Preview: San Diego at Kansas City
When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, December 28, 2014
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
All the San Diego Chargers need to do is beat the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday and they will claim the AFC’s final playoff spot. Winning in Kansas City isn’t easy but the Chargers are looking for their third consecutive victorious visit in a contest that is also important for the Chiefs. Kansas City can land the final berth by beating the Chargers and having the Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texans lose.
The health of San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers is an issue as he reportedly has a bulging disk in his back. It didn’t stop Rivers from throwing for 356 yards and four touchdowns while rallying the Chargers to a 38-35 overtime win against the San Francisco 49ers last Saturday. The postseason hopes of the Chiefs may be slim but coach Andy Reid is attempting to keep his team’s focus solely on what happens inside Arrowhead Stadium. “You can’t control any of it,” Reid told reporters. “The one thing you can control is your preparation for his game and how you play on Sunday. So that’s where you put all your energy and don’t worry about the things you can’t control.”
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Chiefs -2.5. O/U: 42.
ABOUT THE CHARGERS (9-6): Rivers has thrown 31 touchdown passes and needs three more to break the franchise career mark of Dan Fouts (254) and is five yards away from his sixth 4,000-yard season. Tight end Antonio Gates continues to climb up the all-time lists: He's 53 yards from becoming the fourth tight end in history to reach 10,000 receiving yards and his next scoring reception will make the ninth player in NFL history with 100 career TD catches. Cornerback Brandon Flowers has a team-best three interceptions and is eager to clinch a playoff berth against K.C., which released him in the offseason after six seasons with the team. Safety Eric Weddle is headed to his third Pro Bowl and has 109 tackles, his third season with triple-digit stops.
ABOUT THE CHIEFS (8-7): Quarterback Alex Smith passed for a season-best 311 yards in last week’s 20-12 loss to Pittsburgh but suffered a lacerated spleen and Chase Daniel will make his second NFL start. Standout rusher Jamaal Charles was selected to his fourth Pro Bowl and is 21 yards from reaching 1,000 rushing yards for the fifth time in his career but played poorly against the Steelers, rushing for 29 yards and losing a key fumble. Outside linebacker Justin Houston, picked to his third Pro Bowl, has an NFL-leading 18 sacks and is two from the club record set by Derrick Thomas (20 in 1990). “We are all pulling for him that he can finish up,” Reid told reporters of Houston’s bid to catch Thomas. “I know that’s not the most important thing for him – he wants to win the game – but at the same time, he sure has done a nice job with it.”
1. Smith passed for 221 yards and a TD when Kansas City won 23-20 in San Diego on Oct. 19.
2. San Diego RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) likely will miss his third straight game.
3. Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe (shoulder) is hopeful of playing against the Chargers.
PREDICTION: Chargers 27, Chiefs 24
Stats and Records
Kansas City Off vs
San Diego Def