There is nothing like going into week 17 knowing that if you win, you’re in the playoffs. That is exactly what the Chargers are facing on Sunday as they travel to Arrowhead stadium to take on the division rival Chiefs.
It was just announced today that Alex Smith has a lacerated spleen and Chase Daniel will start at quarterback for Kansas City.
Despite the difference in venue, this year’s situation is very similar to last year’s when the Bolts played the Chiefs in week 17 with Daniel at the helm. KC was already a lock for the playoffs in 2013, while the Chargers, with a little help and a win, would secure a trip to the postseason.
This season San Diego wins and they immediately punch their ticket to the playoffs. With the defense stepping up as of late — 11th overall in the NFL — they now have the task of slowing down running back Jamaal Charles. His speed and overall ability could pose problems if he is allowed to get going. He is also an excellent receiver out of the backfield.
The Chief defense features one of the best pass rushing duos in the league in Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. They have combined for 24 sacks and 6 forced fumbles. Defensive linemen Dontari Poe and Allen Bailey have 9 sacks between the two of them. The Charger offensive line must find a way to keep Philip Rivers upright. Due to the lack of a running game, expect Rivers to be dropping back quite often.
The 2014 season has been all over the place. We have all seen a 5-game winning streak, a 3-game losing streak, a 3-game winning streak followed more recently by a 2-game losing streak. With a win over Kansas City, they would end the regular season on a 2-game winning streak after last week’s victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
It has been an emotional roller coaster as a Chargers fan. The injuries have piled up and reserve players have been called upon at numerous positions. Despite the losing streaks and missing players, San Diego can make it the second consecutive year in a row that Mike McCoy has led them to the postseason.