Five Things to Watch on Sunday: Can the Chiefs Slow Down Philip Rivers? from The Mothership
If the Chiefs want to continue this wave of momentum and pull one step closer to the playoffs, they'll have to contend with Philip Rivers, who would like nothing more than to play spoiler to the team that kept him out of the playoffs a year ago.
Rivers, despite the team's struggles and numerous key injuries, has still put together a pretty good season, having completed 68 percent of his passes for an average of 298 yards per game with 24 touchdowns and 9 interceptions.
"I think he's done a great job, considering all the injuries they've had around him," Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said of Rivers. "Their offense, for the most part, has been pretty good. When you deal with him, you better be ready to play the entire game.
"It's just the way he is— he's ultracompetitive, he doesn't blink, he's tough-minded, he'll sit in that pocket, he doesn't care. You have to come to work when you play a guy like him."
Key Pieces of Information for Chiefs vs. Chargers from The Mothership
For five decades, the Chiefs and members of the Marine Corps have hosted the annual Toys for Tots toy drive. The Marines ask Chiefs fans to donate new and unwrapped toys for boys and girls up to age 15. Monetary donations will also be accepted.
Members of the Marines' Combat Logistics Regiment 4 and representatives of the Marine Corps League will collect donations outside of each stadium entry gate prior to kickoff. Fans can also make a monetary donation at www.chiefs.com/toysfortots.
KCChiefs.com Video: US Marine Corps Joins Chiefs in Toys for Tots
Chiefs vs. Chargers: Chiefs RBs Coach Eric Bieniemy Is No Stranger to San Diego from The Mothership
This season, Bieniemy's running backs carry an average of 121.3 yards per game, ranking them seventh in the NFL.
But what most might not know is Bieniemy got his start with a team well known to the Chiefs: the San Diego Chargers.
Bieniemy was a second-round pick of the Chargers in the 1991 NFL draft, and he spent four seasons in the San Diego backfield.
In Week 11, Bieniemy brought his personnel to Qualcomm Stadium for a very successful homecoming.
KCChiefs.com Video: Catching up with David Koechner
Chiefs' Justin Houston to miss Chargers game from The Kansas City Star
Houston injured the knee in the Nov. 29 game against the Buffalo Bills. Dee Ford started in Houston's place last week.
Also out for Sunday's game are safety Husain Abdullah, wide receiver De'Anthony Thomas and defensive lineman Mike DeVito, who are dealing with concussions.
Linebacker Tamba Hali didn't practice Friday but will play Sunday.
Week 14: Friday injury report from Chiefs Digest
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
OUT: CB Brandon Flowers (knee), WR Dontrelle Inman (neck), WR Stevie Johnson (groin), DT Corey Liuget (foot)
DOUBTFUL: DT Sean Lissemore (shoulder)
QUESTIONABLE: G D.J. Fluker (concussion)
PROBABLE: T King Dunlap (ankle), TE Ladarius Green (ankle), T Chris Hairston (abdomen), QB Philip Rivers (foot), CB Steve Williams (concussion)
They listed rookie center Mitch Morse, who missed last week's game against the Raiders because of a concussion, as probable for Sunday. Look for Morse to reclaim the starting spot he held for the season's first 11 games.
Morse's return also gives the Chiefs a little flexibility for their offensive line. The Chiefs can now go with Zach Fulton, who replaced Morse at center, at left guard if Jeff Allen can't play. Allen is listed on the injury report as being questionable for Sunday's game.
Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson has more responsibility this year from The Kansas City Star
Doug Pederson has always shared at least some of the Chiefs' offensive game-planning responsibilities. As Andy Reid's offensive coordinator since Reid's arrival in 2013, that makes sense.
But prior to this season, there was always a limit to how much Pederson could do in a game. Reid has a reputation as one of the league's better play callers, and while Pederson helped formulate the game plan during the week, on Sundays it was Reid who would called the plays. He'd do this by relaying them via headset to Pederson, who then relayed them to quarterback Alex Smith.
But this year, things have been a bit different, as Reid revealed this week that he occasionally cedes play-calling duties to Pederson.
Offensive coordinator Doug Pederson brought up an interesting point this week when talking about Alex Smith's current streak of 305 passes without throwing an interception. Pederson indicated that Smith's ability to scramble out of trouble may have helped save him from heaving a ball into coverage to avoid a sack.
The game plan: Creating the Bolt from Chiefs Digest
The San Diego Chargers are a team that appears to be lost, confused and put in positions to fail based on the tape. Injuries have hampered San Diego's offensive ability to reach its full potential and the team is limping into Kansas City for the final quarter of the season.
Kansas City had a solid game plan in San Diego but had some execution errors at times during the game. This Sunday is an opportunity for the Chiefs to show their growth over that three-week span.
Here are the key points Kansas City can attack Sunday to come out with a comfortable victory.
Six Points: Chargers vs. Chiefs from FOX Sports
1. Bring the house at Philip Rivers
The Bolts have failed to protect Rivers for a sixth consecutive season. He's been sacked at least 30 times in every campaign since 2009. And when he's pressured this year, he makes mistakes; five of his nine interceptions have been pick-sixes. That's K.C.'s specialty.
Keys to the game: Chargers @ Chiefs from Chiefs Digest
If Houston is unable to overcome his knee injury and return to the field for Sunday's game, it should not hinder the Chiefs defense in handling the San Diego offense. Even if Houston didn't take an interception back for a TD, the Chiefs still win the first game by 26 points.
The key for Bob Sutton's group in the first meeting was handling running back Danny Woodhead and tight ends Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green; that trio combined for nine touches for 31 total yards. With a wide receiver group that's been decimated by injury, quarterback Philip Rivers is forced to rely on other parts in the San Diego offense. Woodhead has San Diego's only rushing touchdowns (2) and Gates and Green are tied for the Chargers lead with four TD catches each.
That trio is where Rivers will look, and that's where the Chiefs defense must handle the San Diego offense.
Jamaal Charles says he had stem-cell treatment along with ACL surgery from The Kansas City Star
"We're now in the orthobiologic era," said Dr. Bert Mandelbaum, an orthopedic surgeon at Santa Monica Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Group in Santa Monica, Calif. "We're trying to seek the best formula, the best cocktail, for the athlete to make them better, quicker and more efficient in what we're doing. We do it all the time, and we think it's a very important area, especially when we're dealing with the elite athletes."
Stem-cell treatment is increasingly popular among NFL players — Sports Illustrated reported more than 100 players have tried the surgery in the past few years — but the use of such therapy is limited in the United States, and there remains a question about how much stem-cell treatments taken from a person's bone marrow actually help.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid couldn't confirm or offer particulars of Charles' reported treatment.
"To be honest with you, I'm not sure about all that, we can get you that information," Reid said Friday. "I know he's doing good in his rehab, but all the details with that stuff, that's out of my area."
While the Chiefs have a policy that prohibits media from talking to injured players, Charles has done interviews in the past week with The Associated Press and Sports Illustrated.
Charles told Sports Illustrated he expects to be ready for the 2016 season, and Reid appeared optimistic the running back is on track with rehabilitation.
VRENTAS: What was the recent procedure you had done?
CHARLES: Stem cells. I had it the first time when I had my surgery, and I had to go back after six weeks for another treatment. It went well.
VRENTAS: Stem-cell treatment has become increasingly popular for NFL players trying to enhance healing from injuries and speed up recovery times. Why did you decide to try it?
CHARLES: It's something different. Every year, somebody comes out with something different. When I tore my left ACL 4 years ago, I didn't do it. This is a new thing that came out to get you back faster, so I just tried it.
When the Chargers lost 33-3 to the Kansas City Chiefs, it was as healthy as Mike McCoy's team had been since the start of the regular season. That wasn't by chance, either, it was because the team was coming off a bye week in which McCoy gave his team extra rest and minimal practices to try and get that health that had been out of the team's grasp all season.
Right now, the Chargers are significantly less healthy than they were a few weeks ago. By my count, they'll be missing somewhere between 4-6 starters (out of 22 position players) when they get on the place to Missouri.
Not much to cheer with Chargers, but lots to see from The San Diego Union-Tribune
The odds this is still San Diego's team a month from now are at least somewhat greater than the likelihood the Chargers make the playoffs.
Actually, the chance is exponentially better - say 30 percent (educated guess) compared to 0.001 percent (mathematical estimation from makenflplayoffs.com).
So let's just approach the remainder of this season as if we will care what happens with the Chargers on the field after NFL owners meet in mid-January to decide where the team will play in 2016.
That is, if we still care now.
Chargers keep eye on Houston's status from The San Diego Union-Tribune
• Rivers is at no risk of missing Sunday's game. But he notably was a full participant in practice Thursday after being limited on Wednesday. He suffered a foot injury Nov. 29 against the Jaguars.
• It ought be a wet game Sunday. A 100 percent chance of rain, with three-quarters to an inch possible, is forecast for Kansas City, according to the National Weather Service. Temperature won't be a factor; a high of 56 degrees is expected.
Chargers, with trouble at every turn, await Chiefs from Stats, Inc via FS San Diego
San Diego (3-9) is in last place, and among its struggles are their troubles on the road and in the division. The Chargers have lost four of five road games and haven't won in the AFC West, home or away, since defeating the Raiders more than a year ago.
This season, the Chargers dropped all three AFC West games and that includes a 33-3 shellacking by the visiting Chiefs (7-5) two weeks ago.
Not only are the Chargers dreadful in the division, they aren't competitive. San Diego hasn't scored a touchdown in 11 of the 12 quarters against the Raiders, Broncos and Chiefs, being outscored 87-35.
Half a century! That's a long time! But that's just how long the Kansas City Chiefs and The United States Marine Corps have teamed up to help make the holidays brighter for area children through Toys for Tots.
This wonderful tradition, the longest such partnership in the NFL, continues this Sunday out at Arrowhead Stadium when the Chiefs take on the Chargers.
Most improved offenses
1. Kansas City Chiefs (+22)
Games 1-6 rank: 27th
Games 7-12 rank: 5th
The Chiefs were supposed to be finished once they lost running back Jamaal Charles to a season-ending knee injury in their fifth game. Instead, they have transitioned into one of the NFL's best teams. Alex Smith ranked 32nd out of 33 qualifying quarterbacks in Total QBR through six games. He trails only Carson Palmer over the past six games, tossing eight touchdown passes without an interception. Receiver Jeremy Maclin has seen his production spike of late, but the Chiefs are 2-2 when he reaches 100 yards receiving. Kansas City has the look of a team that started slowly, stayed the course under a strong head coach and improved as the season progressed.
Pet Predictions: Chargers at Chiefs from NBC San Diego
The Chargers are on the road this week for an AFC West matchup against the Chiefs in Kansas City. So who's going to win?
BB the basset hound was put on the case. Two of her human helpers at the Helen Woodward Animal Center (AnimalCenter.org) hid two bowls with treats in them; one for the Chargers and one for the Chiefs. So which team did BB sniff out? Click on the video to find out!
ICYMI: THE BEST STORIES YOU MISSED FROM NFL WEEK 13 from VICE Sports
Since allowing 125 points in the first four weeks, the Chiefs defense has allowed the exact same number (125) over the next eight. That's a whopping average of 31.25 points per game over the first four weeks, and a scrawny 14.4 ever since—the fewest points allowed of any NFL team over that stretch, per Pro Football Reference.
These aren't just numbers in a ledger, though. Berry's fully regained the speed, power and explosion that made him one of the best in the business before his diagnosis. In fact, Pro Football Focus currently has him rated as the NFL's best safety.
The Chiefs currently hold the AFC's top Wild Card spot, but only through tiebreakers. Even after reeling off six wins in a row, they sit at just 7-5—tied with the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers, two teams also playing great ball. If he's going to get a chance to shine in the postseason, Berry—and the Chiefs—can't let this fairy-tale comeback end before New Year's Day.
The Kansas City Chiefs have been splitting carries between Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware, but they face a San Diego Chargers defense that has been awful at stopping running backs. Would you recommend starting both players this week?
Our contributors are more skeptical about Ware's upside than West's, though neither rates better than an RB2 for Week 14.
As you can see, the Kansas City Chiefs are the leaders of the pack in kickoff return field position. Knile Davis (18 returns for 486 yards, 27.0 average) and D'Anthony Thomas (six returns for 138 yards, 23.0 average) have been the workhorses for the Chiefs this year in that area...
...Perhaps more telling in the field position game, though, is the average starting line of scrimmage for all drives (per Football Outsiders).This obviously includes punt returns, so while average starting field position is a function of the offense and defense as well, it can give you a little bit better idea of how each team's special teams units are doing in establishing a good beachhead for their offense.
The Chiefs again lead the NFL in that regard, thanks in part to punt returner De'Anthony Thomas, who averages 7.8 yards per punt return on 29 attempts.
Rookie watch: Mariota, Green-Beckham standing out from NFL.com
7. Marcus Peters, Kansas City Chiefs cornerback: Although the aggressive rookie cover corner has taken a few lumps this season, he has the look of a future All Pro. Peters' 18 passes defenses are the third-most in the league.
A short guide for professional football hopes from RDS [translated from the original French]
Two years ago, I was in the position of several college players who have just completed their fourth year. I was eligible for the NFL draft and the CFL and I had to ask myself questions about my professional future in football.
This column is based on my personal opinion, but you can build your own plan. Nevertheless, I believe that the next few paragraphs will help and they will discover the public part of the way to get to the professional ranks.
I will divide my review into three parts: reflection, exhibition and training.
Reflect and choose an agent
First, we must ask if we want to try our luck in the NFL. The answer seems obvious, but in my case, I still thought if it was not better to play football in a Canadian city with my medical studies.