Chiefs

Chiefs-Chargers scouting report

When the Chiefs run

EDGE >> CHARGERS

Jamaal Charles needs just 53 yards to become the franchise’s all-time leading rusher, and the Chiefs need to get him the ball more than the four carries he had in the second half of the game at San Francisco. Rookie De’Anthony Thomas, in his first appearance after missing the first four games with a hamstring strain, provided an added dimension in the 49ers game and could be a weapon against the No. 9 defense against the run.

Chiefs’ top rusher

No.

Yds.

Avg.

TD

Knile Davis

73

327

4.5

3

When the Chiefs pass

EDGE >> CHIEFS

Alex Smith spreads the ball to tight ends and running backs but doesn’t connect downfield much with wide receivers. His longest completion is a 33-yarder to Dwayne Bowe, and none of his eight TD passes have gone to a wide receiver. But the Chargers’ two starting cornerbacks — former Chief Brandon Flowers (groin) and first-round pick Jason Verrett (shoulder) — are injured. The Chargers were riddled for four TD passes by Oakland rookie Derek Carr last week.

Chiefs’ top QB

C

A

Yds.

TD-I

Alex Smith

100

158

1,049

8-4

Chiefs’ top WR

No.

Yds.

Avg.

TD

Dwayne Bowe

14

195

13.9

0

When the Chargers run

EDGE >> CHIEFS

The Chargers rank second in the NFL in time of possession, (34 minutes, 34 seconds), but it’s not because of their running game, which ranks 25th. Starter Ryan Matthews (knee) will miss his fifth straight game, but rookie free agent Branden Oliver has been a revelation. He ran for 114 yards , including a 52-yarder against the Jets and 101 yards last week at Oakland. The Chiefs haven’t allowed a run longer than 24 yards or a rushing TD this season.

Chargers’ top rusher

No.

Yds.

Avg.

TD

Branden Oliver

57

249

4.4

2

When the Chargers pass

EDGE >> CHARGERS

Philip Rivers is an MVP candidate. He has a passer rating of 120.0 or better in an NFL record-five straight games and has thrown multiple TD passes in five straight. He’s the reason the Chargers move the chains as he has converted 53.6 percent of third-down passes. Rivers threw for 621 yards in San Diego’s two victories over the Chiefs last season. TE Antonio Gates has 14 career TD catches vs. the Chiefs, more than against any other team. The Chiefs’ secondary, which is hobbled, could be vulnerable as safety Eric Berry (ankle) will miss his third straight game, nickel back Chris Owens is out with a concussion and corner Sean Smith has been bothered with a groin injury.Outside linebacker Tamba Hali has 10 1/2 sacks of Rivers, more than any other QB, but he’ll have his hands full with 6-9 left tackle King Dunlap.

Chargers’ top QB

C

A

Yds.

TD-I

Philip Rivers

138

199

1,756

15-2

Chargers’ top WR

No.

Yds.

Avg.

TD

Eddie Royal

22

325

14.8

5

Special teams

EDGE >> CHARGERS

Speedster DeAnthony Thomas will return punts for the Chiefs, and he’s a highlight waiting to happen. In last year’s season finale at San Diego, Ryan Succop missed a 41-yard FG with 4 seconds left in regulation in that would have won the regular-season finale played by the team’s backups. Rookie Cairo Santos has yet to attempt a pressure kick, while the Chargers’ Nick Novak is 12 for 12. The Chiefs fell victim to a fake punt in last year’s overtime loss at San Diego, and no doubt the Chargers noticed the 49ers pulled off a successful fake against the Chiefs.

Coaching

EDGE >> CHIEFS

Andy Reid is 13-2 coming off the bye, though he’s lost his last two, both against playoff teams, including a game at Denver last year. Reid is beginning his second tour through the AFC West, and Given two weeks to prepare, Reid should have an edge over San Diego’s second-year coach Mike McCoy.

X-factor

EDGE >> CHARGERS

The Chiefs have lost eight of the last 10 games between the teams, including four in a row and six straight at San Diego, so clearly the Chargers are extremely confident in this series. But the Chiefs could catch the Chargers looking ahead to Thursday’s prime-time visit to Denver.

Bottom line: Chargers 23-20

The Chiefs can turn their season around with a win over the Chargers, who despite an impressive win over Seattle, have not played as tough a schedule as Kansas City. But until the Chiefs prove they can win at San Diego …

Randy Covitz, rcovitz@kcstar.com

137.6

Chiefs rush yards per game

99.0

Chargers rush yards allowed per game

197.4

Chiefs pass yards per game

209.3

Chargers pass yards allowed per game

92.7

Chargers rush yards per game

127.4

Chiefs rush yards allowed per game

285.5

Chargers pass yards per game

214.4

Chiefs pass yards allowed per game

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