The Los Angeles Chargers continued their hot streak with a blowout win over the Washington Redskins in Week 14 and have won four in a row and risen to 7-6. Now one of the biggest games of the season is coming up. They will play the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday, who are also 7-6. Few could have expected either team to have their respective records at this point in the season. The Chargers started 0-4 and have gone 7-2 since, while the Chiefs started 5-0 and have gone 2-6 since. With the Oakland Raiders having lost to the Chiefs on Sunday and falling to 6-7, this Chargers-Chiefs matchup might very well be the deciding factor in the AFC West. Here are some ways in which the Chargers can help ensure victory.
Week 15 Los Angeles Chargers Keys to Victory
Do Not Let Tyreek Hill Get Loose
The Chiefs pass offense is quite inconsistent, and that is partially because they often depend on speedster Tyreek Hill to make big plays. Limiting Hill is often key to limiting the pass offense in general (unless Travis Kelce gets open a lot). The last time these two teams met in week three, the Chargers did not do a good enough job of limiting him. Hill actually got a touchdown catch because he was inexplicably being covered by a linebacker.
They cannot allow that kind of thing to happen this time around. It can be difficult to keep up with Hill’s speed, but they can ensure that he does not catch short passes with no one around that he converts into first downs, and do things like safety help/double coverage if he tries to go deep. Keeping Hill from doing anything big is key to shutting down the Chiefs passing offense in general.
Attack the Chiefs Secondary
The Chargers pass offense has been on absolute fire the last four games, and for the majority of the season the Chiefs have actually had one of the worst pass defenses in the league. Oddly enough, one of the few times that defense actually did not get torched was the last time they played the Chargers, in which Philip Rivers threw three of his seven interceptions on the season. And they did just shut down the Raiders offense on Sunday as well.
But the Chiefs have struggled the majority of the time this season, so they should at least start by doing what they have been doing—leaning on Rivers. (If that doesn’t work… well, more on that in a moment.)
Something else that should go in this “key” is to not shy away from throwing to Keenan Allen, whether it’s Marcus Peters covering him or someone else. Allen has been going insane lately, having had 100 yards in four straight games. His six catches for 111 yards with no touchdowns against the Redskins was actually his worst game during that streak.
Fire away at Allen, and if doing so opens it up for Hunter Henry and Tyrell Williams, by all means take advantage. But they shouldn’t shy away from throwing to Allen just because a decent corner (albeit also an inconsistent one) is covering him.
Stay the Course, But Adapt if Necessary
Over the last several games, the Chargers have been moving away from leaning on the running game, instead putting the onus on Rivers. And it has been paying dividends. The whole offense has been stellar the last four games, so they should keep doing what they have been doing.
At the same time, it is always possible that the Chiefs end up having Rivers’ number again for some reason—they will be playing in Arrowhead Stadium and divisional games are rather unpredictable. If Rivers has a couple of early turnovers again, they should not hesitate to switch it up and feed Melvin Gordon some more.
The Chiefs run defense really is not any better—they are also in the bottom of the league right now in that regard. Gordon had 79 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries last time they played, and he probably would have had over 100 yards if he had gotten more carries. As was previously said, go in planning to stay the course but adapt if necessary.
The Chargers are more than capable of pulling out this win. They have been playing excellent football over the last four games. But divisional games are weird, so anything can happen here. Beating the Chiefs is especially critical because unless the Raiders make a late surge, this game may very well decide the AFC West. They need to go out there and not just do the things advised above, but bring the same level of energy they have been bringing lately to help themselves try and make a playoff push.