Week 17 Tale Of The Tape: Kansas City Chiefs At San Diego Chargers
- QuarterbackAlex Smith and the Chiefs are one of the most predictable teams in the NFL, and that’s just fine with the quarterback and head coach Andy Reid. The Chiefs have won 10 games this season and have clinched a playoff spot, and their formula is to control the ball, avoid mistakes and take advantage of what opposing defenses give them.The Chargers will not be in a happy mood as they practice prior to their last game of the regular season. They suffered the embarrassment of losing to the Cleveland Browns, and that’s a difficult pill to swallow. Philip Rivers is not about to accept that willingly, and look for the Chargers offense to have a bounce-back game here in what could be the team’s last game in San Diego.
- OffenseThe Chiefs want to use their running game to control the clock, and that means Spencer Ware should get a chance to hit the 1,000-yard rushing mark. He already has 921 yards, and is an effective runner. Travis Kelce is one of the top tight ends in the league, while Jeremy Maclin is a legitimate downfield threat. Explosive Tyreek Hill can score any time he gets his hands on the ball.The Chargers may become a much more dangerous team this week if running back Melvin Gordon (hip-knee) can return to the lineup. If he can’t play, the running game basically disappears and the Chargers become much more predictable. Tyrell Williams has become a big-time receiving threat with 63 catches for 989 and seven touchdowns, while Dontrelle Inman is a fine complementary receiver.
- DefenseThe rankings don’t tell the full story when it comes to the Kansas City defense. They rank 24th in yardage allowed, but this unit has stepped up in the second half of the season and much of that is because they give up yards in the middle of the field. The Chiefs have excellent playmakers like safety Eric Berry and cornerback Marcus Peters in addition to a slew of hard-hitting tacklers.The Chargers are an active and aggressive defense and their players will compete hard up and down the field. However, this unit lacks depth and that’s why they have tended to get worn out later in games. Rookie defensive end Joey Bosa is a coming star, and he has 9.5 sacks, while outside linebacker Melvin Ingram has 8.5 sacks and is also a major force.
- Kansas City ChiefsThe Chiefs know that once they start competing in the playoffs, they have an advantage over nearly every opponent when it comes to special teams. Hill is an explosive return man who can bring any kick back the distance, while PK Cairo Santos can hit long-distance FG attempts.The Chargers have just been ordinary on special teams throughout the season. They do a solid job at covering punts, but their own returners have not gained more than 30 yards on any kick this season. Josh Lambo is just an ordinary placekicker.
The Chiefs have all the edges, but don’t be surprised if the Chargers come out with one of their best games as they may be playing their last game in San Diego.