On Sept. 11, 2016, the San Diego Chargers had the Kansas City Chiefs beat. At one point in the second half, the Chiefs were down 24-3. Kansas City would come back to win in overtime and both teams went in opposite directions. San Diego would limp to a 5-10 record with one game remaining. The Chiefs are currently 11-4 and second in the AFC West. There’s one final game left of the 2016 season and San Diego could play spoiler. Kansas City must win to have a chance at the AFC West crown.
San Diego Chargers Week 17 Keys to Victory
A division game makes this matchup even sweeter and the Chargers would love to spoil the Chiefs playoff plans. They can’t keep the team from Missouri out of the playoffs but they can affect their seeding. A win in San Diego could give the Chiefs a first round bye in the playoffs and home field advantage. A loss gives them a nightmare matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field pending how the Miami Dolphins fare against the New England Patriots. San Diego must execute a couple of things to secure a victory.
Quarterback Philip Rivers is having a solid season so far, throwing for more than 4,000 yards and 31 touchdowns. However, Rivers has 19 interceptions this season and Kansas City loves to force teams to turn the ball over. This does not bode well for Rivers who did not turn the ball over against the Chiefs in their Week One matchup. The Chargers have lost nine out of 10 games by a one possession score. To secure a win San Diego must avoid turning the ball over.
Run the Ball
Kansas City defense has struggled most of the season at stopping the run and are ranked No. 26 in run defense. It hasn’t helped the Chiefs that their leading tackler, linebacker Derrick Johnson, is out for the season. If running back Melvin Gordon is healthy enough to play it’s important to give him the ball. If not Gordon, then Ronnie Hillman or Andre Williams should frequently get touches. Kansas City’s secondary has played well this season especially with the recent success of Terrance Mitchell at corner. With Marcus Peters on one side and Mitchell the other it would behoove the Chargers to run the ball. Running the ball also allows the Chargers to control the clock and keep the ball away from playmakers such as Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill.
Joey Bosa is having a solid rookie campaign after ending his holdout. He currently has 9.5 sacks on the season and 36 total tackles. The Chargers went into the draft wanting to establish a pass rush using a top 5 pick on Bosa. The former Buckeye has been worth it so far. Tight end Hunter Henry was picked in the second round to possibly be future once Antonio Gates retires. So far, his future looks bright with seven touchdowns on 32 receptions for a total of 435 yards. Seven touchdowns tie him with Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker on the season. In comparison, the Chiefs Pro Bowl tight end Kelce only has four touchdowns on the season. It is important that Rivers distributes the ball between Henry and future Hall of Famer Gates.