Having it out for the Chargers

The schedule makers apparently weren't fond of the Chargers getting into the playoffs last year. They put together a string of three straight teams coming off their bye week and this week makes four in a sense.

The Chargers thought this would finally be the week they played an opponent on somewhat even terms. The Chiefs were to represent the first team out of the Chargers' last three rivals not coming off a bye.

But because of Hurricane Wilma, the Chiefs' game in Miami was moved up two days. That means two extra days to mend and prepare for the Chargers.

"In my view, there is no advantage," head coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "It is a non-issue."

The Chargers were hoping to enter Sunday's game on an up note after beating their second Super Bowl participant on the road. San Diego won earlier in the year at New England, but a blocked field-goal in Philadelphia ruined the Chargers' bid for a Super sweep.

"Next week can't come soon enough," tackle Shane Olivea said, "to get this bad taste out of our mouth."

The Chargers know how critical it is to rebound against the Chiefs. They have fallen to 3-4 and can't afford to give much more ground. If they do, their goal of reaching the playoffs for the second straight year since -- something they haven't done since 1994-95 -- will come to an end.

A key for San Diego will be reviving the running game. The Chargers were limited to 21 rushing yards in their loss to the Eagles, with Pro Bowler LaDainian Tomlinson restricted to a career-low 7 yards on 17 carries.

The Eagles did what worked so well for the Cowboys, Broncos and Steelers in the Chargers' earlier defeats: stack the line of scrimmage and tempt San Diego to beat them through the air.

It's not that quarterback Drew Brees doesn't have the arm, targets and smarts to do it. But when choosing your poison, the chances are better if Tomlinson is bottled up.

The Eagles were putting nine defenders in the box at times; the Chiefs would be wise to mimic such an approach.

The Chargers' offensive line also has to get going. It hopes to get back starting center Nick Hardwick (ankle) this week, although he missed practice on Wednesday along with guard Mike Goff.

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