Week 9: Kansas City Chiefs At San Diego Chargers
- QuarterbacksBrady Quinn had to come out of the Week Eight loss against the Raiders with what the team called a “head injury” and Matt Cassel returned to lead the offense. While Cassel had a decent game against the Raiders from a statistical point of view – 20-of-30 for 218 yards with 1 TD and 1 interception – the team has not responded well to him and the Chiefs offense has lacked consistency.The Chargers started the season as if they would dominate the AFC West, but they have hit a rough patch and the season is in danger of disintegrating. Despite his talent and fire, quarterback Philip Rivers is not able to play for 60 minutes without making mistakes. The Chargers were unable to handle the Browns on the road and Rivers was simply ordinary.
- OffenseThe Chiefs went into the season thinking they could use the ground game to provide a balanced and sustainable offense. However, it hasn’t worked out that way as the Chiefs’ ground game has struggled. Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe has big-play ability but he lacks consistency. The Chiefs have to use tight end Tony Moeaki more if they are going to jump start the offense.On paper, the Chargers have a versatile offense and should cause problems for the Chiefs. While the Chargers lack stars at the running back position, Ryan Mathews and Jackie Battle run hard and can take advantage of decent blocking. Malcolm Floyd can go downfield and catch the ball, while Antonio Gates is a third-down weapon who can keep drives alive.
- DefenseThe Chiefs certainly have talent on defense, but so far this season that talent has not meshed together and they have not played effectively as a unit. Middle linebacker Derrick Johnson is a star because he can wrap up the ball carrier and stop him in his tracks. Defensive lineman Tamba Hali has a quick first step and can cause havoc in the backfield.The Chargers have also struggled when it comes to making big plays on the defensive end. They have the talent and can stop opponents on occasion, but usually not in crunch situations. Quentin Jammer is a tough and physical cover man who can upset the passing game with his quick hands. Inside linebacker Donald Butler is coming off an 11-tackle game against the Browns.
- Special TeamsIf the Chiefs can keep this game close and turn it into a battle of special teams, they should have the advantage. Ryan Succop is a dependable placekicker who is largely underrated. He was 3-of-3 in the Week Eight loss to the Raiders. The Chiefs are waiting for speedy Javier Arenas to unleash big plays in the return game.The Chargers cut injured placekicker Nate Kaeding last week and have turned the placekicking responsibilities over to Nick Novak. He does not have a huge leg but he is dependable. Mike Scifres averaged 46.5 yards on six punts in poor weather conditions in Cleveland.
Both teams are playing disappointing football, but the Chargers still have a chance to rescue their season. They need to be able to come up with a dominating win at home to raise this team’s flagging confidence level. A loss here would be very bad for Chargers head coach Norv Turner’s future in San Diego