The Week Ahead

Trent Green (Getty Images)

The 8-6 San Diego Chargers travel to the not so friendly confines of Arrowhead Stadium to face division foe, the 7-7 Kansas City Chiefs. Game time is 10 AM PST. The Chargers won the first meeting 35-34 in some late game heroics provided by Drew Brees.

In the first meeting between these teams Drew Brees led the Chargers down and hit Reche Caldwell for a touchdown to win the game with :19 seconds to go in the game and a 35-34 victory.

The Chargers scored on their last four possessions to bring them back from a 17-7 halftime deficit.

Key stats from that game

Curtis Conway fumbled twice and the Chargers committed five turnovers on the day.

Conway (8-129) stormed back in the second half with some key receptions and a touchdown rushing the ball on a reverse.

The Chargers defense kept Priest Holmes to just 63 yards rushing and a 2.7 average per carry.

Brees went 28-41 for 319 yards and 2 touchdowns on the day including leading his team to 21 fourth quarter points.

Last week

The Chiefs lost to Denver last week 31-24 at Invesco Field in Denver. Clinton Portis had four touchdowns against them, three rushing and one receiving. Trent Green was 18-42 in the loss but threw for 310 yards and two touchdowns. Priest Holmes ran 18 times for 161 yards before leaving with a hip injury that will keep him out of this week's game.

The Chargers lost to Buffalo 20-13 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo. Travis Henry ran 22 times for 144 yards and two touchdowns including the score that provided the final margin with 1:01 to play. Doug Flutie (3-11, 64 yards) saw his first action of the year replacing Brees (13-24, 148 yards) with 8:23 to go in the game. He led the team to three points to tie the game at 13 but was unable to call upon any other magic in the loss.

The Skinny

The Chiefs will be without the NFL's leading rusher Priest Holmes this weekend. Thus the focus for the Chargers will be on containing Trent Green and doing a good job in coverage. Mike Cloud is expected to start for the injured Holmes, but making matters worse is Tony Richardson, the starting fullback, is also unavailable for the game after being placed on injured reserve, which will make running tough.

Donnie Edward did a solid job in coverage of Tony Gonzalez holding the superstar to just two catches. He will be shadowing Gonzalez again this week.

The Chargers will focus on getting the ball downfield a bit more in order to take pressure off LaDainian Tomlinson. The offensive line has not been as solid as it was earlier in the year allowing nine sacks in the last four games after allowing just eleven over the first ten games. They are also not opening as many holes as teams continue to stack the line. Until Brees and company can alleviate the pressure by making teams that stack the line pay, it will be tough gaining yards in the ground game.

Keys to the Game

1. Pressure. The Chargers did better in getting pressure on Buffalo which forced Drew Bledsoe to throw before he wanted. The result was a solid performance by the secondary that allowed just 11 completions on 33 attempts for 107 yards.

2. Throw deep. As outlined before, throwing deep will take some pressure off the running game as teams will have to keep another man back in coverage for fear of the big play.

3. Penalties. The team should be better in this area considering Coach Marty Schottenheimer preaches the fundamentals. Still they continually hurt themselves in all areas including special teams.

4. Special teams coverage. Dante Hall is explosive. Simple as that. He has had three returns for touchdowns on the season, two on punts, one on a kickoff. He has blazing speed and bursts through any open seams. The Chargers have been better in coverage of late but if they revert back to their early season woes they are in trouble.

5. Respect the Chiefs defense. They still are ranked last in the league yielding 393.6 yards per game but they are very opportunistic. Not to mention they have played better in recent weeks. They have 18 interceptions and 15 fumbles recovered on the year so the motto for the offense is to protect the ball.

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