Chiefs vs. Chargers: Game Preview from The Mothership
The Kansas City Chiefs (7-5) are riding a six-game winning streak that has reversed the course of their entire season.
To extend it Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, they will have to beat a familiar counterpart in the San Diego Chargers (3-9), who they defeated, 33-3, in San Diego just three weeks ago.
The key play in that game was an interception return for a touchdown by linebacker
Justin Houston, but he will be out for the second game in a row Sunday. Dee Fordis expected to start in his place.
"I thought Dee did some nice things," Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said of his first career start last week. "He got a lot of snaps and sacks he ended up causing just by his rush."
Ford's challenge Sunday will be getting to quarterback Philip Rivers, who has been San Diego's strong point in a season otherwise filled with disappointment.
Coming to the Game? Here's Some Information that You Need to Know from The Mothership
Working in conjunction with the Missouri Department of Transportation, the Chiefs are reminding all fans who are planning to attend that there will be increased traffic throughout the city due to the outbound weeknight commute. Thus, fans should expect delays and traffic congestion that they don't normally experience for Sunday contests.
To assist with the overall flow of traffic, the traffic configuration at the Stadium Drive, Manchester Trafficway/Raytown Road intersection west of the Truman Sports Complex has been changed. Those changes include:
Chiefs vs. Chargers: How to Watch and Listen from The Mothership
Play-by-Play: Andrew Catalon
Analyst: Steve Tasker
Analyst: Steve Beuerlein
Chiefs Download Podcast presented by Draft Kings: David Koechner
Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah is one of the faces of true Islam from The Kansas City Star
When he was told a man named Husain Abdullah wanted to see him, he didn't immediately know it was "the" Husain Abdullah, a Chiefs' safety, because the name is common among Muslims.
As DeVeau descended the stairs toward Abdullah and his son, Jalaal, each dressed in traditional garb, DeVeau extended a Muslim greeting of peace: "As-Salamu-Alaikum."
Abdullah returned the greeting, then enjoyed a tour of the Cathedral, a brief history of the Church and learning of DeVeau's time in Iran, where he was exposed to Islam and traditions such as Ramadan and Hajj.
As Abdullah and his son were about to leave, Abdullah asked DeVeau if the church had a youth group.
And that's why 30 members of that group will be attending the Chiefs' game against San Diego on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
Dealing with fast turnaround from last meeting no issue for Chiefs, Charger from Chiefs Digest
While both teams must deal with a rapid turnaround, adjusting to the scenario isn't anything new to Chiefs coach Andy Reid.
"I've been there before," Reid said in a conference call with Chargers beat writers. "It's different. I know when after the game, (Chargers coach) Mike (McCoy) said to me, ‘See you in a couple of weeks.' That's how it rolls."
The Chiefs last experienced playing a divisional foe in three weeks from the last meeting in 2014. Kansas City traveled to Oakland to play the Raiders in Week 12 before hosting the Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 15.
Reid also prepared the Chiefs to play the Denver Broncos twice in a three-week span during the 2013 season.
Meanwhile, the Chargers are no strangers to adapting to an opponent within a short period.
Prediction: Chiefs 24, Chargers 13 from ESPN
The Raiders were able to get the Chiefs off their game to an extent last week. The Chiefs hadn't committed a turnover during their previous five games,but gave it to the Raiders twice in the first half. The Chiefs hadn't had so much trouble protecting quarterback Alex Smith since early in the season. Kansas City's running game was sluggish, for the most part.
In the end, none of that mattered...
...It wasn't enough for the Raiders, who have more offensive capability than do the Chargers. The Chiefs without their best game had enough to overcome Oakland. Even if they don't play as well as they did against the Chargers three weeks ago, the Chiefs are good enough to claim the same result.
Scouting report: Chiefs vs. Chargers, noon Sunday at Arrowhead from The Kansas City Star
Bottom line: Chiefs 24-14
The Chargers' 3-9 record is a reflection of what happens when you battle injuries and can't stop the run. Rivers is one of the league's best quarterbacks but even he couldn't save them this season. The Chiefs should win handily on what could be a cold, wet day built for power football.
How the loss of Jamaal Charles forced Chiefs' offense to mature from The Kansas City Star
In the weeks following the meeting, which preceded a 23-13 win over the Steelers that jump-started the Chiefs' current six-game winning streak, Reid mentioned that the quality of practices have improved, and players agree, citing improved effort under a time-worn but true cliché of taking it one day at a time.
But NFL teams, of course, just don't go from losing five straight to winning six straight, as the Chiefs have, by practicing harder.
There are real, fundamental football reasons for the Chiefs' turnaround, much of which has to do with the tweaks they've made to their offensive scheme — both passing and rushing — after the reality of star running back Jamaal Charles' season-ending injury set in.
"The defense was focusing on ‘We've got to stop Jamaal Charles,' " running back Charcandrick West said. "Now they've got to stop a team."
The San Diego Chargers have added an illness to Philip Rivers' injury designation but still list the quarterback as probable for Sunday's game against the Chiefs.
Rivers originally was listed as probable with a foot injury. The Chargers updated his status Saturday, listing both the foot injury and the illness but saying that he remains probable to play.
Intrigue on business side of football hovers over Chiefs-Chargers game from Chiefs Digest
San Diego is among three NFL cities - Oakland and St. Louis the other two - vying for relocation to Los Angeles, a city where the Chargers first played in 1960.
The Chargers are mired in a losing season at 3-9, but the uncertainty of the future apparently hasn't played a role in the disappointing campaign.
"For the most part, that's just a blame game in my opinion," longtime Chargers tight end Antonio Gates said in a conference call with Chiefs beat writers. "I don't think it's a distraction.
"All I do know is that we have four games here and one game left in the stadium that I've been playing in for 13 years. And I feel like we need to make the most of what we have instead of concerning ourselves with what our future home is because we have no control over that."
Game Day Forecast from The National Weather Service
Danny Woodhead from The San Diego Union-Tribune
There's nothing Midwestern folksy or friendly about how the Kansas City Chiefs treat their opponents.
In Missouri today, the Chargers will face against a Chiefs team (7-5) that has pounded out six consecutive wins after starting 1-5. The defense hits hard and has a knack for stealing passes. The offense hogs the ball like Midwesterners do corn subsidies. The special teams' left-footed punts are known to confound opponents. Or perhaps that's only the Chargers.
All hope, however, is not lost for the Chargers (3-9). They have an able Midwesterner among their ranks.
Omaha resident Danny Woodhead, Nebraska born and bred, relishes these business trips to the Great Plains.
Chiefs have .614 win rate under Andy Reid from The San Diego Union-Tribune
The Chiefs are 27-17 (.614) with one playoff berth in two-plus seasons under Reid, who has guided 10 of 16 teams to the postseason. His lone Super Bowl team, the '04 Eagles, lost to the New England Patriots, 24-21, in Super Bowl 39.
NFL Picks Against the Spread: Week 14 Computer Predictions from Heavy.com
The biggest favorite right now for Sunday has the Kansas City Chiefs as 10-point chalk over the San Diego Chargers. The Chiefs are 4-1 against the spread in the last five games between these two teams, and the computer has the Chiefs covering big by a final score of 33.0-12.5.
Defensive linemen becoming the NFL's new source of sacks from The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"With the evolution of the quick passing game, it's kind of taking away the outside rusher," said Cowher, a studio analyst for CBS Sports. "You have more guys that are stepping into the pocket and, with inside pressure, you can get there quicker. I don't think you see many quarterbacks taking seven-step drops anymore. That's where outside guys could beat you off the corner."
Granted, Kansas City outside linebacker Justin Houston led the NFL with 22 sacks in 2014. And, in 2013, outside linebacker Robert Mathis of the Indianapolis Colts led the league with 191⁄2. But even that year, seven of the top 10 and 14 of the top 19 sackers in the league were defensive linemen.
In 2012, it was 14 of the top 20. In 2013, 15 of the top 20. The previous time outside linebackers dominated the league with sacks was 2010 when DeMarcus Ware of Dallas (151⁄2), Kansas City's Tamba Hali (141⁄2), Miami's Cameron Wake (14) and Green Bay's Clay Matthews (131⁄2) were the top four sackers in the NFL.
One of the reasons: Teams are spending so much money on left and right tackles they are ignoring the quality of their interior linemen.
At the start of the season, this week's matchup between the San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs seemed as if it would be a key matchup in the AFC Wild Card race. But now, it looks to be nothing more than a tune up for the Chiefs, winners of six straight.
Kansas City is coming off a decisive 34-20 victory over the Oakland Raiders, intercepting Derek Carr three times in the second half to put the game away. The Chiefs are currently second in the NFL with a plus-13 turnover differential, as Alex Smith hasn't thrown an interception since Week 2.
Former Abilene Christian running back gets his chance with Chiefs from The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
"It's crazy," West said in a phone interview. "Before the season started, I hadn't expected to get this many carries, but to be in this situation is a dream."
West went undrafted out of Abilene Christian, where the closest he came to a 1,000-yard season was the 906 yards he rushed for as a senior. He signed with the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent in 2014 despite the presence of Pro Bowler Charles.
"I just knew playing behind Jamaal that there was so much he could teach me," said West, who finished with 2,073 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns in his four seasons in Abilene. "There is so much he has taught me. He's helped me with pass pro, how to study.... He's helped me learn to play in the NFL basically, and how to be a pro."
Kansas City Chiefs: Game situations will determine exactly how much the Chiefs use running backs Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware each week. But last week's split -- West played twice as many snaps but Ware got the ball almost as often and scored a touchdown -- offers a view into the Chiefs' thinking. Ware is a more physical runner and better capable of gaining the tough yards, so look for him to get more carries around the goal line. -- Adam Teicher
The bombs-away Steelers should terrify the rest of the AFC from SB Nation
This is not to say that the Steelers are a flawless team. The defense, especially, leaves a lot to be desired for. But if they can sneak into the playoffs they're going to be facing teams that sometimes have trouble getting into the upper 20s. Take the Broncos, for example, Or Alex Smith's Chiefs. Both those squads have elite defenses that can slow down even the most explosive offenses. But with the style of football the Steelers are playing if they hit on their gambles something like 20 percent of the time they'll be OJ.
That's a recipe that bodes well for the playoffs. The question, though, is can the Steelers win enough games down the stretch to get there.
In December, with the season grinding toward the postseason, you get to see which teams really are Super Bowl contenders and which are scuffling and hoping. So it's a perfect time for the penultimate update to my "Santa Clara Six." Since last spring, I've been ranking my choices for the teams most likely to meet at Levi's Stadium. Here's my latest call:
SANTA CLARA SIX
...3. KANSAS CITY: I wavered between the Chiefs and the Steelers for this selection but decided that with Ben Roethlisberger's body being held together with Band-Aids and duct tape, Pittsburgh will have a tougher time getting anywhere in the postseason. But the key point here, of course, is that I don't think the Denver Broncos can't be considered a serious threat in January. If Peyton Manning comes back, his non-feeling fingertips will be even more non-feeling in the cold weather. And if Brock Osweiler is your starting playoff quarterback, the playoffs won't last long.