The Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers were on opposite ends of the spectrum when they met in Week 3. Twelve weeks later, they’re playing for first place in the AFC West in Kansas City on Saturday night.
The Chiefs beat the Chargers 24-10 in Los Angeles en route to a 5-0 start during which they looked like the NFL’s best team, but six losses in seven games allowed the rest of the division back in the race. Kansas City righted the ship with a 26-15 victory over Oakland last week, while Los Angeles kept pace atop the division with a 30-13 trouncing of Washington. The Chargers have surged back into the playoff picture by winning four straight and seven of nine following an 0-4 start. To keep that hot streak going, they’ll have to snap a seven-game skid against the Chiefs during which they’ve lost by an average of 11.7 points.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, NFL Network. LINE: Chargers -1. O/U: 46
ABOUT THE CHARGERS (7-6): Philip Rivers has passed for 337 yards per game with eight touchdowns and no interceptions in his last four contests, leading Los Angeles’ resurgent offense. Keenan Allen has been his go-to target during that stretch, catching 39 passes for 547 yards and four scores over the last four weeks, while tight end Hunter Henry has developed into one of Rivers’ top red-zone options. The Chargers’ defense quietly is putting together a great season, ranking second in scoring defense and third against the pass, but the run defense is spotty and was gashed for 189 yards in the first meeting.
ABOUT THE CHIEFS (7-6): After a midseason lull, rookie running back Kareem Hunt got back on track with 116 rushing yards against the Raiders. Quarterback Alex Smith also has rebounded somewhat from a mini-slump, but he has recorded seven touchdown passes and five interceptions over his last five games after throwing for 16 scores with no interceptions in the first eight contests. The defense has been the weakness for the Chiefs, who rank 30th against the run and 28th versus the pass, but they limited Oakland to 268 total yards and forced three turnovers last week.
1. Smith has thrown six touchdown passes and two interceptions while posting a 108.7 rating in his last three games against the Chargers.
2. Rivers has joined Peyton Manning and Drew Brees as the only players in NFL history with 3,500 passing yards in 10 consecutive seasons.
3. Allen is the first Charger with four consecutive 100-yard receiving performances since Wes Chandler in 1982.
PREDICTION: Chiefs 26, Chargers 23