The San Diego Chargers will travel to the Kansas City Chiefs in the bright lights of Monday Night Football for a battle of AFC West supremacy. The Bolts are coming off a disappointing loss to the Jets. The Chiefs come into this match-up on a three game winning streak putting them at (3-3) on the season. The Chiefs were practically written off after starting out 0-3, star running back Jamal Charles is out for the season along with pro bowl safety Eric Berry. In their first three contests they were an embarrassment being outscored 82-10. The Chargers are looking to create some breathing room atop the division as KC looks to regain back-to-back division titles. San Diego comes into this Halloween clash appearing to be the favorite, yet the Chiefs haunted the Bolts on Monday Night Football one year ago. Despite the Chargers clearly having more talent, these two teams tend to play each other very close. San Diego needs to do the following to get a win in KC.
Get out of the GATES early!
Kansas City has one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL. The Bolts will need to silent the crowd early by jumping out to an early score. The team needs to come out of the gates early. The Chiefs don’t posses enough firepower to make a comeback, therefore getting off to a quick start will nearly make it impossible for the Chiefs to battle back. In order to succeed they must incorporate Antonio Gates early and often. Gates looked very solid in his return to the lineup a week ago. KC has a below average pass defense that Gates and the receiving core should be able to expose. Both Chargers losses have come on the road this season; this week will be a good chance for the team to get a quality road victory.
Phillip Rivers playing like 2010 not 2011
Phillip Rivers 2011 campaign is worse than mediocre quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez and Alex Smith, to name a few. Rivers was previously compared to quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Aaron Rogers. Rivers looks confused and is clearly a shell of him from a year ago. However, I still believe he will turn it around this season. His success will start this week against a KC pass defense that is below average and will have no chance at covering the lethal weapons SD has on the outsides. His problem so far is that he continues to force the issue because of his mediocre play. He’s trying to be “great” on every single play instead of letting the game come to him and take the opportunities defenses give. Rivers does still have a ton of yards but the turnovers are killing his squad. His touchdown numbers are also down because of their infectivity in the red zone along with the continued theme, his turnovers. I believe Rivers will be more patient on Monday and he will start to turn around his season in a crucial game for the Bolts.
Limit Dwayne Bowe
With the loss of star running back Jamal Charles this team clearly hasn’t been able to run the ball as well with Jackie Battle and Thomas Jones. Therefore KC head coach Todd Haley has handed the keys over to highly paid quarterback Matt Cassel. Cassel relies on Bowe and will be flustered if he is covered well. Quentin Jammer will be marking Bowe all night. I believe the Bolts will bring help on Bowe due to him being the only true weapon the Chargers are scared of. If Bowe has a good night then so will Cassel. If SD limits Bowe to around 80 yards and only one touchdown, it will be a tough night for Cassel. San Diego has a top three-ranked pass defense that should cause Cassel a headache leading the Bolts having multiple interceptions.
Other Notes: San Diego will need to get after QB Matt Cassel, doing so will be much tougher without star pass rushing line backer Shaun Phillips. On offense, Malcolm Floyd and Mike Tolbert are both questionable for the game. Injuries continue to plague this team.
Prediction: SD over KC 31-20