Week 12 Preview: Chargers @ Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Coming off a 27-17 loss to the Denver Broncos, the Chiefs (9-1) face adversity for the first time this season.

Are they focused on Sunday’s opponent, the San Diego Chargers (4-6), or playing a mental game of “What ifs” from Week 11? Or even worse, are the Chiefs looking ahead to Week 13’s rematch against Denver?

September 30, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (25) scores a touchdown as San Diego Chargers strong safety Atari Bigby (26) attempts the tackle in the second quarter at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

September 30, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (25) scores a touchdown as San Diego Chargers strong safety Atari Bigby (26) attempts the tackle in the second quarter at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Remove the latter two scenarios. Given the mood in the locker room the past week, the Chiefs are focused on Sunday.

“The idea is to move on, that game is over,” tight end Sean McGrath said earlier in the week when asked about a potential hangover from Week 11. “We’re focused on San Diego right now and we learned from our mistakes.”

Inside linebacker Akeem Jordan on Friday echoed McGrath’s thoughts.

“Our focus is week-to-week,” Jordan said. “That game is in the past now and we focus on the next game.”

Defensive lineman Allen Bailey, who figures to be heavily involved Sunday with starting defensive end Mike DeVito (knee) ruled out, had virtually the same response.

“It’s the same mindset that we have every week,” Bailey said Friday. “It’s the same focus. We try to be 1-0 each week, so I don’t think it’s a problem.”

It’s a good thing the players aren’t overlooking Week 12’s opponent because Sunday won’t be easy.

Despite a 4-6 record and a three-game losing streak, the Chargers are a dangerous team. Two of San Diego’s last three losses are by a combined 10 points and 18 total points of the three defeats.

“They’re a good team, explosive players on both sides of the ball and special teams,” Jordan said. “We just got to be focused and play as good as we can.”

Making the Chargers even more treacherous is they’re in a must-win situation on Sunday.

Lose and all hopes for the playoffs are dashed.

A win against the Chiefs puts them back in the playoff chase when considering four of San Diego’s final five games are at Qualcomm Stadium.

“We’ve got a heck of a challenge on our hands and the fact that it’s at their place even adds to that,” Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said during Wednesday’s media conference call. “We started 0-2 in the division, we’ve dug ourselves a hole, so we know what this game means – I know it means a lot for both teams – we’ve got to come play our best this weekend.”

Meanwhile, Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Friday the players had a good week of practice in preparation for the Chargers.

And after two straight road games, it will be good for the Chiefs to play in front of a friendly crowd.

“The guys worked very hard this week and got good work in,” Reid said. “Again, we look forward to having our fans in Arrowhead Stadium. They’ll welcome the Chargers in.”

Tale of the tape

Offense

• The Chiefs rank 11th in rushing (121.5 yards per game) and 26th in passing (198.5 yards per game).
• The Chargers are tied for 16th in rushing (111.5 yards per game) and rank fourth in passing (287.9 yards per game).

Defense

• The Chiefs are tied for 20th against the run (117.1 yards allowed per game) and rank ninth against the pass (219.8 yards allowed per game).
• The Chargers rank 16th against the run (113.5 yards allowed per game) and 27th against the pass (275.5 yards allowed per game).

The last time

The Chargers swept the series in 2012, outscoring the Chiefs 68-33.

Sunday’s matchup signals the 107th meeting between the two AFC West divisional foes. The only team the Chiefs have played more than the Chargers is the Oakland Raiders (108 games).

The Chargers have a slight edge in the all-time series at 53-52-1, but have won eight of the last 10 games against the Chiefs.

The Chiefs hold a 23-18 all-time advantage in games played at Arrowhead Stadium.

Did you know?

The Denver Broncos and Chiefs are tied at 9-1 in the AFC West. If both teams win Sunday, it would mark the first time since 1948 that two teams in the same division won 10 of their first 11 games.

Chiefs to honor military

The Chiefs will honor veterans and active duty members of the U.S. armed forces Sunday as part of the NFL’s “Salute to Service” initiative. The event is presented by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, which is headquartered in Kansas City.

Pregame festivities will include a 60-yard American flag held by 110 representatives of each military branch while the Joint Forces Honor Guard will present the colors.

Maj. Gen. Paul Funk, commander of the 1st Infantry Division (Big Red One), Fort Riley, Kan., will lead the stadium during the pregame drum ceremony.

The 1st Infantry Division Band is scheduled to perform at halftime.

Hall returns

With wide receiver Kyle Williams placed on injured reserve, the Chiefs brought back a familiar face.

The team announced on Friday the signing of wide receiver Chad Hall, who was released last week to make room for Williams.

Hall said he was excited to be back with the team, but he continues to take nothing for granted given his journey in the NFL with three different teams.

“This is my fifth time being cut, so each time it feels different,” Hall said. “But at that the same time, it’s a pretty good feeling.”

Hall and Chiefs coach Andy Reid have history together, as the two were together in Philadelphia and now in Kansas City.

Quotable

Chiefs safety Kendrick Lewis when asked if he believed in trap games:

“There are no such things as trap games,” Lewis said.

Chiefs offensive lineman Donald Stephenson on what he expects at Arrowhead Stadium:

“We’re coming off of a loss,” Stephenson said. “So I’m pretty sure fans are probably ready to get a win again.”

Chiefs left guard Jeff Allen on if he was aware he’s currently second overall in Pro Bowl voting at his position:

“No, I really could care less about that right now,” Allen said. “I’m really focused on San Diego and getting this win, getting this bitter taste out of my mouth.”

Prediction

The Chiefs enter Sunday without starting defensive end Mike DeVito (knee, out) and the status of the other starting defensive end, Tyson Jackson (abdomen, questionable), remains to be seen.

The troubles don’t stop there when considering starting right tackle Eric Fisher (shoulder) is listed as doubtful and starting right guard Jon Asamoah (shoulder) is listed as questionable.

Expect the Chiefs to utilize a defensive line rotation among Allen Bailey, Mike Catapano and recently signed Kyle Love. On the offensive line, the Chiefs could turn to either Donald Stephenson or Geoff Schwarz.

As for the game, this is a perilous spot for the Chiefs.

But despite the injuries on both sides of the ball, the good news is the Chiefs hold a 23-18 edge in the all-time series against their AFC West divisional rival at Arrowhead Stadium.

A silent pass rush, now without a sack in two straight games, may not have an easy time against the quick release of Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. But look for the crowd noise to play a role throughout the contest.

The Chiefs have won ugly the entire season, while the Chargers have lost ugly games.

Look for that formula with both teams to hold true Sunday, as the Chiefs get back on track before a certain rematch in Week 13.

Outcome: Chiefs 20, Chargers 17

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Friday’s official NFL Injury Report, as released by the league:

San Diego Chargers

Out: T King Dunlap (neck)
Doubtful: LB Jarret Johnson (hand)
Questionable: CB Johnny Patrick (concussion), WR Eddie Royal (toe)
Probable: S Jahleel Addae (ankle), WR Keenan Allen (knee), WR Vincent Brown (shoulder), DE Lawrence Guy (toe), C Nick Hardwick (neck), RB Ryan Mathews (hamstring), LB Manti Te’o (elbow)

Probable:

Practice Report

Did not practice

Wednesday: T King Dunlap (neck), LB Jarret Johnson (hand), CB Johnny Patrick (concussion), WR Eddie Royal (toe)
Thursday: T King Dunlap (neck), LB Jarret Johnson (hand), CB Johnny Patrick (concussion), WR Eddie Royal (toe)
Friday: T King Dunlap (neck), LB Jarret Johnson (hand), WR Eddie Royal (toe)

Limited participation

Wednesday: WR Vincent Brown (shoulder)
Thursday: WR Vincent Brown (shoulder), C Nick Hardwick (neck)

Full participation

Wednesday: S Jahleel Addae (ankle), WR Keenan Allen (knee), DE Lawrence Guy (toe), C Nick Hardwick (neck), RB Ryan Mathews (hamstring), LB Manti Te’o (elbow)
Thursday: S Jahleel Addae (ankle), WR Keenan Allen (knee), DE Lawrence Guy (toe), RB Ryan Mathews (hamstring), LB Manti Te’o (elbow)
Friday: S Jahleel Addae (ankle), WR Keenan Allen (knee), WR Vincent Brown (shoulder), DE Lawrence Guy (toe), C Nick Hardwick (neck), RB Ryan Mathews (hamstring), CB Johnny Patrick (concussion), LB Manti Te’o (elbow)

Kansas City Chiefs

Out: DE Mike DeVito (knee)
Doubtful: RT Eric Fisher (shoulder)
Questionable: G Jon Asamoah (shoulder), DE Tyson Jackson (abdomen)
Probable: DE Mike Catapano (ankle), DB Sanders Commings (shoulder), TE Anthony Fasano (knee, ankle), LB Derrick Johnson (wrist), FB Anthony Sherman (knee)

Practice Report

Did not practice

Wednesday: DE Mike DeVito (knee), RT Eric Fisher (shoulder), DE Tyson Jackson (abdomen)
Thursday: G Jon Asamoah (shoulder), DE Mike Devito (knee), T Eric Fisher (shoulder), DE Tyson Jackson (abdomen)
Friday: DE Mike DeVito (knee), RT Eric Fisher (shoulder)

Limited participation

Wednesday: G Jon Asamoah (shoulder)
Friday: G Jon Asamoah (shoulder), DE Tyson Jackson (abdomen)

Full participation

Wednesday: DL Mike Catapano (ankle), DB Sanders Commings (shoulder), TE Anthony Fasano (knee, ankle), LB Derrick Johnson (wrist), FB Anthony Sherman (knee)
Thursday: DE Mike Catapano (ankle), S Sanders Commings (shoulder), TE Anthony Fasano (knee, ankle), LB Derrick Johnson (wrist), RB Anthony Sherman (knee)
Friday: DE Mike Catapano (ankle), DB Sanders Commings (shoulder), TE Anthony Fasano (knee, ankle), LB Derrick Johnson (wrist), FB Anthony Sherman (knee)

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