NFL 2019 (Week 11): Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers (at Mexico City)

Russell S. Baxter

NFL 2019 (Week 11): Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers (at Mexico City)

By Jesse Pierson

Special to Pro Football Guru

Hopefully the fans in Mexico City like offensive fireworks, because Kansas City and Los Angeles have two of the best passing attacks in the NFL. Philip Rivers leads the league in passing yardage with 2816, and Patrick Mahomes’ 18:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio is also the high water mark leaguewide. The patrons attending Estadio Azteca will want to time their restroom and concession stand breaks accordingly, since there should be plenty of action between the whistles. As is often the case in late season games, injuries will play a large role in determining who can contribute to the outcome. Chiefs’ right tackle Mitchell Schwartz and left defensive end Alex Okafor are listed as questionable. Their potential replacements, offensive lineman Martinas Rankin and end Emmanuel Ogbah, are both out as well. The Chargers will also be without their starting right tackle, Sam Tevi. Trey Pipkins should get the start in his place, yet left tackle Russell Okung, receiver Geremy Davis, defensive tackle Justin Jones and safety Roderic Teamer all have the dreaded “questionable” designation. Has an athletic training staff ever been awarded a game ball before? These two staffs have their work cut out for them.

Chiefs: At least Mahomes is back in action after missing time with a dislocated kneecap. In his return last week against Tennessee, he threw for 446 yards and three scores, so he seems fine. The defense’s performance in that game was anything but fine. They blew a nine-point fourth quarter lead, gave up the winning touchdown with 23 seconds left, and allowed 7.6 yards per play to lose a game in which their offense controlled the ball for nearly 38 minutes. Despite all of that, they still would have won if Harrison Butker’s last-second field goal attempt was not blocked. Kansas City has given up 30 or more points four times; unsurprisingly, three of their four losses came in those games. And the Chiefs are likely relieved to be finished with the AFC South, as they went 1-3 against that division. Even an average defensive showing over the next six weeks should lock up the AFC West, with New England being the only remaining opponent who is more than one game above .500. If they take care of business in Mexico, they will be just fine.

Chargers: At 4-5 and coming off two consecutive victories, Anthony Lynn’s team felt as though they were revving up for a playoff push. Unfortunately, they lost a key division game in Oakland last Thursday night, which reined in some of that growing enthusiasm. They still aren’t out of the race, but they have some ground to cover if they want to snag a postseason berth. To borrow a sports cliche: “If the playoffs started today,” Los Angeles would find itself in the 12th AFC spot, several tie-breakers behind the rival Raiders and other wild card contenders. Luckily, the playoffs don’t start today, and an upset over Kansas City would propel this Chargers team into its bye week with a ton of good energy and three divisional games left to play. Anything could happen from there. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram can pester Mahomes into sacks, throwaways, and turnovers, and Rivers should be able to exploit this porous Chiefs defense.

Prediction: Los Angeles keeps its playoff hopes alive with a “ground and pound” approach, edging another spectacular Mahomes’ stat line.

Los Angeles Chargers 28, Kansas City Chiefs 27

Jesse Pierson (@jessetpierson) is a former teacher and high school football coach who has written about the Colts for over a decade. He loves football, dogs, food, and comedy, and you can follow his work on his Facebook page, Jesse Pierson, Mediocre Writer.

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