Following a 24-10 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 3, the Kansas City Chiefs went to 3-0 while dropping their divisional rivals to 0-3. But both teams have gone in different directions since and now, a showdown looms.
Did anyone expect the Chiefs and Chargers to be battling for first place in the AFC West when Week 15 rolled around? After seeing that first meeting between the teams at StubHub Center, most likely not.
However, this game feels much different. The Chargers are one of the league’s hottest teams while the Chiefs have self destructed, losing six of their last eight games following a 5-0 start.
However, a loss to the Chiefs on Saturday night would drop the Chargers one game behind them and the Chiefs would hold the head-to-head tiebreaker. That would severely dampen the Chargers’ playoff chances.
So what has to be different this time? Here’s three things the Chargers must do differently in order to leave Arrowhead Stadium with their biggest win of the year.
Philip Rivers must protect the ball
Back in Week 3, Philip Rivers had what was arguably his worst game of the season. Rivers threw three interceptions against the Chiefs in that game as the Chargers went on to lose 24-10. The interceptions he threw were bad too, as he was trying to force throws that weren’t there.
But that was the old Chargers and we have been watching a completely different team in all phases since that game. In fact, in the 10 games the Chargers have played since then, Rivers has thrown a total of three interceptions.
He’ll need to protect the ball on Saturday night as winning the turnover battle, particularly in a hostile environment, is always key.
The Chiefs will have Marcus Peters back in the lineup after he served a one-game suspension last week for conduct detrimental to the team. Peters had an interception against the Chargers in that first meeting, one that he returned 38 yards. Rivers will be looking Keenan Allen’s way often but he’ll need to be wary of Peters as he is one of the game’s great playmakers at the defensive back position.