Chargers would welcome a bye

The Chargers would love to say hello to their second bye come the first week oft the AFC playoffs.

That's among the carrots and the end of the coach Marty Schottenheimer's string this week as the Chargers welcome the Kansas City Chiefs

With their second AFC West title in three years secure, the Chargers go about their business of obtaining a first round bye. An eighth straight win on Sunday would give them a reprieve of what has been a long stretch of Sundays.

The Chargers had their bye relatively early, coming in Week 3. Since then, it's been a long march and some 13 players have clogged the injury list of late.

"They add up," running back LaDainian Tomlinson said of the various aches and pains. "There are certain things you might be sore from, from a previous game, and if you get hit again on that same spot, it's gonna hurt."

That's why a week off before heading head-first into the playoffs would greatly add the team's cause to win its first postseason game since 1994.

The Chiefs also are an easy target to get up for. Schottenheimer still enjoys sticking it to his old team and it was Kansas City who are the last team to beat the Chargers.

"I'd be less than candid to say that the fact that we lost there isn't going to be something that we think about for this one," Schottenheimer said. "Kansas City still has an opportunity to get into the tournament. Our guys have been focused throughout, and I'm certain they'll remain that way this week."

But this doesn't figure to be a pushover game, despite two teams heading in opposition directions. While the Chargers have won seven in a row, the Chiefs have dropped two straight and are on the verge of missing the playoffs for the third consecutive year.

So the Chiefs will likely go down with everything they got. The trick will be for the Chargers to show they still have some giddy-up in their tank after a dramatic Sunday, which included clinching a playoff spot and Tomlinson collecting the NFL single-season touchdown mark.

"I know it can get old us saying this, but Kansas City is the only team that we can worry about," quarterback Philip Rivers said. "It's the next game. We need to focus on winning each game to stay where we are. That way the playoffs do come right through here down the road."

Down the road could be a respite for the Chargers. The team hopes the extended season greets them with an extended rest.

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