The Week Ahead

The San Diego Chargers face-off against division foe Kansas City at Qualcomm Stadium this weekend. The AFC West currently owns the best winning percentage of any of the NFL's eight divisions at 15-4, and every team in the division is above .500. Game time is 1:15 PM PST.

The Kansas City Chiefs come off a 29-25 win against the New York Jets in the Meadowlands. They were able to score on their final drive, going 78 yards capped off by a 19-yard reception from Trent Green to Priest Holmes. Holmes eluded James Darling on the play and hurdled a defender at the goal line to go in for the score. Holmes was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week for week 5. Holmes ran for 152 yards and also netted 81 yards receiving. He also had 2 touchdowns on the day. Green threw for 296 yards on the day with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. The KC defense is still giving up a lot of points but the offense continues to shine and keep them in ball games.

Before Denver's Clinton Portis produced 102 yards vs. the Chargers last week. San Diego's defense had allowed just one 100-yard rusher in its previous 31 games. That one rusher was KC's Priest Holmes who racked up 181 ground yards in his last visit to SD, the most yards ever assembled in a single game in the history of the Chargers franchise. The Chargers went down 7-0 early on a 69-yard touchdown pass from Brian Griese to Ed McCaffrey. By halftime, the Chargers were down 19-0. Mental errors and conservative play calling made it tough on Drew Brees in the second half. Brees threw 35 times and the Bolts ran only once. They could not get back into the game and lost 26-9.

The key to this game is limiting the touches Priest Holmes gets. He is on a tear right now and is leading the league in rushing. He also catches the ball well out of the backfield. Trent Green is throwing with confidence, and now that the short passing game weakness has been exposed, Green will play that same game until the Chargers prove they can defend it.

The offense must open it up early and keep KC on its heels all game. KC has the No. 32 ranked defense in the NFL and the Chargers must mix the run and the pass better than they have before.

The team scoring last has decided the last 11 Chargers-Chiefs games played at San Diego. KC leads the NFL in fourth-quarter scoring with 85 points. Exactly 49.7% of the Chiefs points (85 of 171) have come in the final 15 minutes this season. Five of the last six Chargers-Chiefs contests at Qualcomm Stadium have been decided by a TD or less.

During Schottenheimer's tenure as KC's head coach from '89-98, the Chiefs had an NFL-best +99 turnover ratio. The Chargers are currently tied for third in the league with a +5 turnover mark (11 takeaways/6 giveaways).

Keys to a Charger Victory

1. Spread the ball around on offense. Teams know that if they can stop LaDainian Tomlinson they have a great chance of winning. The Chargers must change that philosophy and the only way to do it is getting other players involved.

2. Stop Priest Holmes. The Chargers will need to play a contained defense against Holmes. He has great acceleration and elusiveness and the front four will need to create a push and open up things for linebackers. The linebackers will then need to tackle well and stay in their lanes. No easy feat against the best RB in the NFL.

3. Limit Tony Gonzalez. Donnie Edwards will have the task of covering the best TE in the game. Edwards is fast and has shown he is a great cover linebacker over the past few games. Still Gonzalez has a size advantage and will look to use it against anyone he faces.

4. Win the field position battle. With Morten Anderson questionable on kickoffs the Chargers will need to convert on special teams. Through 5 games the special teams unit has been anemic and it needs to change.

5. Win the turnover game. The Chiefs have a high-powered offense and the Bolts cannot afford to give points away.

6. Score last. Hey it's proven, 11-11 times in San Diego say so.

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