Week 14 of the NFL is already upon us as we enter the final stretch of the 2015 season. A disappointing one for the Chargers and fans alike, as they enter Sunday’s game in Kansas City with a dismal 3-9 record.
The Chiefs, at 7-5, is still fighting for a playoff berth and completely dismantled the Chargers the last time they played on November 22, in San Diego. Not only that, but the Chiefs are one of the hottest teams in the AFC, winners of 6 straight games.
When: Sunday November 13, 10:00 am PT
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO
Betting: Chargers (+7.5)
The series between these two teams is knotted up at 55 wins each and 1 tie after playing 111 times. KC has won the previous 3 meetings, including the 33-3 romp in San Diego.
The birthday boy Philip Rivers, celebrated his 34th birthday on Tuesday, but had his worst game off the season last week against the Broncos. He completed a season low 51% of his passes for just 202 yards. He was constantly pressured by the Denver pass
rush, who sacked him 4 times and hit up a number of others. The offensive line took a lot of heat for their performance and also for not sticking up for Rivers when he was being pushed around by Von Miller after the play. The line better start playing tougher if the Chargers want to even think about winning this game.
Danny Woodhead is the leading receiver on the team 55 receptions for 593 yards but the Chiefs held him to just 16 total yards in the first meeting. Melvin Gordon has gained 565 yards rushing on 155 carries so far this season. He fumbled, however, twice in last weeks game against Denver, losing one of them. He was benched by Coach McCoy after the second one happened.
The Chargers injuries have really taken its toll on the wide receivers specifically. Stevie Johnson and Dontrelle Inman both left last weeks game with injuries. Inman’s was especially scary as he got hit with a helmet-to-helmet blow that injured his neck. Johnson is dealing with a groin injury, so the Chargers signed Vincent Brown to aid them this week.
Brown was drafted by the team in the third round of the 2011 draft out of San Diego State. He was released in 2014 after he broke his ankle the year before and was never the same. He does have chemistry with the team and Rivers, which most likely was the reason he was signed over anyone else. He could be out there this Sunday with Javontee Herndon and Malcolm Floyd as the only healthy receivers.
The defense played well last week, holding the Broncos to just 10 points on the afternoon. Jason Verrett picked off Brock Osweiler in the end zone, making a leaping grab in front of Emanuel Sanders. Verrett will be following around another play-maker in Jeremy Maclin.
The linebackers have been playing pretty well since the bye week. Manti Te’o and Denzel Perryman patrol the middle of the defense that will need to stop the KC rush heavy attack. Melvin Gordon had the lone Chargers’ sack and also added two tackles for loss.
San Diego native Alex Smith will lead the medium-octane Chiefs offense on Sunday. Smith has starting to fling the ball around lately however, especially to Jeremy Maclin. Smith has thrown for just 2,800 yards and 14 TD’s but he’s only thrown 3 picks. He’s 53 pass attempts away from breaking the all-time mark of completions without an interception (set by Tom Brady).
In their first meeting, Maclin was held to just 3 catches for 29 yards, but he’s coming off a 9 reception, 95 yard, 2 TD performance against Oakland. Over the last two games Smith is 18-21 with 3 TD’s when targeting his boy Maclin. But can he handle a one-way ticket to Verrett island this sunday?
The Chargers offense will face another aggressive pass rush in the Chiefs. They rank 5th in sacks in the NFL and Justin Houston (7.5) and Tamba Hali (6.5) combine for 14 of them. Don’t forget about Derrick Johnson who has 4 sacks on the year and leads the team in tackles with 82.
They also possess a ball-hawking secondary that is second in the league with 17 INT’s. You could make a case for Defensive Rookie of Year honors for Marcus Peters who has 5 of the 17 interceptions.
What We’re Watching:
With the season all but lost I’m looking for an effort from the guys, just to say “hey, we’re going to play for pride and for each other” but who knows after last week. I’m also watching the young guys, Verrett can shutdown Maclin again and that could be fun to watch.
I also want to see Perryman getting in there and making tackles, destroying ball carriers, and playing with intensity. I’m curious to see how many carries Melvin Gordon gets and I’d love for him just to score a TD already.
30-17 Chiefs. At least they score more than 3 this time!