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Chargers-Chiefs features battle of NFL MVP candidates

CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs and Philip Rivers #17 of the Los Angeles Chargers shake hands at the end of the game after a 38-28 Chiefs win at StubHub Center on September 9, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs and Philip Rivers #17 of the Los Angeles Chargers shake hands at the end of the game after a 38-28 Chiefs win at StubHub Center on September 9, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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A heavyweight collision in Week 15 between the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers is beaming with juicy storylines and the quarterback matchup is one of the most scrumptious. 

Not often do NFL fans get treated to a duel of MVP-caliber quarterbacks this late in a season, but Week 15’s Thursday night tilt will provide exactly that.

The 10-3 Chargers travel to Kansas City to square off with the 11-2 Chiefs in one of the biggest NFL regular season games in 2018. A win for the Bolts enhances their chances of claiming their first AFC West title since 2009, while a Chiefs victory would almost guarantee them home-field advantage throughout the AFC side of the playoffs.

But underneath all the impactful implications of this game is one of the best quarterback matchups in the NFL this year. Kansas City gunslinger Patrick Mahomes and Chargers veteran quarterback Philip Rivers have been two of the league’s top passers for the entirety of the season, as both players have been mentioned in Most Valuable Player consideration.

The presumptive favorite for the majority of the year has been the Chiefs’ 23-year-old phenom. Mahomes has posted historic numbers through 13 games this season, as his 4,300 passing yards and 43 touchdown passes are a league high. His 115.2 passer rating is second in the NFL behind Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints. All of this comes in Mahomes’ first full season as a starter.

L.A.’s longtime quarterback has not posted outrageous numbers like his AFC West counterpart, but the 37-year-old signal caller is still having a spectacular campaign. Rivers has tossed 29 touchdown passes and just six interceptions off 3,638 passing yards this season. His 114.5 passer rating is third in the league and his 69.4 percent completion rate is sixth-highest.

This Week 15 collision will not be the first time these two passers have faced off. The Chargers and Chiefs met in Week 1 at the StubHub Center in Southern California and the visiting side took control from the opening kickoff. Kansas City defeated the Bolts 38-28 off an explosive performance from Mahomes and electric wide receiver Tyreek Hill.

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In just his second career start, the Chiefs’ quarterback threw four touchdown passes and zero picks off of 256 passing yards, which included a 58-yard scoring strike to Hill in the opening quarter.

Although the Chargers dropped their season opener, Rivers still cultivated a solid performance. The 15-year veteran racked up a season-high 424 passing yards for three touchdown tosses and just one interception.

As this colossal AFC West showdown inches closer to kickoff, viewers should anticipate one of the best passing duels in 2018. And while the Chargers have struggled in recent years to topple the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, a fiery effort by Rivers and the crew should not shock people. But a win for the Bolts could catch a lot of football fans off guard.

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