The Chiefs and the Chargers match up in this week 7 contest. The Chiefs had a convincing blowout win over the Patriots a few weeks ago and then lost a tough game with San Francisco before heading into their bye last week. They are at 2-3 overall and will try and get back to an even record. The key to the game may be the health of running back Jamal Charles who has been battling nagging injuries. Against San Francisco he averaged over 5 yards a carry while rushing for 80 yards. The problem is he only had 15 carries and after the game head coach Andy Reid acknowledged that he should have gotten more carries. The Chargers lost a one-point game to the Cardinals 18-17 in week one and have not lost a game since. They have played a few close ones and blown some teams out and it gas all added up to a 5-1 record. Last weeks win over the Raiders was one of those close games that good teams find a way to pull out in their 31-28 victory. Through 3 quarters each team scored a touchdown in each quarter and the game was tied at 21. The Chargers found themselves down by 4 late in the game but were able to get a I yard touchdown run by Brandon Oliver to get the lead back for good with less than 2:00 to play. The defense was able to intercept an attempted pass that likely would have went for a touchdown and the win for Oakland, instead the Chargers were able to hold on for the win and a 5 game winning streak.
The Chargers have many players they can look at as keys to their recent success. Oliver is one of those key contributors. Ryan Matthews went down with an injury and soon thereafter running back Danny Woodhead was lost for the season. At that point it looked like backup running back Donald Brown was going to get the bulk of the carries and instead he was largely ineffective. In steps Oliver, an undrafted rookie out of Buffalo and he has been dynamite from the beginning. He had 101 yards on 26 carries on Sunday. His play has kept defenses honest and allowed quarterback Philip Rivers to be effective in the play action passing game because there is a real threat of a run. Veteran tight end Antonio Gates has proven to be dominant and has a favorable matchup against the undersized Chief secondary and linebackers.
It is hard to predict what effect the bye week has on teams. Sometimes it can cause rust and hurt teams season and other times it can provide rest as well as 2 weeks t prepare for your next opponent. Head Coach Andy Reid is 13-1 all time in games played after a bye week and it is a testament to his preparation. Look for the Chiefs to be playing at a high level right from the opening kickoff.
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