Chiefs Defensive Preview: Los Angeles Chargers

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Nate looks at how the Kansas City Chiefs defense must attack the Los Angeles Chargers’ offense.

The regular season is wrapping up this week. The Chiefs take on the Los Angeles Chargers for the second time this season, with hopes of taking a perfect 6-0 divisional record and potentially the second seed for the AFC. How will they pull off a win? We break that all down here.

Scouting Report

Statistically speaking, the Chargers look impressive on paper. They are 10th in total yards at 367.5 yards per game, averaging 6.0 yards per play. That ranks 5th in football. Los Angeles is 6th in passing yards per game, at 277.9 yards per game. Where they really struggle is at running the football, where they rank 27th at 89.7 yards per game. They average 3.9 yards per carry, 22nd in the league.

Personnel wise, they are the same team. Nobody on offense has changed. Phillip Rivers is still the quarterback, Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler are the running backs, and Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Hunter Henry are the receivers. The offensive line sucks. We all know this, so for the Chiefs preparation this week, they won’t need to watch too many new players.

Chargers Run Game

(This review is focused on the week 11 matchup against the Chiefs.)

In week 11, the Chargers mainly ran either Lead or Draw against us. They tried running at our linebackers primarily, seeing if they could contain and stack their blockers. The running backs are asked to plant their foot and run downhill. As long as our gap discipline is fine, we should be able to stop their running game.

Something that is a staple of the Chargers’ offense is jetting a receiver to one side, then running zone or counter on the backside. The goal is to get the linebackers to shift to the motion, then run at that available gap. Again, if the gap discipline is good, we should be able to stop it.

Chargers Pass Game

The Chargers mainly run screens in their offense, due to their poor blocking up

front. They can’t trust their lineman to block a four-man rush consistently, so the goal is to get their running backs in space and let them work.

I expect Steve Spagnuolo to turn to more deep zone, to one deal with these receivers, but also to keep everything in front of the defense. They won’t need to blitz much on Sunday, because they can win with a four-man rush. Eye discipline is key this week.

Spagnuolo sent a lot of Cover 2 Invert at the Chargers, to deal with some of these mesh and level concepts the Chargers run. This allows Tyrann Mathieu to be closer to the box, and make plays as a Robber in the middle of the field. Expect some more of that this week.

Conclusion

This article is short, because we know the Chargers. They’ve ran the same thing for 15 years now, and they don’t change. They may bring out a wrinkle or two, but they shouldn’t be able to move the ball against us.

My prediction is that the Chargers come out early and try to play hard for Phillip Rivers, but once adversity hits and he throws a pick or two, they give up. Then, the Chiefs rushers are allowed to tee off and hit Rivers all day, forcing more errors. Phillip Rivers is benched in the 4th quarter, and the defense gets some rest, in order to prepare for the Wild Card game the next Saturday, most likely. Give me Chiefs, 34-7.

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Paul
Paul

They need to come out score some points show that they are still in rhythm then go to the bench and get ready for the playoffs regardless of the score

tadream0
tadream0

First time they played, if I remember correctly, Clark was still getting healthy and played against the rookie tackle. Did ok, but the rookie played ok, or at least was made to look ok. The way FrankieC has played these past few games, he could really go off this game, or at least have a strong first half before he sits. In fact, with the Charge-less having a banged up offensive line and our defensive line rounding into form, we could get more sacks than we did against Flack-jacket and the Bonkers.

upamtn

Chiefs have been improving week by week since then, while the Chargers have sunk into NFL oblivion … Rivers may lead the Bolts to a late “garbage time” score, but I think KC defense shines (regardless of offense) … at least until such time as Reid feels the game is “in hand” and pulls starters (should KC have a nice lead late in the game)