Hello once again, Addicts. Welcome to the final regular season edition of Five Keys to Victory. Today the Kansas City Chiefs face off against division rival San Diego Chargers in what amounts to a preseason game for the Chiefs. I say that because the Chiefs are the only team in the league firmly locked into their playoff seeding. No matter what they do in today’s game and no matter what any other team does, the Chiefs will enter the playoffs next weekend as the #5 seed in the AFC. This effectively means the Chiefs have nothing to play for. That’s why head coach Andy Reid has decided to sit some of his starters.
But for these San Diego Chargers, it’s quite a different scenario.
Where the Chiefs have nothing to play for, the Chargers have everything to play for.
I don’t want to be a hater here, but I don’t want the Chargers in the post season.
Some people say that if the Chiefs aren’t playing they’ll root for an AFC West team. In my football universe and way of thinking, I’ll root for anyone who is playing against an AFC West team, that doesn’t rhyme with Ansas Ity Hiefs. It’s just the way I was raised as a football fan. My level of dislike for teams in the NFL goes like this, in this order, the Denver Broncos (because, hey, they’re the Donkeys), the Oakland Raiders (because it’s the Garbage Nation), the Chargers (Cry me a Rivers anyone?), and the non-AFC West team, the New England Patriots because they’re always good no matter what.
That all being said, the Broncos are in the playoffs and there’s nothing the Chiefs can do about that. The Raiders were terrible this year and didn’t even come close, so there’s that. Finally, the Chargers have a chance but the Chiefs can end that dream with a solid victory in San Diego.
Does anybody remember when the Chargers came into Arrowhead and embarrassed the Chiefs in their own house? Remember when they hung 41 on the so-called “elite Chiefs defense?” They were the first team to hang more than 27 on the Chiefs all season and they did it in the middle of the Sea of Red. It was disgusting.
Remember when the Chiefs got embarrassed again last week by the team they’ll likely face next week in the first round of the playoffs?
The Chiefs need a win this week for a multitude of reasons. They need revenge against the Chargers for the loss in Week 12. They need to wash the sour taste of last week’s loss out of their collective mouths. They need to build a little momentum heading into Wild Card weekend to kick off the new year.
“But Jason, this is the Five Keys to Victory,” you may be saying. And you’re right. But for 16 weeks I’ve been here to give five things the Chiefs needed to do to beat their opponent. Sometimes they did them all, sometimes they didn’t do any of them. They’ve won 11 of them and lost four.
This week, there’s only one key.
Key #1: PLAY YOUR DAMN STARTERS AND PUNCH THE CHARGERS IN THE MOUTH AND KEEP THEM OUT OF THE PLAYOFFS
Is that clear enough for you? Pound for pound, player for player, I think that this Chiefs team is better than this Chargers team. Yes, the Chargers beat the Chiefs once this season, and I can give you a million reasons why that happened. But at the end of the day, the Chiefs are better. Their line is blocking better, they have a better running back and they have a better defense when everyone is healthy. If the Chiefs face the Chargers, toe to toe, the Chiefs win, the Chargers go home with their tail between their legs and KC goes into next week with a little momentum behind them.
Unfortunately, this isn’t going to happen. Reid has already said he plans to rest his starters. We have to trust him, as he’s been doing this for a long time. I just don’t think it’s the best course of action. But, what do I know?