Week 8 has had some very intriguing matchups, however, none may be more notable than the Chargers-Chiefs game at Arrowhead Stadium on Monday night.
The AFC West is a wide open division, and although much can be said for the AFC South and East, those divisions become more clear in the coming weeks, whereas this game is the last time San Diego and Kansas City will meet until 2012.
Because let's face it, there's no chance of them meeting in the postseason like New England and Buffalo or Pittsburgh and Baltimore.
That said, which players shine for each team on Monday night and give their team a chance to propel into the playoff race?
San Diego Chargers
For the Bolts to have any kind of success in this game, they must establish a balanced attack early on. Kansas City is a defense that thrives on dominating each game in one specific area. Against the Raiders it was their pass defense, against the Vikings it was their rush defense.
So, expect the Chargers to come out playing a typical offensive game where they run first to setup the pass. RB Ryan Matthews is a key component while Mike Tolbert is money in short-yardage situations.
In turn, QB Philip Rivers needs to have a solid game and let his playmakers do work, because trying to do too much against this defense will cost him greatly. Therefore, if anyone on San Diego's offense shines, it will be WR Vincent Jackson and RB Ryan Matthews.
Who wins the AFC West?
Jackson is San Diego's leading receiver and is their best offensive threat. Matthews will be utilized early to setup the pass, but he's also going to get some targets on screen and check-downs.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs strictly need to control the game tempo by having an effective rushing attack. San Diego has a weak rush defense, which will also help setup the play-action pass nicely.
Anticipate the Chiefs going with their one-two punch combo of RBs Jackie Battle and Dexter McCluster most of the time to keep changing the pace. Also, don't discount veteran Thomas Jones who will be used in short situations.
The passing game won't be used enough to really stand out, but hitting McCluster on crossing routes and screens will prove to exploit San Diego. Also, McCluster is a great return specialist so he will shine even brighter in that aspect as well.
QB Matt Cassel isn't going to be asked anything more than to just manage the game. He'll probably get the green light once or twice, but not much more as San Diego's pass defense will blanket WR Dwayne Bowe most of the night.
San Diego: WR Vincent Jackson, RB Ryan Matthews
Kansas City: RB/Return Specialist Dexter McCluster, RB Jackie Battle
Kansas City 24, San Diego 20
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