The Kansas City Chiefs will try to avoid embarrassing themselves on national TV Thursday night when they travel to San Diego and take on the Chargers.
With nine games left and the Chiefs three games out of first place, it would be nice to talk about the potential of chasing a playoff spot. But realistic fans know that dream left us long ago, with hopes of just not getting run over in front of the nation as the main priority.
Luckily for Romeo Crennel (and his job status), the Chargers aren’t in much better shape right now thanks to a three-game losing streak even though they are only a game behind the Denver Broncos.
San Diego fans have been on edge all season, so much that the team’s on public relations team asked them to “take a chill pill“. Now rumors are swirling that head coach Norv Turner will finally be fired if he can’t find a way to pull out a win against the 1-6 Chiefs.
Could Crennel also be on thin ice? It’s not likely that GM Scott Pioli would admit failure this quickly by firing his own guy just eight games in the season, but a blowout in front of a national TV audience might be enough for owner Clark Hunt to actually take action.
The last time these two teams met, the Chargers easily handled the Chiefs in Kansas City, 37-20. That was the last time San Diego won a game and the beginning of the a tailspin for the Chiefs.
Here are the three Chiefs players that will need to turn in big efforts if this team is going to temporarily stop the bleeding.
Offense: Jamaal Charles
No one knows why one of the most electric running backs in the league only carried the ball five times last week. Not Crennel and not Charles. But for some reason he was ignored as the Kansas City offense struggled and that can’t happen again.
Charles needs to be involved early and often against the Chargers. He briefly gave the Chiefs life in their Week 4 loss to San Diego with a 37-yard touchdown that made it a 14-point game in the second quarter.
Considering Charles had the bye week and then nearly a second one last week, there’s no reason to worry about using him too much Thursday night. Unleash the beast and if that’s not enough, I think everyone in Kansas City will be able to accept that.
Defense: Derrick Johnson
While the Raiders were punking the Chiefs defense last week, Johnson was flying around the field trying to do everything by himself. While his emotion didn’t spread to his teammates against Oakland, he’ll need to try and light that fire again.
After racking up 10 tackled (three for a loss) and a pass defensed, Johnson could be used to jump start a Chiefs pass rush that will need to get after Philip Rivers.
Special Teams: Dustin Colquitt
It’s sad when your punter is seen as one of your biggest playmakers every week, but that’s exactly what Colquitt has done so far this season. It may have come as a surprise to some when he out played Shane Lechler last week, but not to anyone that watches the Chiefs every week.
In order for the Chiefs to pull off the upset in San Diego, he will have to build on his fantastic season. That means continuing to put nearly 55% of all his punts inside the 20.