The Chargers are back in action Thursday night when they host the Kansas City Chiefs for a chance to even their record at 4-4. Here are five things to watch for that could dictate the outcome.
1. Hassle Cassel- Matt Cassel was pulled from the starting lineup prior to last Sunday’s game vs. Oakland in favor of Brady Quinn. The only reason he is back under center for the Chiefs is due to a head injury suffered by Quinn against the Raiders. Understandably, Cassel’s confidence could be a bit shaky, especially if he starts getting knocked around and turning the ball over. The Chargers dominated him in their last meeting on September 30, recording three interceptions and two sacks. Getting the same type of results against him this time around will be important.
2. Stop Charles – It’s a matchup of strength vs. strength as the Chiefs’ third-ranked rushing offense takes on the Chargers’ second-ranked rushing defense. The key cog in Kansas City’s ground game is running back Jamaal Charles, who is averaging 5.0 yards per carry. Charles was the lone bright spot in the last game between these teams, rushing for 92 yards. The Bolts need to make a concerted effort to limit his impact, forcing the ball into Cassel’s hands.
3. Create Turnovers – In San Diego’s 37-20 victory over the Chiefs earlier this season, the Chargers forced six turnovers. In their last three games, the Bolts lost the turnover battle each time. But the team has improved in committing turnovers, only coughing the ball up once last game in nasty weather conditions. Let’s see if San Diego has truly turned the corner and gets the same results as the last time these two teams played.
4. Wide Receivers Stepping Up – The Bolts wide receiver situation is murky right now.
5. Home Field Advantage – Simply put, the Chargers play better when the fans are behind them. Many of the players spoke this week about the impact it has on them when Qualcomm is rocking. Getting off to a fast start and keeping the fans in the game would be a huge benefit for the Bolts to keep up their momentum from start to finish.