With their future Hall of Fame quarterback Philip Rivers reportedly on his way out after 15 seasons with the Chargers — first in San Diego, then in Los Angeles — the best sendoff the team can hope to give him will be to play unlikely spoiler against the Kansas City Chiefs. In the final game of the regular season, the Chiefs must win at home against Los Angeles to have a chance of rising to the No. 2 seeded position in the AFC, and with it, the coveted first-round bye week.
Of course, not only must the Chiefs take care of business against Rivers and the Chargers, but the New England Patriots also must suffer what appears to be a rather improbable upset at the hands of the 4-11 Miami Dolphins in another 1 p.m. EST Sunday final-week game. With the Chiefs holding the tiebreaker due to their Week 14 win over New England, a Kansas City win and Patriots loss gives both teams identical 12-4 records — and elevates Patrick Mahomes & Co. to the second seed.
Not only would that scenario give the Chiefs a much-needed bye week, but Kansas City would also earn at least one home playoff game.
“‘It’s not in our hands necessarily,” Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid said, as quoted by Yahoo! Sports. “Whatever we get. When you’re in the dance you got to be ready to dance.”
A statistical preview of the matchup from The Kansas City Star newspaper may be viewed in the video below.
The Chiefs come in to the game on a roll, riding a five-game winning streak — and with a defense that has not allowed a touchdown in more than nine quarters of football. In fact, the Kansas City defense has not allowed an opponent more than 17 points during the current win streak, and has held the other team to fewer than 10 points in three of those games.
Given that the Chargers have scored more than 20 points only once in their last five games, and have dropped five of their last six, a point spread of 8 1/2 in the Chiefs favor, according to USA Today, seems like it may be too narrow.
Also working in the Chiefs’ favor, third-year quarterback Mahomes appears to be healthy for the first time all season, finally going a week without seeing his name listed on the team’s injury report, according to SB Nation. While Mahomes will not be in the running for his second straight MVP award, he appears to be hitting his stride at exactly the right time as the Chiefs play what is likely a mere tuneup for what they expect will be a deep postseason run.
Kansas City has not won, or even appeared in, a Super Bowl since beating the Minnesota Vikings 23-7 on January 11, 1970.