The Los Angeles Chargers enter the last six games of their season with little, if any, room for error, especially in divisional matchups. With an AFC West matchup this week, the Chargers will need to overcome some significant injuries to upset the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Los Angeles Chargers are facing their most important game of the season this week in Estadio Azteca, as their playoff hopes would be near-dead with a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Despite a plethora of injuries, the Chargers have fought hard to remain in the AFC playoff picture through the early part of the season. This week, the Chargers will need good game-planning to go along with their ASAP mentality to win.
Below are the Chargers’ and Chiefs’ injuries, along with some strategies the Chargers may employ to overcome them.
Justin Jackson, Running Back – Doubtful (Calf)
Once again, Justin Jackson does not seem likely to play after aggravating his previous calf injury. While Jackson would be a nice asset and depth piece, the Chargers should be fine without Jackson.
Expect a heavy dose of Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler again in this game.
Russell Okung, Offensive Tackle – Questionable (Groin)
Sam Tevi, Offensive Tackle – Out (Knee)
The Chargers once again are in dire straits in offensive line depth. Sam Tevi is out for this game after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his meniscus. Russell Okung is considered a game-time decision this week with a groin injury, but he seems unlikely to play after being a non-participant at practice all week.
Thus, it will be Trey Pipkins at left tackle and Trent Scott at right tackle who have to face new Kansas City edge rusher, Frank Clark. With opposite edge rusher, Alex Okafor, out due to injury (more on him later), Shane Steichen will have to commit either a running back or a tight end to help block the Chiefs’ talented edge rusher.
The Chargers may also try other strategies, such as end-arounds and screen passes, to keep the Chiefs defenders from committing to attacking Philip Rivers. Regardless, the Chargers must do everything possible to avoid putting Rivers in a situation where he feels like he needs to release the ball early, as he did on the last drive against the Oakland Raiders last week.