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San Diego Chargers: The last shot

Joshua Biers
SENIOR ANALYST
Modified 23 Nov 2013, 10:28 IST
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Antonio Gates (85) is going to need a big game to keep the San Diego Chargers’ playoff hopes alive.

The San Diego Chargers are now 4-6 after dropping another game to a team chasing the last wild card berth, putting their season on life support heading into a week 12 match-up against the Kansas City Chiefs. Yeah, the Chiefs might not have an explosive offense, but that defense, man that defense is a terror and the Chargers shuffling offensive line could be in for a long day. It will be imperative forthe patchwork offensive line to establish the line of scrimmage for runs and passes or else Derrick Johnson, Tambi Hali, Justin Houston, and Dontari Poe will have a field day. Let’s get into the matchups.

The Chargers’ O-Line has been decimated by injuries

Chargers Offensive Line vs Chiefs Front 7

D.J. Fluker, Johnnie Troutman, and the rest of the Chargers pathwork offensive line will have their work cut out for them this week. Amid losses of King Dunlap and Nick Hardwick the past couple weeks, the line has still performed very well, both keeping Philip Rivers clean and opening up holes for Ryan Mathews and the rest of the Chargers running backs. However, they have not faced a front 7 this physically dominant and the Chiefs, last week against the Broncos notwithstanding, have abused opponents lines to demoralizing standards. They are second in the league in sacks and have had multiple games with over five. If the Chargers can keep the two ace pass rushers, Hali and Houston, off Philip, they should be able to run the ball with some good results on the 20th ranked rush defense in the league. That is, if they can keep the game close enough for running the ball to be an option.

Chargers Run Defense vs Chiefs Rush Offense

For the boring Chiefs offense, their run game is what they hang their hat on and the run game is what the Chargers struggle with. I mean, last week they let a team that ran for 2 yards the previous week rush for 105 yards. Last week, the Chargers run defense continually had breakdowns as Dolphins’ ball carriers got into the secondary seemingly untouched whenever they decided to run the ball. I see the Chargers fairing even worse this week against a team that you won’t ever catch rushing for 2 yards against any team. I think the Chargers will have to drop safety Eric Weddle into the box and hope the extra defender will be able to traverse the blocking and find Jamaal Charles for minimal gains. However, it will shock me if this is enough to slow down the Chiefs ground and pound attack.

Coaching

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Mike McCoy, you need a big game this week my friend. I think he needs to bring the kitchen sink this game, pull out all the stops in order to give his team the best chance to win. Remember the fake punt to start the game against the Broncos, more calculated risks like that will need to be taken. I would also like to see him kick traditional thinking to the side and go for a fourth down or two instead of kicking a field goal. This does not mean every time, but it seems like he never weighs the options or even considers going for the TD or fourth down. This is the week for that kind of thinking because if the
Chargers lose, it’s sianara playoffs, so why not go down fighting.

As you may be able to tell, I don’t believe in the Chargers very much this week, especially after they lost to a team that is taking part in a severe media circus. The Chargers have found different ways to lose multiple games this year, but I don’t think this game will be one of those days. I see the Chiefs dominating a physically beat down team that just doesn’t have the talent to make up for their losses in personnel. Chiefs cover the spread (-5.5) and take a 10 point win to knock the Chargers out of realistic playoff contention.

Published 23 Nov 2013, 10:27 IST
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