Chargers vs. Chiefs Preview: Special Teams

If the Chiefs are going to pull off an upset of the San Diego Chargers on Monday night, it's going to take a strong effort from all three phases of the game. But a game-changing play on special teams could go a long way towards making a victory possible.

Just last season, we saw firsthand the kind of impact that can be made on special teams. In the Chiefs' upset win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jamaal Charles set the tone right off the bat by returning the game's opening kickoff for a touchdown.

The kind of big plays the Chiefs will need aren't just limited to kick returns, though. In last year's season opener, the Chiefs blocked a Baltimore punt and recovered it for a touchdown, allowing them to keep the score close while the offense struggled to move the ball.

On the other side of the coin, we all remember the Chiefs surrendering two kickoff return touchdowns to Cleveland last year. It's always great to cash in a big play on special teams, but not allowing the other team to have one can be just as important.

Here's a look at the Chiefs' key special teams players.

Ryan Succop: The second-year kicker didn't convert a kick over 50 yards during the preseason, though it's worth noting that two of his three attempts from that range bounced off the goal post. In other words, he only missed by inches. Still, now that the games count, there won't be any excuses. If the Chiefs get within range, they can't afford to take points off the board with missed field goals.

Dustin Colquitt: Chargers' punter Mike Scifres has been one of the best in the league for several seasons, but Colquitt has become every bit his equal. A year ago, Scifres' average distance was just a tenth of a yard longer than Colquitt's, and their net averages were exactly same. However, in terms of dropping the ball inside the 20 yard line, Colquitt nearly doubled Scifres' total, 41 to 23. That's no small detail, because the Chiefs' defense will need every yard of field position that Colquitt can provide them with.

Javier Arenas/Dexter McCluster: It goes without saying that a kick return touchdown would be huge for the Chiefs. But good field position throughout the game will be just as critical. If the offense can routinely start their drives out near the 35 yard line or better, it won't just give them a shorter field to work with, it will allow them to pin the Chargers farther back if the drive stalls.

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