games and looked bad doing so. In fact, after three games they were considered contenders for the "Andrew Luck sweepstakes." However, after losing their first three games, they have won their last three.
This brings us to the re-match of the September 25th game between these two teams. The Chargers are no longer Super Bowl shoo-in's, and the Chiefs are no longer "out-of-the-picture."
This game will be reminiscent of last years opening night Monday night game at Arrowhead when these two met. It may not been a thing of beauty, but the Chiefs won, which they will again. After winning three in-a-row, the Arrowhead faithful will be out in force, loud, proud, and rocking that stadium so difficult for opposing teams to play in.
Ironically, the Chiefs second biggest advantage is normally the Chargers biggest advantage: Phillip Rivers. Rivers just seems to be "off." He's still throwing for a lot of yards, and the Chargers still have a tremendous offense, but Rivers has only thrown seven touchdowns and nine picks.
Another advantage for the Chiefs, contrary to the beliefs of most Chief fans, is Matt Cassel. I realize most fans blame Cassel for the Chiefs failures as much as Fox News blames the country's failures on President Obama.
But the truth is, Matt Cassel is getting better and better as the season goes. He is getting in a very good rhythm with Steve Breaston and already has an incredible one with one of the NFL's best receivers, Dwayne Bowe. Now, you'll start seeing Jonathan Baldwin getting in on the act. This could give the Chiefs one of the best receiving groups in the league.
The Chiefs are still a running team, and that's good, because the Chargers are not very good at stopping the run. I think, and hope, we'll see more of Jackie Battle on Monday night. He's not the fragile type and there is no reason he can't touch the ball 20 times. I think by the fourth quarter he could be very effective.
Finally, we're starting to see some creativity from this offense. Maybe it's out of necessity.
The touchdown by Javier Arenas was a thing of beauty. We saw some reverses as well, though not all were successful, that's what this offense needs. Matt Cassel is becoming much more effective on the third and long. Now, they just need to keep him out of them.
The Chiefs can, and will win this game. That will leave them in a three way tie for first place. It will also make a lot of pundits look very stupid.