Week 7 preview: Chiefs at Chargers

It’s my first Chiefs post of the year, which makes me kind of ashamed of myself. Nonetheless, the Chiefs take on the Chargers today in an AFC West showdown as they try to rebound from a tough loss two weeks ago against San Francisco.

Andy Reid has a phenomenal record coming out of bye weeks (13-2), but the Chargers are red hot, riding a five-game win streak. Phillip Rivers has an arsenal of receivers to throw to, and is looking really good early in the season. They nearly lost to the Raiders last week, but that’s no indication of how they will play this week.

The Chiefs had a really disappointing game against the 49ers, and just weren’t able to get anything going. Andy Reid was criticized yet again for his play-calling, and Alex Smith didn’t look the franchise quarterback he’s supposed to be. Safe to say, it was an all-around crap show from the Chiefs.

Jamaal Charles will look to get the running game going this week against the Chargers, after being pretty irrelevant against the 49ers. Charles is still the staple of the offense, but can only be effective as Andy Reid wants him to be. As for Alex Smith, today’s game should be promising. Derek Carr looked like a Pro Bowl quarterback last week against the Chargers secondary, and hopefully Alex Smith can do the same. As for the Chiefs defense, their secondary is going to need to hold against the high-powered offense.

KEYS TO SUCCESS:

1. Jamaal Charles: Andy Reid hasn’t utilized Charles to the fullest potential, and it’s what I feared when the Chiefs hired Reid last year. He’s known to be a pass heavy coach, as evidenced in his time with Philadelphia. Reid seems to abandon the run game in times that he shouldn’t, and it usually ends up costing the Chiefs. Charles will need to run all over San Diego today if the Chiefs want to win.

2. The Secondary: Quarterbacks have had a hay-day with this Chiefs defense this year, and it starts with the secondary. Losing both Brandon Carr and Brandon Flowers have left the Chiefs vulnerable, and Eric Berry being injured doesn’t help. The starters in the secondary are Abdullah, Cooper, and a few other guys I honestly can’t name. These rookies are going to need to step it up a notch against Rivers this week.

3. Special Teams: An often under-looked aspect of the game, the Chiefs aren’t having such  good year on special teams. Dustin Colquitt is still doing what he does best, but the return teams really aren’t getting the job done. This is one area that can add a spark of life and energy to a team, and the Chiefs need that this week. Dave Toub was praised for his brilliance last year, but it hasn’t yet transferred over to this year. He needs it to.

Of course, the Chiefs will need to firing on all cylinders today, but these three components will need to be functioning exceptionally well. Charles will need to lead the charge on offense, and set the tempo early for the Chiefs. The secondary is going to make or break the defense, and the special teams will be the x-factor in a must-win game today.

PREDICTION:

Like I said earlier, Andy Reid teams are really good coming out of the bye week, and I think that trend will continue this week. Charles is going to run for 140 yards with two touchdowns, while Alex Smith will take care of the ball and nab one touchdown of his own.

Final Score: Chiefs 27, Chargers 17

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