This Time Chiefs Are Ready for Chargers

In week three of the NFL season the Kansas City Chiefs had the opportunity to make a statement against the Broncos in Denver. After winning back to back games to start the season, Kansas City entered their contest with their AFC combatants with a 2-0 record while Denver stood 1-1.

If Kansas City had won that game, then they would have been able to put some distance between themselves and Denver. But that didn't happen. The loss in the Mile High City was not unexpected when you consider the fact that most die-hard Chief fans didn't really think Kansas City was going to win in Denver. Instead most hoped they'd put up a good showing,

Now the Chiefs after two straight solid wins face a San Diego Chargers team that is trying to correct their season long short comings. They've already lost as many games this season as they did a year ago when they went 12-4 and captured the AFC West title. The Chargers stand 3-4 and are in desperate straights if they lose their fifth game to the Chiefs this Sunday. Even if that happens, Kansas City will hold a half-game edge to maintain second place in the division. But a win by Kansas City puts even more distance between last year's division champs and the Chiefs.

In Denver the Chiefs had the same opportunity that faces them this weekend. Over the last two weeks the Kansas City Chiefs offense and defense has come alive. In fact, they've started to get their swagger back. That could be disastrous for the Chargers who are hoping the home cooking will indeed be the missing ingredient that puts them back into contention in the division. The problem with that is the fact San Diego has already lost two home games on the season. In each loss they held the lead in the fourth quarter against the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers.

One of the down sides for the Chargers has been their inability to play four quarters of football. The Chiefs have had that problem as well but they seem to have corrected that flaw in their game. Last week San Diego was inept offensively for two plus quarters against the Philadelphia Eagles on the road. Then they woke up. Granted they lost the game on a blocked punt but any offense in the first half and that touchdown would have made no significance in the game. But it did and the Chargers to a man have only themselves to blame.

The Chiefs on the other hand understand full well that the Chargers are vulnerable to another loss at home. Even further they know that Kansas City is no longer the patsy defensively they were last year when San Diego swept both AFC West contests. Granted this defense has lots of room to improve. But on the other hand it has the ability to stop the run and recently put pressure on the quarterback better now than at any point in the last three seasons.

Defensive end Jared Allen appears to be a player that has no intentions of suffering from any Sophomore Blues that generally plague players who have outstanding rookie years. Veteran defensive ends Eric Hicks and Carlos Hall have been much better at making opposing quarterbacks throw the ball before their targets are open. When you mount the addition of cornerback Eric Warfield back into the starting lineup that takes the heat off the linebackers who will be freer to run after the ball then sit back in zones. That also allows defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham to play more man to man coverages. For the first time this season, Surtain and Warfield will be able to play more press coverages on opposing receivers. That means the safeties can concentrate more on Chargers tight end Antonio Gates and help supporting the run.

Still those are great plans but the Chargers have the NFL's best offensive player in All-World running back LaDainian Tomlinson. The Chargers need to ride that horse all game long. However teams are keying on him and that has caused him to be very inconsistent game in game out. That's something that he's not used to dealing with but it's a reality that playmakers often have to find ways to adjust so the lack of production becomes an after thought not a trend. If it becomes a trend the Chargers offense is finished as teams will continue to stack eight men up front.

But entering this contest Kansas City knows one of two things will happen Sunday. Either Tomlinson will continue to struggle or he'll have a Clinton Portis type of performance against the Chiefs. The best part of the Chiefs defense is the fact that they do an incredible job stopping the run. However if John Browning, who is suffering from a knee injury does not play, Tomlinson's efforts are likely to produce titanic amounts of yards.

Browning is one of those players that doesn't get the ink he deserves. He's quietly had an outstanding career in a Chiefs uniform. With the loss of Ryan Sims and more than likely Browning against the Chargers, Junior Siavii and Jimmy Wilkerson will have to play the games of their careers if Browning does not suit up Sunday. At least the Chiefs have a solid middle man like Lional Dalton but he's only as effective as the man lining up next to him. That's why Browning is so valuable to this defense. Still Wilkerson has some talent and at times has been a productive interior lineman. But that can't be said for Siavii. The Chiefs are still waiting to cash the dividends that they've invested in the former Pac-10 standout.

Siavii has something that the Chiefs desperately need; an interior lineman that can get into a team opposing backfield. Nothing more is critical for a defense than getting that push up the middle. That's why this game will be very significant for Siavii. The Chargers offensive line is not as talented as some in the past. It's even weaker with the absence of starting center Nick Hardwick who has not practiced all week. Though he's not the most gifted of centers he's the heart and soul of their offensive line. If he does not play, the Chiefs should be able to get that push up the middle and the defensive ends Jared Allen, Eric Hicks and Carlos Hall should be able to get to Chargers quarterback Drew Brees.

If all that happens, the Chiefs should be able to score a huge victory in San Diego. If not, the team; especially the defense would not have learned anything from their debacle in Denver in week three. And that would signal that the defense has not come as far as it believes it has to this point in the season. Top Stories