In the nightcap of the NFL Network's special Saturday double-header, two AFC foes go toe-to-toe when the San Diego Chargers travel to Arrowhead Stadium for a meeting with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chargers could make life very tough for the Chiefs if they win though, with Buffalo owning a tie-breaker over them and both the Titans and Ravens having a better record...
It is important to remember right now that Kansas City has the head-to-head win and if they win tonight it would all but condemn the Chargers to the WC spot while locking themselves into a AFC West championship.
So who wins this clash of division foes?
For comparison, Smith has won more regular season games, playoff games and already reached the postseason more times in less years than former Chief quarterback Trent Green. They have won by an average of 19 points during their four-game win streak. This week could be a little bit different. The Chiefs are giving up about 125 yards per game on the ground. They have to bring the same intensity that they brought last week against the Raiders.
"There's so many weapons", Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. All signs point toward Patrick Mahomes taking over at quarterback in 2018, leading to the departure of Alex Smith after this season. He has six touchdowns vs. one interception in his past four games against division foes.
For games in December, it doesn't get any bigger than this. For comparison, the Chargers rank 15 in the National Football League in scoring, 5 in total offense, 3 in passing and 24 in rushing. The Chargers were struggling and losing close games and the Chiefs seemed to be maybe the best team in the entire AFC. In their bounce-back 26-15 win over the Oakland Raiders last week, he piled up 28 touches for 138 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown.
Stafford's battle with his opposite number, Bears rookie QB Trubisky, could be the key to the game. If the Chiefs want to pound the ball inside and control the clock in order to keep the red-hot Charger offense off the field, that would be a wise strategy. If rabbits like Tyrell Williams or Travis Benjamin are able to get by the defensive back it's really hard for a safety to get to them in time to stop a monster gain. And, Caldwell's future with the franchise would be questioned even more. They'll have to make sure they don't let anyone run clean 30 or more yards downfield. WR Keenan Allen had 111 receiving yards in Week 14.
The Chargers (7-6), meanwhile, lost their first four games and were almost written off before stringing together three straight wins. The Chargers' offensive line has allowed an NFL-low 15 sacks.
Take care of the football: Philip Rivers was intercepted three times in a Week 3 loss against the Chiefs. It's a big game.
In their 24-10 Week 3 win at StubHub Center, Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters had a pick and three tackles.
But how you've played recently means a lot more, and with both teams moving in the opposite direction over the last month, the Chargers are favored by 1.5 points on the road. The question needs to be asked if Peters' return will help or hurt the team.
Fernando's Prediction: Chargers 27 Chiefs 20.
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