Chargers, Chiefs to square off in pivotal AFC West showdown

Chargers, Chiefs to square off in pivotal AFC West showdown

NFL

Chargers, Chiefs to square off in pivotal AFC West showdown

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The Chiefs were just one snap away from defeating the Patriots in the AFC title game and punching their ticket to the Super Bowl last season, but a questionable offside call gave Tom Brady and Co. another chance, and they made the most of it, emerging from Arrowhead Stadium victorious.

Dec 31, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo during warm up before game against Washington Redskins at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

It’s safe to say the Chiefs have had a chip on their shoulder since that moment, and it’s helped motivate them this season. They made some major offseason changes, most of them on the defensive side of the ball, and they’ve worked out well. In is defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, and out was Bob Sutton, whose archaic scheme hurt the team big-time last year. And, most importantly, veteran stud Tyrann Mathieu was brought in at safety, and he’s been the glue holding the back end of their defense together. The Chiefs defense continues to improve with each passing week, and they’re a much different unit than the one on the field this season.

Dec 22, 2019; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) reacts after throwing a touchdown pass against the Chicago Bears during the second half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

The team has been fairly unlucky on the other side of the ball, though, with the offensive shifting guys around all season, due to injuries. Most importantly, it took some time for reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes to get healthy after suffering a dislocated knee, which forced him to miss a few games. The Chiefs have also had a carousel of five running backs, all of which have been injured at some point this season, and the same goes for the offensive line. However, they’re getting healthy now, and it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time, with them riding a ton of momentum and heating up just in time for the playoffs.

Dec 22, 2019; Carson, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Nick Dzubnar (48) walks off the field after losing to the Oakland Raiders at Dignity Health Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

As for the Chargers, well, they’ve been one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL this season, along with the Bears and Browns. The Chargers finished their 2018 campaign with a 12-4 record, the same mark as the Chiefs, who won the AFC West with a tiebreaker. This year has been quite the opposite, though, as the team has regressed on offense, and sporting a 5-10 record — the worst in the division. The Chargers have lacked the spark and passion they played with on defense last year, and we could see some major changes during the offseason, as they prepare to open their new stadium in 2020. Philip Rivers could very well be playing in his final game with the team on Sunday, and don’t expect him to come out victorious — as there’s a reason NFL Betting Odds list Kansas City as a nine-point favorite —  given how well the Chiefs are playing.

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