The Kansas City Chiefs look to extend their winning streak to three games when they visit the San Diego Chargers Sunday. Will the Chiefs build on their victory over the defending Super Bowl champions or are the Chargers too hot to stop?
Here are three players (Offense, Defense and Special Teams) from each team to keep your eyes on.
Offense: Chris Chambers
After coming up with two of the biggest plays of the game last week for the Chiefs offense, Chambers will be looking to follow that up with an even bigger showing against his former team. The Chargers abruptly released Chambers and he has not been shy about expressing his unhappiness about how it went down.
So far he’s been nothing short of spectacular for Kansas City, but the Chiefs managed only 100 receiving yards against the Chargers in Week 7. If Chambers is going to exact his revenge, he’ll have to do a lot better than that on Sunday.
Defense: Derrick Johnson
Seemingly out of Todd Haley’s dog house, Johnson was all over the field last week against the Steelers. If he is going to stay in the good graces of the Chiefs head coach, he’ll need to give a similar effort this week. With Philip Rivers having his way with the Kansas City defense last time around, DJ had to not only get after the Chargers quarterback outside of the pocket but also hold his own in coverage.
While I don’t expect the nonexistent 2 tackle performance he put up in his last game against San Diego or the 8 tackle game with a sack he registered against the Pittsburgh, the Chiefs need him to be somewhere in between for the Kansas City defense to be successful. It would be nice to think Andy Studebaker will make two huge plays again this week, but that’s just not realistic. Someone else needs to step up and Johnson is poised to be that player.
Special Teams: Jamaal Charles
It isn’t realistic to expect a repeat performance from Studebaker, it’s not crazy to think Charles could break another long return.
Denver’s Eddie Royal was a block away from taking a kick to the house last week and two weeks ago Macho Harris put up two solid returns against San Diego’s special team’s unit. They might not be having the same issues on kick coverage as Pittsburgh, but they can be had. Charles finally broke through last week after being so close most of the season and will need another big game to help Kansas City steal a win in San Diego.
Offense: Philip Rivers
Last time these two teams met, Rivers went off for 268 yards, 3 touchdowns and no picks. It was one of his best days this season, but he has not had over 250 yards since then and will be looking to pick up his third 300 yard game of the year.
For a Chiefs defense that has struggled with big plays, Rivers will be looking to hook up with Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd down the field especially with Kansas City dealing with so many injuries in the secondary.
Defense: Antonio Cromartie
He’s the best player in their secondary, but that’s not why you need to keep your eye on him. Earlier this week he was investigated by San Diego police for assault with a deadly weapon. That sort of accusation would shake most men to their core, no matter what actually happened.
Keep an eye on Cromartie as he tries to keep a lid on Chris Chambers’ quest for revenge.
Special Teams: Darren Sproles
If you want to talk about big plays, Sproles is a guy you always have to watch out for. In Week 7, the Chiefs managed to keep him mostly in check. Colquitt only allowed him to return one punt for 18 yards. And on kickoffs he wasn’t much better only taking two for 34.
As we’ve seen over the years, it only takes the smallest of openings for Sproles to take one to the house. If Kansas City hopes to upset the Chargers and add to their winning streak, they need to contain San Diego’s pesky returner the same way they did last time around.