The Chargers will face the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, one of the loudest and most disruptive stadiums in the NFL. Fans have a reason to show up, too. The Chiefs are currently riding a six-game winning streak and have improved to 7-5 on the season (second in the AFC West) after starting the year at 1-5.
Kansas City is chasing a playoff spot, and if they keep winning, they have a chance.
Here's a few things that stand out about head coach Andy Reid's team:
Dominant on defense, the Chiefs have forced 23 takeaways this season, good for third-most in the NFL. Seventeen of those have been interceptions (second in the league), led by CB Marcus Peters, with five.
The Chiefs rank fifth in the league in sacks, with 34 on the season. Justin Houston leads the opportunistic defense, with 7.5 quarterback takedowns, although he may not play against the Chargers because of a lingering knee injury. Houston missed practice Wednesday and Thursday this week.
On offense, quarterback Alex Smith has lost only three passes to interceptions this season. Smith’s most productive receiver has been Jeremy Maclin, with 66 catches for 867 yards and five touchdowns this season. Tight end Travis Kelce is having a fine campaign (56 receptions for 731 yards and four touchdowns) and running back Charcandrick West has 107 carries for 408 yards and three touchdowns since taking over duties for an injured Jamaal Charles (ACL tear). RB Spencer Ware has also been impressive since being asked to carry more of a workload.
"They got a great offensive line and a great run scheme," defensive coordinator John Pagano said Thursday. "Both those backs [West and Ware] do a great job. They're both physical. They run downhill. They run hard. [The Chiefs] do a great job in the scouting department to find guys like that, to overcome the injury of a great player, a Pro Bowl player, a guy that can play at an MVP-level of our league. It says something about the coaching staff, the players."
The last time these two teams met – only three weeks ago -- the Chiefs routed the Chargers, 33-3, at Qualcomm Stadium.