The national media seems to be split when it comes down to tonight’s showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football — the crew from CBS Sports picked the Chiefs, while the majority of ESPN’s experts sided with the Chargers.
SI’s Peter King, for one, isn’t buying into the Chiefs repeating last year’s MNF victory over the Chargers. Instead, he likes Philip Rivers to finally play like a franchise quarterback.
San Diego 33, Kansas City 20. Never in September did I think I’d write this sentence this season: The Chiefs haven’t lost in 36 days. I probably won’t be able to write it again this year, but it was fun while it lasted, wasn’t it? I am picking this game on blind faith, because after watching the Chargers cough up that game last week in New Jersey, you’ve got to figure that Philip Rivers starts being Philip Rivers again soon. Like, tonight. But part of Rivers having a shot against the resurgent Chiefs is Ryan Mathews carrying his load, because San Diego’s going to need to take a voracious crowd out of the game, and the way you do that is with some long drives early. Mathews is the key to those.
I took the Chiefs this week, but I do believe it’s a coin flip game so obviously it’s not crazy for anyone to pick the Chargers. Though you have to wonder, at what point do you look at the season Rivers is putting together and no longer give him the benefit of the doubt?
As much as many in Kansas City — and around the country for that matter — hate Rivers, he has put together some amazing seasons and has played the game with a tremendous amount of heart. However, this season the Chargers have won less than convincingly over the Minnesota Vikings, Chiefs and Miami Dolphins at home and the Denver Broncos on the road. They have also lost to the only two teams they have played with records above .500: New England Patriots and New York Jets.
That’s not to say Rivers can’t break out tonight, I’m just not so sure it’s right to assume he will — tonight or at any point this season. The Chiefs defense did a number on the Oakland Raiders last week and are playing with an amazing amount of confidence.
The Chiefs are no lock tonight, but I like them a whole lot more than Rivers and the Chargers.