Chiefs at Chargers gameday walkthrough

This is the 94th meeting between the Chiefs and Chargers. Kansas City leads series 49-43-1, including a 30-27 win earlier this season. The Chiefs have lost the last two games in San Diego, with the tight ends dominating the last two contests.

In October of last season, Antonio Gates had 10 catches for 145 yards and three touchdowns, answering TE Tony Gonzalez's team-record 14-catch game in the previous meeting.

KICKOFF: Sunday, 8:15 ET
GAMEDATE: 12/17/06
SURFACE: Grass
TV: NBC, Al Michaels, John Madden, Andrea Kremer

2006 RANKINGS: Chiefs: offense 15th (7th rush, 19th pass); defense 13th (15th rush, 20th pass). Chargers: offense 5th (3rd rush, 14th pass); defense 7th (7th rush, 11th pass)

PREDICTION: Chargers 24-19

KEYS TO THE GAME:

There's no doubt the Chargers are the more balanced offensive team. That makes it critical for the Chiefs to get out to an early lead, as they did with a 20-6 second-quarter advantage en route to winning the first meeting, 30-27. That's the best way to contain Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson, who has 21 touchdowns the past seven games.

TE Antonio Gates is benefiting from the extra attention being paid to Tomlinson, and is coming off his first 100-yard receiving game of the season.

The Chiefs need to be able to control field position, and RB Larry Johnson had 132 yards on 28 carries in the first meeting.

QB Trent Green, who threw two costly interceptions last Sunday, has to avoid those mistakes and make sure the offense capitalizes on any drives deep into Chargers territory by not settling for field goals.

FAST FACTS: Chiefs: Johnson has at least 100 rushing yards in seven of his past eight games and needs one touchdown to tie Marcus Allen (44) for second-most in franchise history. ... TE Tony Gonzalez needs one touchdown to tie Shannon Sharpe (62) for most ever by a tight end. Chargers: Clinch first-round playoff bye with a victory and a loss by Indianapolis. ... Tomlinson has rushed for at least 100 yards in seven consecutive games.

Chiefs:

--S Jarrad Page dinged his ribs in practice Tuesday and is probable for Sunday's game.

--OT Kyle Turley remains questionable with a shoulder injury.

--DL Jimmy Wilkerson, a swing player at defensive end and defensive tackle, is questionable with a hamstring pull.

--LB Derrick Johnson is off the injury report for the first time in over a month. He had a lingering ankle injury but played most of the game last week.

--LB Kendrell Bell is still a starter at outside linebacker, despite increased speculation that Keyaron Fox, a third-year player from Georgia, would replace him. Fox's playing time has increased all season.

Chargers:

--OLB Shawne Merriman (foot) missed a portion of the practice for the second straight day. But he is expected to start and OK for Sunday.

--DE Luis Castillo (ankle) hasn't worked this week, but that is more of a precautionary move. Castillo played last week and held up well after missing the previous four games.

--WR Malcom Floyd (ankle) who the Chargers think has a big upside was placed on IR. Floyd had three scoring catches. Floyd was put on IR.

--OLB Shawne Merriman (foot) missed a portion of the practice for the second straight day. But he is expected to start and OK for Sunday.

--DE Luis Castillo (ankle) hasn't worked this week, but that is more of a precautionary move. Castillo played last week and held up well after missing the previous four games.

--DT Jamal Williams (knee) didn't work the entire practice but is a go for Sunday.

--WR Az-Zahir Hakim was added to the squad to take Floyd's roster spot. He played in six games for the Lions this year, catching 17 passes for 147 yards.

--RB Michael Turner (hamstring) has worked all week and will be back in there backing up LaDainian Tomlinson and returning kicks.


SD Super Chargers Top Stories