Chargers, Chiefs square off in first place divisional showdown
"All I want for Christmas is a Playoff game, a Playoff game, a Playoff game. Gee if we could only have a Playoff game, then we could win the AFC West". Tis the season for playoff berths as that is what the Chargers will fight to do in these final three games of the season. This one however, could decide the AFC West. With a win the chargers not only take first place in the division, but also move up to the #4 seed in the AFC.
The Chargers, winners of 7 of their last 8 have relied heavily on the rocket arm of Phillip Rivers who since Week 11, has had the highest touchdown to interception ratio and the highest passer rating since Week 5. But don't sleep on their defense as well. The Kansas City O-line has had nightmares about elite pass rusher and possible Defensive Player of the Year candidate Joey Bosa despite winning their opening meeting in Los Angeles 24-10. But that was in Week 3 and since then, these have been two totally different teams.
As for the home team in the Kansas City Chiefs (and admit this Kansas City Fans), you put them as not only AFC contenders, but also Super Bowl contenders. I know that you regret that Kansas City because look at your team now! Losers of 6 of their last 8 since starting 5-0 and just 1 rushing touchdown for Kareem Hunt during that span. Hey, Denver! I know a great QB you could use! I mean seriously. The Chiefs defense in Justin Houston and Marcus Peters won't be successful against the LA offense if they don't (cough), throw (cough), flags (cough), into (cough), fans (cough). That means you Peters!
But in all seriousness, this will be one of the most anticipated and premier matchups of the 2017 NFL Season given the slump by Kansas City and the turnaround for the Chargers. But in order for the Chargers to win, they must face possibly the loudest crowd in the NFL in Arrowhead Stadium. Phillip Rivers must manage his time well and escape the pocket away from the Chiefs' pass rush. As for the Chiefs, my key for them to win is for Alex Smith to stay away from Joey Bosa. That way he'll have more time to find open receivers and have more passing efficiency as he did the first 5 weeks of the season.
As I said earlier, if Los Angeles wins they take control of their own destiny in the form of the AFC's #4 seed plus a 3-2 divisional record. However, if both teams go in tied after Week 17, it will depend on divisional records. If Kansas City loses to Denver in the season finale, that would drop their divisional record to 3-3 if the Chargers win and if overall records are tied with Los Angeles, the Chargers would clinch the #4 seed and the AFC West.
If they do clinch that #4 seed. the Chargers will play a home playoff game at StubHub Center. Their opponent as I have said in previous blogs would be the team that comes in second place in the AFC South, either Jaguars or Titans, (by the way I will have a blog previewing that Week 17 matchup in the coming weeks.) So now for the fun part, my prediction. Now I know that I don't want to break the Chiefs' fans hearts because they've not been so hot as they were in the past, but too bad. Bosa and the Chargers defense will have a day against Alex Smith and this Chiefs defense won't be enough to stop Phillip Rivers and Keenan Allen. Chargers will be sitting atop the AFC West with a road divisional win 24-17.
This AFC West ain't big enough for the both of them and it will come down to tonight's game to decide who rides off into the AFC Playoffs.