The Kansas City Chiefs (7-5) seek their seventh straight win when they host the rival San Diego Chargers (3-9) at Arrowhead Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. EST.
Philip Rivers' offensive line was decimated in their Week 11 matchup. This week, the quarterback's receiving corps is dwindling; there's a good chance Javontee Herndon and newly re-signed wideout Vincent Brown will start for the Chargers. That's not great if Rivers has to dig out of another 30-point hole.
The Chiefs have far fewer problems to deal with. Their defense is seeking a bookend performance after knocking the Oakland Raiders around last weekend. They might have to do so without Justin Houston (knee) again, however.
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Here are three keys to the game for both the Chargers and Chiefs:
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1. Test that Perryman-Te'o twosome
San Diego thinks it has two inside linebackers to build around next season. Denzel Perryman and Manti Te'o can start proving them right in Week 14. They can't allow K.C. to duplicate its rushing outputs (31 team carries, 153 rushing yards, three TDs in Week 11) at home.
2. Exploit Justin Houston's absence
Frank Zombo and Dezman Moses combined wouldn't add up to the player Houston is. That's particularly true in the run game -- the Chiefs are tied for fifth-best in total run defense (3.9 yards per attempt). That's good news for a team that averages only 82.7 yards per game. Only two teams are worse on the ground in 2015 than the Chargers are.
3. Don't test these Chiefs corners deep
Kansas City's fourth-quarter interception-fest last weekend in Oakland showed their defensive backfield's might. San Diego simply has no counter -- their wide-receiving corps is decimated to the point they might start Javontee Herndon and Vincent Brown in Week 14. Short, quick throws will work best for Rivers.
1. Bring the house at Philip Rivers
The Bolts have failed to protect Rivers for a sixth consecutive season. He's been sacked at least 30 times in every campaign since 2009. And when he's pressured this year, he makes mistakes; five of his nine interceptions have been pick-sixes. That's K.C.'s specialty.
2. Give Spencer Ware a full workload
Ware was an emergency option the last time these two teams met. Then, he rushed for 96 yards and two scores on just 11 carries. Ware deserves a full, 20-plus carry day against a defense that gives up nearly five yards a handoff. Charcandrick West did not look as explosive in Week 13, coming off the hamstring injury, and Ware gives the team their best opportunity to score.
3. Ice the game with Jeremy Maclin
Royals flamethrower Wade Davis might not be the best closer in town. That title could belong to Maclin, who caught a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns in Week 13 to seal a Chiefs win. He's caught 18 balls for 255 yards and three scores in his last two outings. They'll look for the No. 1 to end things on Sunday.