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The San Diego Chargers have lost their last two games in Arrowhead Stadium, and they'll be facing a Chiefs team that may have finally woken up.
Want to know how the Kansas City Chiefs won the division in 2010? They weren't an overly impressive team, but they rode their fanbase to a crazy homefield advantage all season. Despite having a losing record on the road, they won 7 of their 8 home games that season.
When this team is good enough to be competitive, which they weren't last season, the homefield advantage thing is huge. It gets to be an even bigger advantage in prime time (which this game isn't) and on Halloween (which, thank goodness, this game isn't) because the fans go even crazier. Dome or no dome, this is the loudest group of fans (even if it's not technically the loudest stadium) in the NFL.
Fans like that, in a stadium like Arrowhead, carry a lot of weight. They can shift momentum. The San Diego Chargers could have a sizeable lead in the second half and one mistake could turn the crowd on and make everything go KC's way for a while. What I'm saying is, mistakes are magnified by the crowd....and the Chargers are a mistake-prone team.
The last time Charles faced the Chargers in Kansas City, he got 100 total yards and a TD on just 12 touches. Why so few carries? Well, because the Chiefs barely had the ball at all in that 21-14 victory over the Chargers. They were too busy returning kickoffs for TDs and punts for near TDs to be bothered to play more than 22 minutes of offense. I really don't miss the 2010 season.
The next time (and the last time) Charles saw the Chargers, he again only got 12 touches (this time for 49 yards). However, this time it was because the Chiefs fell behind early and never were able to come back.
See the pattern? In a close game, Jamaal Charles is very, very dangerous. To neutralize him, the Chargers will need to build an early lead. Otherwise....
Two-Headed Pass Rushing Monster
As if it weren't bad enough that the Chargers had to go up against Tamba Hali (26.5 sacks in his last two season), who has 5 sacks in his last 4 games against San Diego, the Chiefs have done a nice job of grooming Justin Houston to dominate the other side of the offensive line as well. Houston's 4 sacks in 3 games this season should terrify the Chargers' offensive coaching staff.
To make matters worse, starting at Left Tackle is either a UDFA rookie that nobody really trusts anymore or a veteran with questionable work ethic who has been sitting on his couch for the last two months (and nobody really trusts him, either). One of those guys has to stop either Hali or Houston. Jeromey Clary is responsible for stopping the other one.
Maybe the Chargers can just hand the ball off every play and hope Ryan Mathews has this fumbling thing figured out.