Dec 29, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Chase Daniel (10) is hit by San Diego Chargers defensive end Corey Liuget (94) after a pass during the first half at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
The 2014 season seems to mirror the 2013 season as it winds down. Once again the Chargers season comes down to a game against the Chiefs where they will fight for their playoff lives. The Bolts win and they play in January, they lose, they are most likely out. This game is a little different in the fact that the Chiefs are also fighting for their lives. They are in a similar position as the Chargers were in last year. Not only do the Chiefs need to win, they also need the Ravens to lose at home to the Browns. The Chargers were successful last year and got ample help on the way to a playoff berth.
By this time last year, the Chiefs had already punched their ticket into January and rested most of their starters against the Bolts. Recent reports have said Alex Smith will not be playing, causing Chase Daniel to start against the Chargers in Week 17 once again. Don’t count on the leading rusher for the Chiefs to be Knile Davis this time. Jamaal Charles will most likely play. The Bolts will have to deal with his 979 rushing yards and 283 receiving yards. This will be a challenge for the Bolts as this game is at Arrowhead Stadium. The Bolts are looking to avenge their home loss in October.
The Chargers don’t need as much help this year as they did last year. All they need to do is win. Easier said than done. The Chiefs have lost 4 of their last 5 but are 5-2 at home including wins against the Patriots and Seahawks. This team can beat anyone on any given day. The Chargers must use the same ingredients to win this game as their victory last year. Last year was a steady dose of Ryan Mathews leading to 144 yards rushing for him and 186 total rushing yards for the Bolts. They must run for at least 100 yards in this game as well. It does not have to be Mathews 24 times, but the Chargers need to get their rushing total to at least 100 yards. This would mean they are controlling the tempo and keeping the Chiefs offense off the field. The Chiefs have the second best pass defense in the NFL, only Seattle is better. They only allow 200 passing yards per game. Philip Rivers will have his hands full, especially if Keenan Allen can’t play. KC is 28th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed. That is the key to this game, run the football. Whether it be with Mathews, Donald Brown, Branden Oliver or Ronnie Brown, the Bolts need to have success with the run in order to win this game. If the Chargers are held to under 300 total yards, they will most likely lose. Here’s to the Chargers replicating the end result of last year’s finale. It will be a challenge but if the Chargers want to consider themselves a playoff caliber team, they need to get this done.