Almost game day, and it's time to examine the Chiefs' next opponent and take a look at how these two teams match up against each other. I'm going to be as honest, even-handed and straightforward as I possibly can, without the slightest hint of homerism or bias of any kind. (Have I mentioned that I have a nice bridge for sale?)
When The Chiefs Run
The Chiefs are the No. 1 team in the NFL in overall yards on offense thanks in no small part to a running attack led by Jamaal Charles. At just over 190 yards a game, the Chiefs running game is nearly unstoppable by mere mortals, and though the Chargers have a pretty good defensive front seven and are only giving up a paltry 67 yards per game on the ground, there's no logical reason to assume that the Chiefs will do anything but amass yards by the bucketful on the ground at home in Arrowhead Stadium. Even though Peyton Hillis may be out of commission, the Chiefs still have Charles and super-blocker Nate Eachus to lead the way and wipe out any opposition that might be foolish enough to stand in the way. I mean seriously, are you kidding me? Jamaal Charles. Do I really need to say anything else? Advantage Chiefs.
When The Chiefs Pass
Not that Matt Cassel is the next coming of Drew Brees, but then maybe it's a good thing. After all, at this point of the season Cassel has a better record than Brees, and that's really what counts, right? And nobody will ever mistake Cassel, the Tough As Nails QB for
Phyllis Philip "Cry Me A" Rivers. Come on, man!
The lowdown is this: the Chiefs have averaged 250 yards a game passing, and the Chargers have given up 238 yards a game thru the air. What does this mean? It means that Matt Cassel can be his average, ordinary self and still come out looking better than good against the Chargers secondary (as long as he keeps it away from Eric Weddle). Since the Chargers give up a pretty hefty number of yards thru the air anyway, this is a no brainer. Look for Tony Moeaki to have a coming out party. That's right, kids, even with Matt Cassel being Matt Cassel, the force is with us and the Chiefs look to be unstoppable. Advantage Chiefs.
When The Chargers Run
The Chargers have averaged only 99 yards a game on the ground, and the Chiefs "bend but don't break" defense has been decent against the run, giving up just 123 yards a game on average. Are you kidding me? Outside of one run by Sproles last week the Chiefs shut down the Saints, and I look for the Chargers to be shut down as well. No long runs. No rushing TDs. No kidding.
The Chargers simply don't have the horses to get it done up front. (And is anyone out there still upset about Jared Gaither going to the Chargers? Seems Gaither has a special clause in his contract and he's not required to practice or play if he has a hangnail. Earlier this week it was reported by "sources" that Gaither sneezed at Tuesday's practice and was excused from all contact drills for the rest of the week. He's no Eric Winston, I'll tell you that right now). Advantage Chiefs.
When The Chargers Pass
Philip Rivers. Antonio Gates. Ok, is that it? That all you got? Seriously, that's it? The Chargers have only 218 yards a game passing. Yeah, that's all they have. Let me spell it out for you. Two-Hundred and Eighteen. Yards. Per Game. Passing. Matt Cassel has more yards that that and he didn't even play against Buffalo. (Nobody on the Chiefs played against Buffalo, but that's spilled milk over the damned bridge).
The Chiefs, meanwhile, finally figured out how to get their secondary to cover WR's, and just in time, too. Did you know Drew Brees was completely shut down for the last 20 minutes of the game? True story. Look for Tamba Hali and Justin Houston to both have multiple sacks and the Chiefs to create all kinds of pressure on Rivers. Brandon Flowers is back to his old self and Stanford Routt is looking better than I thought he would. Derrick Johnson is going to be everywhere, as usual, and Eric Berry is going to be on Gates like Whitlock on ribs. Sacks. INTs. Fumbles. Tears. Look for all of it as Crennel's defense brings it hard. The only thing to fear is fear itself, which should make this the Worst Day Ever for Rivers and the Chargers. Advantage Chiefs.
Two words. Ryan Succop and Dustin Colquitt. Yeah, I know that's more than two words, and your point? Seriously, the Chiefs have two of the best in the business with these two guys. Nothing else you need to know. We're just better, so that's that and I'm not changing my mind. Advantage Chiefs.
Norv Turner and Romeo Crennel. Both these guys have been around for ... well, ever. Both are widely respected by their peers. Turner is an offensive guru. Crennel is a defensive genius. Who do YOU trust? Me too. Advantage Chiefs.
Arrowhead Stadium. The Deluge. Halloween Night. Oh yeah, and the ghosts will be coming back to haunt the Chargers on Sunday. Once upon a time Arrowhead Stadium was considered THE loudest place in the NFL. I have a feeling it's going to be that way Sunday. The Chargers are reeling from a loss, while the Chiefs are fresh off their huge comeback win against the Saints. Which team has confidence? The Chiefs. Which team is coming into their own, personal nightmare world? The Chargers. You know it. Advantage Chiefs.
Prediction: Chiefs 24, Chargers 21
So, about that bridge ...