The final regular season game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Diego Chargers holds different meaning for each team.
The Chiefs are firmly locked as the fifth seed in the upcoming AFC playoffs, and head coach Andy Reid must avoid having his squad head into wild-card weekend on a two-game losing streak. The fate of the Chargers playoff dreams might be determined before the opening kick ever takes place at Qualcomm Stadium. Besides defeating the Chiefs, the Chargers must have the Miami Dolphins and the Baltimore Ravens lose or tie in their games in order for them to secure the final wild-card spot.
Here are three bold predictions for the Chiefs at Chargers this Sunday:
Andy Reid Being Andy Reid
If history repeats itself, then you can expect the Chiefs starters to be on winter recess this weekend in San Diego. They have firmly secured the fifth seed in the AFC playoffs, and you can expect head coach Andy Reid to rest his starters in the season finale against the Chargers. In the past, Reid often rest his star players in Philadelphia if the Eagles couldn't improve their own playoff seeding while also avoiding the risk of losing anyone to injury.
The one team that might gain in this approach could be his opponent in the San Diego Chargers. They need to take full advantage of this golden opportunity. I fully expect them to be dominant on both sides of the ball and win this contest, which should make life difficult for the Dolphins and the Ravens.
Say Goodbye to Ken Whisenhunt
What a difference a year makes. Ken Whisenhunt was given his pink slip close to a year ago by the Arizona Cardinals, and instead of sitting out the season like most fired head coaches, he agreed to become the offensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers. Whisenhunt has rehabilitated his coaching career enough that he has become the leading candidate for numerous head coaching positions that will become available on Black Monday.
The Chargers will love to keep him on the coaching staff, but I highly doubt that will occur. The offense hasn't been this efficient in years, and Whisenhunt's biggest accomplishment has been revitalizing quarterback Philip Rivers' career. He created an offensive system that allowed the skill positions to become playmakers once again downfield. Whisenhunt will be missed, but not forgotten.
Ryan Mathews Has Evolved Into a NFL Running Back
Full confession, I've been very critical of running back Ryan Mathews since his rookie season. I questioned his durability to stay on the field due to nagging injuries and declared him another Chargers draft-day bust.
But, there's no question this season, Mathews has stepped up his game and become the every-down back that Charger fans envisioned from his days at Fresno State. Mathews' aggressive running style has been a nice compliment to the passing game. If the coaching staff trusted their running attack earlier in the season, then the Chargers might have already clinched a playoff berth. San Diego is hopeful this year is a prelude to things to come, as Mathews has evolved into a NFL running back.