Chiefs scouting report

Chiefs-Chargers scouting report

Updated: 2013-12-29T05:32:33Z

When the Chiefs run

EDGE >> Chiefs

Jamaal Charles is a legitimate MVP candidate who has brought it every game. That includes last week, when he managed to rush for more than 100 yards despite the team’s poor overall performance. Stopping Charles will be San Diego’s No. 1 objective, but it’s easier said than done.

Chiefs’ top rusher No. Yds. Avg. TD
Jamaal Charles2591,2875.012

When the Chiefs pass

EDGE >> Chiefs

The Chiefs had a rough game against the Colts, but they’ll have a little easier time throwing the ball against one of the NFL’s worst pass defenses. Chiefs QB Alex Smith had one of his best games against the Chargers in week 12, so it’s hard to imagine he won’t be able to get it going again. But he won’t have Dwayne Bowe (left) to throw to since Bowe is out because of a concussion.

Chiefs’ top QB C A Yds. TD-I
Alex Smith3085083,31323-7
Chiefs’ top WR No. Yds. Avg. TD
Dwayne Bowe 5767311.87

When the Chargers run

EDGE >> Chargers

The Chiefs fared OK against the run in their first matchup with the Chargers, holding them to 104 yards and an average of 3.9 yards per carry. The edge still goes to the Chargers though, largely because the passing game should open things up on the ground.

Chargers top rusher No. Yds. Avg. TD
Ryan Mathews2611,1114.34

When the Chargers pass

EDGE >> Chargers

Philip Rivers tore the Chiefs up in week 12, when they lost Justin Houston and Tamba Hali to injury and could only watch as he threw for 392 yards and two touchdowns. Well, Hali will miss this game, too, and it’s unclear how much Houston will play. Throw in the secondary’s terrible performance against Indianapolis last week, and it’s hard to see the Chiefs shutting down Rivers.

Chargers’ top QB C A Yds. TD-I
Philip Rivers3565114,24929-10
Chargers’ top WR No. Yds. Avg. TD
Keenan Allen6695714.58

Special teams

EDGE >> Chiefs

Under Dave Toub, the Chiefs boast some of the most dangerous special teams in professional football. Kicker Nick Novak and punter Mike Scifres may rival the Chiefs’ duo of Dustin Colquitt and Ryan Succop (right), the Chiefs have the edge on kick and punt returns, where they’ve taken back four for scores compared with San Diego’s zero.

Coaching

EDGE >> Chargers

This has little to do with Andy Reid. San Diego coach Mike McCoy and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt befuddled Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton’s defense the first time around. It will be interesting to see how the Chiefs fare in the rematch, but it will be up to Sutton to prove he can stop Rivers and one of league’s best young receivers in Keenan Allen this time.

X-factor

EDGE >> Chargers

This one is simple. While the Chiefs are in the playoffs win or lose Sunday, the Chargers need a win — and losses by Baltimore and Miami — to qualify for the postseason. That’s plenty of motivation for San Diego.

Bottom line: Chargers 31-20

The Chiefs were embarrassed last week, so it would be a surprise if they pulled another “no show.” But it’s unlikely they’ll be able to match the Chargers’ effort and intensity, especially with nothing on the line. Look for this one to be close early before the Chargers pull away late.

Terez A Paylor, tpaylor@kcstar.com

Deal Saver Subscribe today!

Comments

The Kansas City Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Kansas City Star uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here