This has been quite the week for me. Each week this season I have put up a FanPost at the corresponding SBNation community for the Chargers upcoming opponent, offering my "expertise" and answering any questions they have about the team. Up until this week, it was always been very cordial. Somehow, this week at Arrowhead Pride, things spun out of control.
I feel like trying to explain my stance on the Chiefs will help, although it will probably just make things worse. Who cares though? The main reason KC fans seem to really hate me is that I have no fear of this Chiefs team. They think it's pure cockiness. In fact, it's not. As most of you know, I look at the game of football through the eyes of a wannabe scout. I look for mismatches. Let's look back at my previous game previews to see how much my Chargers homerism comes into play:
Week 1 @ Raiders
The Raiders will try to run the ball and get control of the time of possession to keep Philip Rivers and the Chargers' potent offense off of the field. That might move the chains, but JaMarcus Russell will have to make a few plays for them to actually score touchdowns.
Week 2 vs. Ravens
The Ravens will test the Chargers defensive line with their power running game. Joe Flacco is not JaMarcus Russell and he will make the Bolts pay if they cannot get pressure on him.
The Chargers have to make a point to abandon the running game early if it's not working. Falling behind against a team that's this good and this aggressive is just asking for a Philip Rivers injury, and nobody wants to see that. Start hot, take what the defense gives you and don't get stubborn because they have the best run-stopping Nose Tackle in the league.
Week 3 vs. Dolphins
If the Chargers can get a lead and start blitzing, they'll take the Wildcat off the field and force Pennington to throw with pressure in his face. Strange as it might sound, this is exactly the type of game we want to get in.
Philip Rivers may not have all the time in the world, with Joey Porter and Jason Taylor coming after him, but he should be able to find holes in the defense all afternoon and keep the chains moving. Unlike the Colts, who are currently thin at WR and had trouble spreading the Dolphins out, the Chargers will not need to try to force a running game that may not be there.
Week 4 @ Steelers
I came close to saying tie, but I just can't see Parker being effective on Sunday night. Although Pittsburgh ranks 8th in terms of offensive yardage, they rank 25th in terms of offensive points scored per game. Nobody on the team not named Ben Roethlisberger has a rushing TD yet. Santonio Holmes has disappeared since his big game against the Tennessee Titans on opening night. This is a sputtering offense that seems to be heading backwards while the Chargers defense looks to me to be improving. Most importantly, the Chargers' weakness (rush defense) is also the Steelers' weakness (they can't run).
(Written before I realized that Fast Willie Parker wasn't playing, and before Rashard Mendenhall went into "beast mode".)
Week 6 vs. Broncos
Make no mistake about it. Until the Chargers prove they can play better, and until the Broncos prove they can't maintain this level of play, this is Denver's advantage all the way. If the Chargers' fans feel silly praying for a great defensive game, it might be more appropriate to pray for FGs instead of TDs in an offensive shootout.
I know Denver's defense has been historically good for these first 5 weeks, but if the Chargers actually show up before the second half and the running game is at least decent they should be able to at least stay competitive throughout the game. It will become great talent and great scheming (Denver's D) against great talent and very good scheming (Chargers' O) mixed in with desperation.
Week 7 @ Chiefs
This will not be the game where Matt Cassel finds his down-field touch. Quentin Jammer and Kevin Ellison should spend a lot of time double-teaming Dwayne Bowe to keep him in check. I'm hopeful that the Bolts get Cassel to the ground at least a couple of times, which should hopefully turn into a turnover or two. If the Chiefs find a way to consistently grind out long-drives and score TDs against the Chargers, I will be very surprised.
This is a no-brainer. One of the better offenses in the league against one of the worst defenses in the league. Even if the Chargers' D isn't up to the task of shutting down the Chiefs' offense, the Bolts should be able to easily out-pace KC in a shootout.
So what's the final verdict? Outside of not predicting a huge game from Mendenhall (and who did?), I think my previews have been about as right as I could've hoped for. Are my views on the Chiefs slanted because I'm a Chargers fan with a vendetta against the Chiefs (in reality, I've always kindof liked the Chiefs)? Or are the Chiefs fans being overly sensitive to any criticism about their team?