Positional Analysis

The Chargers "team" is 8-6, and the "team" will need to come together to secure another win this week as the face the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in a battle that will either put the Chargers one step closer to the playoffs, or out of the playoff picture altogether.

On Offense

Drew Brees gets the reigns this week and how he responds to the first benching of his career will go a long way towards a win this week. He has just three touchdown passes in his last seven games and nine interceptions during that span. Expect a lot of short passes this week to build confidence for Brees and to stop the Chiefs stacking the line.

The offensive line should be able to dominate between the tackles, where LaDainian Tomlinson likes to run. Tomlinson has not showed any of the late season struggles he faced in year one and a heavy dose of LT is always a good thing. The key to the line is keeping pressure off Brees especially considering the raucous crowd they will face at Arrowhead. A sack is a major force in fueling the twelfth man.

Curtis Conway burned the Chiefs in week 6, but is listed as a game-time decision. With this game being a must win, he will surely play. His presence adds a nig-time threat as the Chiefs secondary struggles. William Bartee has struggled of late and Brees has had his biggest games against KC. Tim Dwight has also showed Wayne Chrebet like attitude of late. He has been aggressive and that has led to success.

The tight ends must also take advantage of mismatches. Stephen Alexander and Josh Norman will prove to be valuable against the likes of Marvcus Patton, Scott Fujita and Mike Maslowski. The linebacking trio of the Chiefs is not known for their coverage skills and the size of the tight ends will prove to be a difficult matchup if Brees has time to throw.

On Defense

With few targets remaining for Trent Green he will be tested to provide accurate throws to his receivers. The Chargers will look to force his play by blitzing and throwing different looks at the former third string quarterback.

The Chiefs offensive line has been outstanding all season. They have allowed just 22 sacks on the season so pressure will be a luxury the Chargers hope to receive. With the Chargers allowing tons of yards in the ground game the pivotal battle is that much more important.

Omar Easy is no Tony Richardson at fullback. He will be given the job of opening holes for Mike Cloud, who replaces Priest Holmes. Junior Seau will have the job of disrupting blocking schemes in the running game. Cloud will see holes but it is unclear how fast he will explode through those holes. The Chargers cannot take him for granted.

With the Chiefs receiving corps depleted it will rest heavily on the shoulders of Donnie Edwards to blanket Tony Gonzalez. If he or Marc Boerigter does get the ball the secondary must tackle well to prevent the big guys from gaining valuable yardage. Marvin Minnis and Eddie Kennison will also be counted on by the Chiefs. The Chargers secondary has been playing more man-to-man of late and it has been successful. That cannot change.

Special Teams

Michael Husted, who has not kicked a field goal in the NFL in two seasons, replaces Morten Anderson. Husted is not nearly as reliable on field goals as Anderson and that could change the gameplan Dick Vermeil uses.

Steve Christie will be used on field goals but the Chargers are not nearly as adept on kickoffs. It is unclear whether Christie or James Tuthill will get the nod in that capacity. Whomever does get the nod will be better off using directional kicking than giving Dante' Hall the ball.

Hall is expected to play this week and the explosive Pro Bowler adds another dimension to the Chiefs offense. The return game is just that, an extension of the offense that can provide scores and good field position. Derrick Blaylock will get some shots as a kickoff returner if Hall cannot go. The Chargers have responded well in the coverage on kickoffs with Carlos Polk leading the way.

Tim Dwight will be used as the punt returner again this week. He has added an aggressive edge to his game and is fielding punts in traffic and gaining yardage. Ronney Jenkins still is not performing to the high standards he set out last year and could be playing for a job as the offseason looms near.

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