KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Today’s opponent is a dangerous one for the Kansas City Chiefs. They could be in some real trouble against the San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium if they don’t get back to doing the things they did to win games earlier in the season.
The Chargers are only 4-6 and have their weaknesses. But it’s not a stretch to see them at 7-3 or even at 8-2 after some narrow or overtime losses.
The Chiefs are back at home today after a two-game road trip, and playing before the Arrowhead crowd will undoubtedly help. But the Chiefs had to go until late in the fourth quarter before they extinguished recent home opponents Oakland, Houston and Cleveland.
San Diego has one crucial thing those opponents didn’t have: a starting quarterback with a passer rating of over 100. Philip Rivers, after what for him were a couple of down seasons, is one of the league’s top-rated passers.
Rivers is completing 71 percent of his passes, and that number is good enough to move the chains consistently and help the Chargers score some points. So it’s important for the Chiefs to disrupt Rivers more than they did Denver quarterback Peyton Manning last week.
Rivers will undoubtedly use the same quick passing game that Manning and the Broncos used last week. But Rivers doesn’t have a set of receivers as talented as Manning does, and the Chiefs are too talented defensively to allow Rivers and the Chargers to operate their offense as they see fit.
Offensively, the Chiefs haven’t been productive for several weeks now. Their season high for offensive touchdowns in a single game this season is three, and they haven’t reached that mark since a late September game against the New York Giants.
They have a chance to get there against the Chargers, perhaps the weakest defensive opponent the Chiefs have faced since the Giants. San Diego yields a generous 4.7 yards per rushing attempt and allows opponents to complete almost 68 percent of their passes.
The opportunities for some big plays will be there for the Chiefs, and they must do a better job of taking advantage than they did against Denver. If they can, the Chiefs should be good enough at Arrowhead to beat the Chargers.
Prediction: Chiefs 20, Chargers 17