Riding a strong end to the 2017 season, the Chargers, on the other hand, will look to capitalize on Kansas City’s young quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, as well as their inconsistent secondary.
So, how does Los Angeles feel going into this game?
Here’s what Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn and starting quarterback Philip Rivers had to say:
On what to expect from the Chiefs Sunday:
“They go out and execute, it’s going to be a heck of a challenge for us. They do have a new quarterback and we haven’t seen much from him so we’ll focus in on ourselves because of that,” Lynn said on his team’s preparation for the Chiefs and Mahomes. “Most of the personnel is still there. The coaching staff is still there. I don’t know what we’re going to see, but I don’t think they’re going to stray too far from what’s made them successful.”
On Bob Sutton:
“Bob’s not a good man, Bob’s a great man,” Lynn stated confidently. “He’s got a great football mind and players who have played for him think he’s genuine. For him to be the defensive coordinator and beat this team eight times in a row, that’s huge. I give Bob a lot of credit for what he’s been able to do.”
On how to win in this league:
“Being with this team for a year and understanding this personnel and what we can do and can’t do...I like the continuity that we have here between coaches and players, but we know if you want to win in this league, you have to be balanced,” Lynn said. “Defensive coordinator’s like Bob Sutton are just too good. We need to one up those. We started out slow on the running game last year because we didn’t have a lot of rush attempts. It’s hard to get better at the running game if you’re not running it.”
On Patrick Mahomes:
“He has a tremendous skill set and you know there are things that they’re going to do that we’re not going to see until game day,” Lynn said about Mahomes and the Chiefs weapons. “We just have to be able to make adjustments as the game goes on to whatever they may be doing. If we focus on ourselves, I’m okay with what we’re going to do on Sunday. I just have to make sure this team’s ready to play.”
On the changes to the Chiefs’ lineup:
“It is different and they’ve had some guys shuffling around throughout this preseason, but still have a solid secondary,” Philips said. “You look at 20 and 23 they bring in Orlando Scandrick and they get Ron Parker back and then obviously Eric Berry, he’s been dealing with some injuries, but we know the player he is, then the 20 and 25. It’s still a talented group.”
On the Chargers struggle playing the Chiefs:
“I can only say from experience, but a Bob Sutton defense is always a challenge and we haven’t had a ton of success against them as of late,” Philips said. “It’s been a lack of what we’ve done in that we haven’t taken care of the football. I had six turnovers last year in two games against Kansas City and anytime you turn the football over against a solid, well-coached team with a lot of pro footballers, you’re in trouble.”
On reading Chiefs’ defense:
The thing about them is that they don’t do a ton of exotic stuff,” Rivers said. “Now they have some things they do in the blitz world and the third downs and things where there’s a lot of guys in a lot of different places that makes it a challenge to pick up, but in your general first and second down stuff there’s not a ton that they do, they just do it very well. If you look at the solid defenses around the league, that’s what you find — teams that play sound defense and line up and say ‘we’re going to beat you, because we’re better.’ That’s what you get most of with these guys.”
On the Chargers struggle with the run game last season:
“Our best stretches offensively we’ve been very balanced and successful in the run game and the pass, Philips said. “It’s back and forth, but we definitely know the importance of running the football. All year long, it’s about being balanced and getting first down and scoring touchdowns. We had a lot of yards last year, but didn’t have a lot of points on the board. That’s the key of the game, getting more points on the board.”
And, as far as the past goes, Rivers isn’t thinking in terms of how many games the Chargers have lost in the against the Chiefs historically. Instead, he’s thinking the exact opposite.
“This team in here has never lost to the Chiefs and vice versa,” Rivers said. “Every year’s new and every team’s new.”