Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday Uncertainty

With the Chiefs, Ravens and Jets all winning last weekend, Charger fans must confront the fateful possibility that that San Diego could win out after stomping on division leading Kansas City and still not make the playoffs. Matt Cassel's triumphant return, displaying no ill effects from his appendectomy in beating the Rams in St. Louis should make San Diego nervous. With the Chargers' final games coming against the Bengals and Broncos, games the Chargers should win if they continue to play anywhere near the level they have the last two weeks, in a sense all the drama of this season has shifted to the Chiefs.

Kansas City has two home games remaining against the Titans and the Raiders. Both opponents are coming off fairly strong wins last week and are nursing slim playoff hopes. The Chiefs will be favored in both games, but I think there is a strong possibility they will drop one, if not both. A statistical analysis put out through AP gave the Chiefs an 86% chance of winning the division and the Chargers an 11% chance. Perhaps I'm a bit of a homer, but I'd put the odds at closer to 50-50 with a slight edge going to San Diego.

While the Chiefs are no longer horrible, the Chargers exposed some serious flaws in this team (with or without Cassel). The Kansas City defense is not great and its offensive line isn't going to run over anyone. If an opponent can contain the speed of Jamaal Charles and not make any big mistakes, Kansas City will be incapable of running away with, or dominating any game. This is why both the Titans and Raiders figure to be in their respective games down to the wire in Kansas City the next two weeks. I will be surprised if this Chiefs team can hold it together against the pressure for two games. They definitely fell apart in San Diego. Coming back strongly last week against St. Louis showed some fight and confidence, but the Rams are also a young team struggling with confidence issues and a rookie quarterback in Sam Bradford who admittedly had a bad game.

So in the next to weeks, perhaps Charger fans should pay more attention to what's going on in Kansas City than in Cincinnati or Denver. Fingers remain crossed.

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