I thought I’d take a deeper look at the Chargers losses this season and try and find some kind of a pattern of what tends contribute to these losses. Now I am not one to normally look at certain stats from any particular game because, well the transitive property has been shot down on AP on a consistent basis, and for good reason. There are too many factors that play into each game due to scheme, score, weather, matchups, injuries, and game flow. I looked for some basic stats that tend to jump out a little and I found two that are particularly obvious.
It just so happens that these two weaknesses or factors that have played key roles in the Chargers losses this season are something that I believe the Chiefs have a good chance of exploiting. The Chiefs have shown this season that they can win games in a variety of ways. It seems as if one week we can shut down the run and be susceptible to the pass only for it to be the opposite just a few games later. But if we take care of these two things I think that we have a great shot at claiming the division this week.
We need to win the turnover battle and get off to a good start. These things may sound obvious for any game and they weren’t factors that I intended to research when looking for consistencies in San Diego’s losses. But it is very obvious that San Diego has struggled extensively with these two areas in their 6 losses. They committed 16 turnovers in these 6 losses while forcing only 3. A (-13) TO ratio is not going to get it done no matter how highly ranked your offense and defense happen to be. The Raiders had success in their two games at harassing Rivers and making him feel uncomfortable. We need a big game from Tamba Hali on Sunday in getting to Rivers and forcing some TO’s just like he did with Orton. If we win the turnover battle I think we have a great shot at winning this game.
It’s been obvious all season that our running game is the strength of our team. Therefore getting ahead early and running the ball effectively would be a plan for us in all of our games. This is the case again against San Diego. In their 6 losses they have scored a combined 33 points in the first half. And 17 of those came against Oakland in their first meeting. So the other 5 losses they have only scored 16 points in the first half. They scored 3 points in each of the St. Louis, New England, and (2nd) Raiders games. They scored 7 against us opening night and they were shut out in Seattle. So the plan is to get ahead early and protect the ball.
Like I said before, I’m not always looking at stats to determine anything more than a possible explanation for “one of the reasons” that something has happened. But the formula for success against the Chargers seems to be very apparent in these two stats. I believe that we have a good chance of winning this game if we can get out early with a lead and play conservative football but still take a few calculated risks. We don’t want to get in a shootout with the Chargers and the Raiders showed us that lining up at running the ball 52 times can work against this team.
Carr, Flowers, and Arenas need to have big games and try and disrupt the timing of Rivers and all of his targets in order for us to keep their drives short. I am worried about all of the back-shoulder timing throws that tend to look easy with 6’5 receivers. Our Safeties need to communicate and help our CB’s read these plays so we can force some turnovers. It should be a great game and it’d be a statement game for the entire NFL that the Chiefs are ready to be the class of the AFC west by claiming the title by beating the current champs in their own house.