SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (2-1) @ KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (1-2) SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (2-1) @ KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (1-2)
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WEEK FOUR: San Diego Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs Preview

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SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (2-1) @ KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (1-2)

KICKOFF: 12:00PM CT, SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 30TH

WHERE: ARROWHEAD STADIUM, KANSAS CITY, MO

SPREAD: CHARGERS -1, O/U 44.5

TV: CBS (KEVIN HARLAN & SOLOMON WILCOTS)

RADIO: CHIEFS FOX FOOTBALL RADIO NETWORK – 101.1 THE FOX IN KC

WEATHER:  MOSTLY CLOUDY, MID 70’S, N.WINDS 7 MPH

KC INACTIVES: DE. GLENN DORSEY, S. KENDRICK LEWIS, RB. PEYTON HILLIS, TE. KEVIN BOSS, WR. DEVON WYLIE, QB. RICKY STANZI, OL. BRYAN MATTISON

SD INACTIVES: RB. CURTIS BRINKLEY, DE. ANTONIO GARAY, TE. LADARIUS GREEN, LB. JONAS MOUTON, S. BRANDON TAYLOR, DB. SHAREECE WRIGHT, K. NATE KAEDING

AFC WEST STANDINGS: SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (2-1), KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (1-2), DENVER BRONCOS (1-2) OAKLAND RAIDERS (1-2)

Just a week ago, the Kansas City Chiefs were 0-2 and staring 0-3 right in the face as they were headed to New Orleans to face Drew Brees and the Saints who were 0-2 and desperate for a victory just like the Chiefs.

A week later, the Chiefs are 1-2 and will be playing for a tie for first place in the AFC West when they go up against the division leading 2-1 San Diego Chargers today at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Chiefs were down 24-6 with about 5 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter last week in New Orleans before All-World running back Jamaal Charles exploded for a 91 yard touchdown run, the longest in Chiefs history.

The Chiefs scored 18 unanswered points to stun the Saints in overtime and save their season in one of the best comebacks in the franchises’ history.

And now, the mood around the team is completely different. With a loss to the Saints, Chiefs fans were about ready to look ahead to the 2013 NFL Draft and decipher what quarterback the Chiefs should finally take in the 1st round.

But the Chiefs are still breathing and are in a 3-way tie for 2nd place in the AFC West with the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders.

If the Chiefs want to continue to be in the thick of the division race, today’s game is pretty much another MUST WIN.

KEYS TO THE GAME

CHIEFS OFFENSE VS. CHARGERS DEFENSE

I think it’s safe to say Jamaal Charles is back. He might not be 100% still, but even at 90%, Charles is one of the best, if not the best running back in the NFL. With 33 carries for 233 yards and a touchdown, Charles had his second best day yardage wise and added 6 receptions for 55 yards for a total of 288 yards on the day!

He was incredible and won AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his historic performance as Charles became only the second player in NFL history along with the legendary Jim Brown to rush for over 225 yards and have over 50 yards receiving in the same game!

And no thanks again to the Chiefs’ starting quarterback.

It really is amazing that the Chiefs came back in New Orleans down 18, against Drew Brees, DESPITE of Cassel, not because of him.

That just shows how talented the rest of the team around him is.

Cassel, who finished 26/44 for 248 and one awful INT, was pretty ineffective for the majority of the game against the worst defense statistically in the NFL. His lack of accuracy really showed in this game as he was off target several times to open receivers, and even caused slot receiver Dexter McCluster to injure his elbow because of a pass that sailed wide of him.

The fact that the media and everyone is just NOW talking about how badly Cassel is usually off target causing his receivers to have to adjust to the ball and not continue in stride, is baffling. HE”S BEEN DOING THIS HIS WHOLE CAREER!

The guy is just not accurate at all.

The offensive line played lights out and only allowed 9 pressures on Cassel on 44 pass attempts! Yet, Cassel couldn’t take advantage…with our receivers and against a weak New Orleans secondary.

If this game alone didn’t show how ineffective and horrible Cassel is, then I don’t know what the heck Chiefs fans or any fan is watching.

But anyways, on to today’s game against the Chargers.

San Diego has a solid front seven and have been good against the run so far this season.

You know they’ll be keying on Charles ALL game long and will force Cassel to beat them in the passing game. That’s what every defense will do obviously.

With no Peyton Hillis today, running back Shaun Draughn will need to pick up the slack and help give Charles some rest as he cannot carry the ball 33 times again this week.

The Chargers can rush the passer, but haven’t done much of it so far this season and their pass defense has struggled as well.

So what does this mean? It will mean Cassel will have to pass the ball early to open up the running game. He must at least try to go downfield and he’ll need to try to get Dwayne Bowe and Jon Baldwin involved early.

Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll will need to mix it up on first downs for once and pass the ball on this Chargers’ secondary. If Cassel can loosen the defense up, Charles should find some running room today, especially if the offensive line continues to play up to its capabilities like last week, even without starting center Rodney Hudson who is now out for the season. Ryan Lilja will take his place with the rookie Jeff Allen taking over at left guard.

As it is every week, the Chiefs must be able to run the ball effectively to have a chance. We all know what we have with Cassel and we all know he isn’t capable of winning a game for this team.

CHIEFS DEFENSE VS. CHARGERS OFFENSE

The main reason this team came back from that 18 point deficit last week in New Orleans was the defense.

Just like last year, the defense started off the season horribly bad, allowing 75 points in the first two games. They didn’t get much help from the offense, but they were not playing like everyone expected them to, and yes, injuries again were apart of that.

But they woke up last week against one of the best quarterbacks in the game on the road.

After giving up an opening drive touchdown, the Chiefs’ D played very well the rest of the way, especially in the second half.

After Stanford Routt picked off Brees with 2:43 to go in the 3rd quarter, the Chiefs didn’t allow a COMPLETION to Brees the REST OF THE GAME. That is truly amazing.

The pass rush was relentless for most of the game, as second year stud Justin Houston terrorized a very good offensive line for 3 sacks and a safety.

This week, Houston and the Chiefs get to go up against a much worse offensive line and they’re at home.

Tamba Hali and Houston could have monster days today and they’ll need to in order to keep Phillip Rivers in check.

The Chiefs will be without defensive end Glenn Dorsey today, which will definitely hurt the run defense. Will the Chargers take advantage of that and try and get Ryan Matthews going early?

I think it’s simple. Get pressure on Rivers and force him to make some mistakes at Arrowhead like he usually does. They’ll get some yards, but keep them out of the end zone when they get into Chiefs’ territory and we’ll have a great shot today.

PREDICTION: CHIEFS – 27 CHARGERS – 20

Like I said, if the Chiefs have any hopes of competing for the division, this game at home against a division opponent is HUGE. This team cannot drop to 1-3 with the Baltimore Ravens looming.

If they do, the season ahead looks bleak.

I have a good feeling about today though. I don’t think Charles and the running game will have as much success as they did last week, but he’ll still get his if we continue to give him the ball.

It’s going to be up to Cassel to take advantage of a so-so Chargers’ secondary enough and to limit his mistakes.

If the defense plays like we know they’re capable of, the Chiefs have a very good shot at winning this game and going to 2-2 on the year and tied for 1st place in the AFC West after another horrific start to the season.

LET’S GO CHIEFS!