AFC West Couterpart Head into Playoffs With Steam

The Chiefs will be sitting home watching the playoffs for the second time in three years. The Chiefs in recent years have become used to sitting home in January, prior to last year the only time Kansas City made the playoffs was in 1997 when they hosted Denver in the Divisional round.

Today's game will feature the St. Louis Rams traveling to the great Northwest to play division rival Seattle. The Rams swept the Seahawks in the regular season 23-12 in St. Louis and 33-27 in overtime at Seattle. St. Louis is just 2-6 on the road this season, while the Seahawks are 5-3 at home.

The one key injury in today's game is Seattle's defensive end Grant Winstrom, who is doubtful with a knee injury. Winstrom will be the key for the Seattle to stopping the running game but in recent weeks the Rams have been relying heavily on the pass. On the Rams injury front third string running back Arlen Harris, who is doubtful with a hamstring injury.

"I know the home team has an advantage and it's going to be tough," said Quarterback Marc Bulger, who was named the Rams' MVP by his teammates. "But I think we're playing well enough to beat them."

Despite the poor performance this season by the Seahawks at home against the Rams, Mike Holmgren should have his team ready for today. Holmgren has been under fire this season, and could be fired if his team does not pull out the win.

Prediction: Seattle 27-St. Louis 14

Today's second game will pit the New York Jets traveling across the country to play the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers have everything going for them in this game, their first division title since 1994 and a home game.

Many Chiefs have fans could very well find themselves cheering for San Diego today with their hearts still tied to Marty Schottenheimer. Schottenheimer, who led two teams on the verge of a Super Bowl berth with Kansas City and Cleveland, could become today only the third coach in NFL history to lead three different tams to victories in the playoffs. But to get back to the Championship game, he would however have to do it on the road playing either at New England or Pittsburgh depending on what Indianapolis does Sunday against Denver.

The Chargers and Jets do have some history this season when New York burned San Diego at home the first game of the season back in September, 34-28. Drew Brees threw for just 146 yards in the game and was only 8 of 19 passing. Jets running back Curtis Martin rushed for 119 yards and two touchdowns in the opening season win.

"My approach is, you can't hide from it," said Schottenheimer, who is still seeking his first trip to the Super Bowl as a head coach. "It is what it is. We have not been nearly as effective in the playoffs as I would like to have been, but there again, there's no re-do's. And we lost some tough ones, some close ones."

Jets injury news, defensive end John Abraham was expected to play today, but his status was put to doubtful. Abraham has missed the month of the season with a knee injury, and is a free agent after the year.

Prediction: San Diego 31-NY Jets 3


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