NFL Football

Chargers, Chiefs meet in AFC West showdown

The Los Angeles Chargers have chased the Kansas City Chiefs all year since losing the season-opening game between the rivals. On Thursday night, they get the chance to catch the AFC West leaders when the teams meet at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.

The Chiefs (11-2) lead the Chargers (10-3) by one game in the division. Both teams are also vying for the best record in the AFC with three games to go. The Chargers have a commanding lead in the AFC wild-card race.

In recent years, the Chiefs have frustrated quarterback Philip Rivers and the Chargers. Rivers has thrown 14 interceptions and nine touchdown passes against Kansas City in the last nine meetings.

But Rivers turned in arguably his best performance against the Chiefs in five years during the Chargers' 38-28 loss in September, completing 34 of 51 passes for 424 yards and three touchdowns with one interception.

"He had a few yards last time we played them I think if I remember correctly there," Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said. "In the fourth quarter, he had a ton of them."

The Chiefs have forced Rivers into turnovers in eight of their last nine games, but Sutton is still concerned about stopping the veteran. Despite Rivers' struggles against the Chiefs, no quarterback has more wins against them in the past 20 years.

"I think he's probably playing right now as well as he's ever played," Sutton said. "I think he's a dynamic guy. I've said this about him a lot, for whatever reason, he doesn't get mentioned with some of these other quarterbacks. His numbers and his importance to his team are second to none."

The same could be said of Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs young quarterback. In his second career start, he led Kansas City to the victory over Los Angeles in the opener with 256 yards passing and four touchdowns.

Chargers coach Anthony Lynn is well aware of Mahomes' ability. Both of them went to Texas Tech, and Lynn said he had many conversations with former Red Raiders coach Kliff Kingsbury about the 23-year-old.

"What he's doing now doesn't surprise me at all," Lynn said, referring to Mahomes' 4,300 passing yards and 43 touchdowns in the first 13 games of the season. "He's a heck of a football player, and he's just playing with a lot of confidence right now."

Neither team played much defense in the season-opening shootout in Los Angeles, but that should change Thursday night in Kansas City. The Chargers were missing defensive end Joey Bosa, whom Lynn said finally has no limitations after returning from a foot injury.

"The first couple of weeks we kind of monitored his play count and last week we just turned him loose and now he's back at his normal rotation," Lynn said. "But I just believe he's getting better every game. It can't do nothing but help our defense and our football team."

The Chiefs hope to have their own defensive leader back. Safety Eric Berry hasn't played a game this season, but could see his first snaps in a limited role. They hope his presence on the field provides a shot in the arm to a defense allowing 27 points and 409.6 yards per game.

The Chargers likely will be missing some key offensive players. Running back Melvin Gordon, who has run for 13 touchdowns this season, has missed two games with a sprained knee ligament and there's no guarantee he'll play Thursday.

"He's one of our better players," Lynn said. "I'd like for him to play. But if he's not ready, he's not going to play."

Austin Ekeler, Gordon's productive backup, is also on the mend. He suffered a head injury in Sunday's win over the Cincinnati Bengals and his status is unclear.

Ekeler did not participate in practice Tuesday while Gordon was limited.

That possibly leaves rookie Justin Jackson as the starter. Behind him is Detrez Newsome, also a rookie.

The Chargers have lost four straight at Arrowhead Stadium and their success or failure could hinge on the defense slowing down the Chiefs, who have remained explosive even after running back Kareem Hunt was let go.

"I think our guys have to be in tune for (big plays)," Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. "Because every play you have to be ready because it could be the one."

Updated December 11, 2018

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Teams Score Time
NCAA FB
Appalachian State   Sat 3:30pm
North Carolina  
Ball State   Sat 7:00pm
NC State  
NFL
Carolina   Sun 4:05pm
Arizona  
Teams Score Time
Air Force   Fri 9:00pm
Boise State  
Utah   Fri 9:00pm
USC  
Boston College   Sat 12:00pm
Rutgers  
California   Sat 12:00pm
Ole Miss  
Elon   Sat 12:00pm
Wake Forest  
LSU   Sat 12:00pm
Vanderbilt  
Michigan   Sat 12:00pm
Wisconsin  
Southern Mississippi   Sat 12:00pm
Alabama  
Tennessee   Sat 12:00pm
Florida  
Western Michigan   Sat 12:00pm
Syracuse  
Appalachian State   Sat 3:30pm
North Carolina  
Auburn   Sat 3:30pm
Texas A&M  
Louisville   Sat 3:30pm
Florida State  
Miami (OH)   Sat 3:30pm
Ohio State  
SMU   Sat 3:30pm
TCU  
UCF   Sat 3:30pm
Pittsburgh  
Washington   Sat 3:30pm
BYU  
Central Michigan   Sat 4:00pm
Miami  
Ball State   Sat 7:00pm
NC State  
Old Dominion   Sat 7:00pm
Virginia  
Oregon   Sat 7:00pm
Stanford  
Charlotte   Sat 7:30pm
Clemson  
Oklahoma State   Sat 7:30pm
Texas  
Notre Dame   Sat 8:00pm
Georgia  
Colorado   Sat 10:00pm
Arizona State  
UCLA   Sat 10:30pm
Washington State  
Teams Score Time
Interleague
Seattle 5 11th
Pittsburgh 5
San Francisco 4 F
Boston 5
American League
Los Angeles   6:35pm
New York  
Toronto   7:05pm
Baltimore  
Detroit   7:15pm
Cleveland  
Kansas City   7:40pm
Minnesota  
National League
Philadelphia 4 F
Atlanta 5
San Diego 0 1st
Milwaukee 0
St. Louis   7:15pm
Chicago  
Teams Score Time
Tennessee   8:20pm
Jacksonville  
Atlanta   Sun 1:00pm
Indianapolis  
Baltimore   Sun 1:00pm
Kansas City  
Cincinnati   Sun 1:00pm
Buffalo  
Denver   Sun 1:00pm
Green Bay  
Detroit   Sun 1:00pm
Philadelphia  
Miami   Sun 1:00pm
Dallas  
New York   Sun 1:00pm
New England  
Oakland   Sun 1:00pm
Minnesota  
Carolina   Sun 4:05pm
Arizona  
New York   Sun 4:05pm
Tampa Bay  
Houston   Sun 4:25pm
Los Angeles  
New Orleans   Sun 4:25pm
Seattle  
Pittsburgh   Sun 4:25pm
San Francisco  
Los Angeles   Sun 8:20pm
Cleveland  
Teams Score Time
Boston   7:00pm
Philadelphia  
Columbus   7:00pm
Pittsburgh  
Florida   7:00pm
Montreal  
Dallas   9:00pm
Colorado  
Vancouver   9:00pm
Edmonton  
Vegas   10:30pm
Los Angeles  
MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES AT LAS VEGAS
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 19 Martin Truex Jr 24
2 4 Kevin Harvick 3
3 2 Brad Keselowski 18
4 9 Chase Elliott 8
5 12 Ryan Blaney 23
6 88 Alex Bowman 19
7 24 William Byron 14
8 42 Kyle Larson 15
9 22 Joey Logano 22
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES AT LAS VEGAS
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 2 Tyler Reddick 4
2 20 Christopher Bell 2
3 19 Brandon Jones 6
4 00 Cole Custer 1
5 7 Justin Allgaier 3
6 9 Noah Gragson 36
7 08 Gray Gaulding 16
8 23 John Hunter Nemechek 13
9 18 Riley Herbst 15
NASCAR GANDER OUTDOORS TRUCK SERIES AT LAS VEGAS
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 16 Austin Hill 7
2 45 Ross Chastain 2
3 51 Christian Eckes 1
4 2 Sheldon Creed 6
5 4 Todd Gilliland 3
6 30 Brennan Poole 18
7 24 Brett Moffitt 4
8 99 Ben Rhodes 13
9 18 Harrison Burton 9