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Thursday Night Football- Chiefs vs Chargers Preview

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Ryan Mathews

Week 9 kicks off tonight with a divisional clash from the AFC West as the 1-6 Kansas City Chiefs tackle the 3-4 San Diego Chargers at Qualcomn Stadium.

The game is live on NFL Network for American viewers and will also be shown on Sky Sports 1 in Ireland.

So without further ado, here is my preview of the game.

Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers

Jamaal Charles

Stadium– Qualcomn Stadium

Kick Off- 5:20 p.m. in San Diego/1:20 a.m. in Ireland

What to Watch

Shaun Phillips

Chiefs Running Game vs Chargers Defense 

  • Given their current quarterback situation, the Chiefs priority on offense should be running the football with track star Jamaal Charles in the backfield. He is one of the fastest backs in the NFL and a real weapon in the run game.
  • However, the Chiefs are yet to fully utilize Charles and he’s had only seventeen carries in their last games. It will be interesting to see how many carries he sees against the Chargers second ranked run defense.

Chargers Pass Rush vs Chiefs Offensive Line

  • The Chargers pass rush has been highly disappointing this year with just 12 sacks on defense. Veteran pass rusher Shaun Phillips is the leader of this unit and he leads the team with 5 sacks.
  • On the opposite side of the ball, the Chiefs offensive line will set out to stop Phillips and the Chargers pass rush. This will be a key battle to watch as the Chiefs will need to protect their quarterback in the pocket regardless of who starts between Brady Quinn and Matt Cassel.

Chargers Passing Game

  • Philip Rivers and the Chargers passing game aren’t living up to expectations this season and currently rank as the 21st best in the league. Whether its the receivers or the quarterback, the passing game is a problem that needs to be fixed for a team with plenty of players capable of contributing through the air.
  • The stats don’t read well for #17 especially with 8 total turnovers in his last three games. Rivers and the passing game simply must step up if they are to pull off the win tonight.

Who to Watch

Justin Houston

Justin Houston- Outside Linebacker- Chiefs

  • Justin Houston has been one of the few bright spots on the Chiefs defense in 2012. Starting opposite Tambi Hali, Houston has been a consistent contributor and currently leads the team with 6 sacks.
  • Now in his second season in the league, he is progressing into a true force coming off the edge with a great first step along with excellent strength. Chargers right tackle Jeromey Clary will need to keep a close eye on Houston at all times to tonight to protect quarterback Philip Rivers.

Ryan Mathews- Running Back- Chargers

  • It’s been a difficult campaign thus far for running back Ryan Mathews. After missing the first two games through injury, he is now back in the starting lineup after being slowly worked back into the backfield.
  • He recovered from a slow start and has rushed for 249 yards in his last three games and is arguably the only skill position player that the Chargers can count on right now. Look for Mathews to shine tonight against a below par run defense.

Philip Rivers- Quarterback- Chargers

  • 2012 was supposed to be the year that Rivers rebounded from his worst season as a starter and got the Chargers back to the Playoffs. Seven games into the campaign and that has’nt been the case.
  • Not only has he continued his recent struggles but he his play has been mediocre at times which has led to major question marks being asked about his future with the team. Rivers will be looking to improve and lead the Chargers to victory tonight.

Prediction

Philip Rivers

This is a crucial AFC West battle with a loss for either team putting the final nail in the coffin for their respective Playoff hopes.

Coming off yet another disappointing loss, I think Norv Turner and the Chargers get the win back home in San Diego.

Chiefs 6 Chargers 22

So that’s your preview and prediction, hope everyone enjoys the big game.

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