The Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers both came out of the AFC West to make the playoffs in 2018. This year, however, the Chiefs have slumped to 6-4 after winning their first four games, making Monday’s contest their most important game of the season, according to USA Today.
The Chargers remain only two games off the division lead despite a 4-6 mark — meaning they need to win their Monday Night Football matchup against Kansas City to keep any realistic hopes of qualifying for the postseason alive.
Despite losing four of their last six games and coming off a disappointing upset defeat to the Tennessee Titans last week, Kansas City come in as four-point favorites, according to SI.com.
But there may be an “X” factor in the Monday night game. The Chiefs and Chargers will square off in Mexico City, where the playing surface at 87,500-seat Azteca Stadium has been so questionable that an NFL game scheduled there last season, between the Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams, was canceled and moved elsewhere. This time around, according to a Yahoo! Sports report, the ground at the home of Mexico’s national soccer team is promised to be playable.
“Everything that I’ve been told has been positive,” Chiefs Coach Andy Reid told Yahoo!
The game also features a classic quarterback matchup between 16-year veteran Philip Rivers of the Chargers, and the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes — who threw for 50 touchdowns in 2018, which was just his second season in the league and first as a full-time starter.
Rivers has spent his entire career with the Chargers, leading the team — first in San Diego and, since 2017, Los Angeles — to the postseason six times. But Rivers has never taken the team to the Super Bowl and has made it to the AFC championship game only once, in 2007, losing to the New England Patriots.
But following the 2019 season, the 37-year-old Rivers will become an unrestricted free agent, with rumors already circulating that Patriots future Hall of Fame Tom Brady, also a free agent after 2019, may replace Rivers in Los Angeles.
Mahomes returned from an injury after missing two games last week. However, his 446 passing yards and three TD passes were not good enough to overcome a leaky Chiefs’ defense that coughed up 225 rushing yards. The Kansas City defense allowed the Titans 35 points, 14 more than Tennessee’s average this season.
Last season, the Chiefs and Chargers split their two games, with each team winning on the road. But Kansas City has won seven of the last 10 games in the series.