Without Priest, Chiefs still have a prayer

Put your hands together, get down on bended knee and give thanks to the football gods that this week the Chargers do not face Priest Holmes. He has been a Charger killer throughout his career with the Chiefs. Better yet, he has been a Team killer for any team that faces the Chiefs throughout his career. But wait…it does not mean an easy win for the San Diego Chargers going into Kansas City this week.

Trent Green, he of the golden arm, that has thrown for over 300 yards in each of the last five games. He, who was originally drafted by the San Diego Chargers, has also been a Bolt killer over his Chiefs career. He still has a lot of offensive targets to throw to and the Chargers are ranked 24th in overall pass defense this year.

Look for Sammy Davis to have a very, very long day; he will be covering Johnnie Morton or Eddie Kennison at any given time and every Charger fan knows that he has a tendency to either play to far off the ball or lose the receiver when he gets behind him.

The safeties have not been a factor in helping him out either, (See Terrence Keil in last week's game against the Raiders). If you think the Chiefs are not licking their chops at getting a chance to face Davis, then you have not been watching any games this year.

Let's say San Diego's defensive backfield steps up and takes a hold of the Chiefs two top receivers, they then have to contend with a linebacker or safety to cover Tony Gonzalez, the other Pro Bowl tight end (Gates will be a Pro Bowler this year as long as he stays healthy). That is a chore in itself. Gonzalez is still the premier Tight End in the league and the Chargers have to concentrate on putting the screws to the Chiefs' passing game.

This game is not going to be a blowout. I will be shocked if it is. The Chiefs have too many offensive weapons and the Chargers, though playing solid against the run, have not shown they can be aggressive pass rushers consistently all year. Give Green time and he will chew you up and spit you out for dinner. He is an accurate passer and knows how to look off safeties and linebackers to get the ball where he wants it.

The Chargers also have to contend with Dante Hall on special teams. He has not played like he did last year with four returned for touchdowns but, he is still a threat anytime he touches the ball with his speed and juking ability.

No, Sunday's game is going to be hard but it will be winnable.

If the Chargers play offense like they have done all year and keep moving the ball downfield, keeping the Chiefs' offense off the field and giving the defense a rest they have a chance to win this game.

With a semi-healthy LaDainian Tomlinson at 90-95 percent, a not too shabby tight end themselves in Gates, and an All-Pro receiver in Keenan McCardell, they have a chance to do something they have not done in a long time, and that is win in Kansas City.

We know one thing if you pay too much attention to McCardell and Gates, Eric Parker can hurt you. We have our own offensive weapons and the Chiefs defense is not the best in the league at defending the pass – or much of anything.

This is going to be a good, ‘ole-fashioned, hard-nosed football game. It is one the Chargers need to stay atop the AFC West and enhance their chances of making the playoffs for the first time since 1995. With six games to go, they need at least three wins to make the playoffs and four to definitely get in.

A jolt into the future:

Chargers 35
Chiefs 28

Tom Criswell can be reached at Tom@SanDiegosports.net

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