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Opponent Profile: Chargers, Chiefs To Battle For Playoff Spot

By Dave Thomas

For the San Diego Chargers, nothing like going down to the final gun in order to make the 2014 playoffs.

After a wild come-from-behind 38-35 overtime win in San Francisco this past Saturday evening, the Chargers will look to lock up the final AFC playoff spot this Sunday when they travel to Arrowhead Stadium to battle division rival Kansas City.

The scenarios are rather simple to understand:

San Diego - Win and it's in; lose and it's out.
Kansas City - Beat San Diego, combined with a Baltimore loss to Cleveland and a Houston loss to Jacksonville.

So, to keep things as clear-cut as possible, all San Diego needs to do to open on the road in the 2015 (Jan. 3-4) playoffs is to avenge a 23-20 loss earlier in the season at home to the Chiefs. If the Chargers do that, they will make the AFC playoffs for the second straight season.

Chiefs Playing For Second Season

Meantime, the Chiefs enter Sunday's contest at 8-7, fresh-off a 20-12 loss on the road in Pittsburgh. With the win, the Steelers locked up a playoff spot; Pittsburgh can finish first in the AFC North with a win over Cincinnati next Sunday evening at home.

When looking at Kansas City, the Chiefs are led on offense by quarterback Alex Smith.

Heading into Week 17 of the regular season, Smith has thrown for 3,265 yards and 18 TD's.

It comes as no surprise that Jamaal Charles is the top threat running the ball for the Chiefs, as he enters the final regular season game with 979 yards rushing and nine TD's.

Through the air, the top receiving targets for Smith are tight end Travis Kelce with 778 yards receiving and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe with 724 yards receiving.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Chiefs turn to Josh Mauga (95 total tackles) and Justin Houston (18 sacks).

To say this is a big game come Sunday at venerable Arrowhead Stadium would be nothing short of a big understatement. There is a lot riding on this game. Not just the chance for the Chargers to avenge a prior loss earlier in the season, but also an opportunity to hold their own postseason fate in their own hands. 

The two teams typically play hard-fought, close contests with a rivalry showcasing two of the original AFL teams.

To date, the Chargers hold a slim 55-53-1 in the all-time series.

For more Chargers news and updates, visit Chargers Central.

Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on

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