One thing we’ve been learning is that Thursday night games have a tendency to stray away from normalcy and expected result, so even though the Kansas City Chiefs have been arguably the worst in the NFL this season, the troubled San Diego Chargers are in no way guaranteed to beat them.
In terms of talent, there’s not a lot of question. The Chiefs have the better running back, a good offensive line protecting a bad quarterback and some decent pass rushers in Tamba Hali and Justin Houston, but the team can’t get sacks when they blitz. For the Chargers, they have a quarterback who was considered among the best in the NFL before last year, and this season is struggling to be in sync with his receivers along with a very talented core on defense. But as bad as the Chiefs have been doing, San Diego have lost four of their last five games, and Norv Turner is just as in much trouble as is Romeo Crennel.
What can the Chiefs do to make this a more evenly matched contest? They’ve already lost to the Chargers this season; 37-20 on week 4. Matt Cassel threw 3 interceptions, and that was too much to overcome for the Chiefs, who haven’t won in San Diego since 2007. They need to be able to get to Rivers, and the Chargers do have a slight problem at right tackle with Jeromy Clary, who’ll need to try and stop Justin Houston, with six sacks this season.
Another idea is staying away from Eric Weddle when they throw down-field as the 27 year old Safety, with two interceptions this season, has turned into one of the best at the position in the NFL, also forcing two fumbles so far. Giving Jamaal Charles a bit more touches (only 5 in the loss to the Raiders) would be a good idea as well. He ran for 88 yards last time against San Diego.
For the Chargers, it’s always a question of how good Philip Rivers can be and will be. So far, he’s been disappointing, still not used to the new passing style he’s had to adapt to, with receivers who don’t jump as high and don’t make it easy for him as Vincent Jackson once did. He’s completed 64.6% of his passes for 1646 yards, 10 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. Turnovers have really been a problem, fumbling the ball six times this season.
The Chargers should be able to do a good job against Charles. They allow just 80 rushing yards per game, and while they did lose in that battle to Trent Richardson and the Cleveland Browns last week, their front seven is one of the best in the league, and should prove that tonight by making life tough for Richardson and Cassel.
Prediction – Whenever the Chiefs take the field, a team that hasn’t held a lead all season, you gotta pick the other side, even if it’s Norv Turner coaching that team. If this was a Sunday, I’d be 100% behind the Chargers, but on Thursdays, anything can happen.