So who wants it more?
Larry Johnson believes the Chiefs' desperation will serve them well.
"We can't make any mistakes," he said. "We can't lose any games. We have to expect all the good teams to lose games and that's rarely going to happen, coming down to these last three games. We have to keep winning."
Not surprisingly, LaDainian Tomlinson gives the motivational edge to the home team.
"We still have a lot to play for," Tomlinson said. "We want to be a lot better and we can be, so that is our focus."
With the motivation factor an apparent wash, the issue of momentum must be reconsidered. San Diego has the league's longest winning streak, three games better than the next hottest team. Kansas City has lost its last two, including an inexplicable loss in Cleveland. The Chargers are 5-0 at home, the Chiefs but 2-4 on the road.
And although the Chiefs won when these teams met back in October, the Chargers have some momentum in this series, too. After an awful first quarter in Arrowhead, the Chargers outscored the Chiefs 27-16 the rest of the way.
"We had three turnovers in the first quarter," recalled Philip Rivers. "That is a quarter of the turnovers we've had all year. We dug ourselves a hole the first game. We feel like if we can stay away from those we can do well."
Both teams view this as a statement game. If the Chiefs win, they will have swept AFC West Champion Chargers, bringing into doubt who is truly the best team in the division. If the Chargers win, they will have avenged their earlier loss while moving one step closer to the first-round bye they so covet.
To add to the drama, both clubs have plenty of bulletin-board material to get them hyped. The Chargers are upset that Tamba Hali called them soft; the Chiefs are tired of reading about Tomlinson's greatness when their running back is the league's leading rusher.
Both teams badly need the win and both are determined to get it. The question remains: Who wants it more?