Two teams going in opposite directions renew AFC West acquaintances Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Chiefs (7-5) are riding a six-game winning streak and are currently in position for a postseason berth with four games remaining. The San Diego Chargers (3-9), however, have lost seven of the last eight games, including a 33-3 destruction at the hands of the Chiefs in Week 11.
That game, which featured three sacks on Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and a 1-yard touchdown plunge from Chiefs defensive tackle Dontari Poe, was just three weeks ago.
While both teams must deal with a rapid turnaround, adjusting to the scenario isn’t anything new to Chiefs coach Andy Reid.
“I’ve been there before,” Reid said in a conference call with Chargers beat writers. “It’s different. I know when after the game, (Chargers coach) Mike (McCoy) said to me, ‘See you in a couple of weeks.’ That’s how it rolls.”
The Chiefs last experienced playing a divisional foe in three weeks from the last meeting in 2014. Kansas City traveled to Oakland to play the Raiders in Week 12 before hosting the Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 15.
Reid also prepared the Chiefs to play the Denver Broncos twice in a three-week span during the 2013 season.
Meanwhile, the Chargers are no strangers to adapting to an opponent within a short period.
In 2014, the Chargers closed the preseason against the Arizona Cardinals, and then promptly played Arizona in the regular-season opener.
“We had the preseason where we finished the fourth preseason game and turned around and opened with the team before,” McCoy said in a conference call with Chiefs beat writers. “It is what it is. You have 16 games, and it’s one of 16.”
Nevertheless, Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith apparently isn’t fond with the close proximity of the scheduled matchup.
“I think this is kind of strange, to be honest with you,” Smith said. “I realize, obviously, the scheduling is never going to be perfect, but it is strange to play them three weeks ago. You only have two games in between to look at. So yeah, it is strange. I would prefer more time.”
Smith further points out the two weeks from the last time the Chiefs played the Chargers could affect adjustments.
But what should help both teams prepare for Sunday’s game surrounds familiarity with players and coaching staffs when considering the division ties.
And Reid doesn’t believe the three-week span from Week 11 will play a large role in how either team approaches the contest.
“Both teams know each other,” Reid said. “We’ve had the same staffs the last three years, so everybody kind of knows each other.”
San Diego’s head coach echoed Reid.
“I think we have a good understanding of how we want to play this football team and they have a good understanding of how they want to play us,” McCoy said. “It should be a good football game.”
TALE OF THE TAPE
• The Chiefs rank seventh in rushing (121.3 yards per game) and 26th in passing (220 yards per game).
• The Chargers rank 30th in rushing (82.7 yards per game) and fourth in passing (297.9 yards per game).
• The Chiefs rank eighth against the run (96.2 yards allowed per game) and 14th against the pass (241.3 yards allowed per game).
• The Chargers rank 26th against the run (124.6 yards allowed per game) and 21st against the pass (246 yards allowed per game).
THE LAST TIME
The Chiefs defeated the Chargers, 33-3, in Week 11.
The Chiefs swept the series in 2014, defeating the Chargers, 23-20, in Week 7 at Qualcomm Stadium, and then 19-7 in Week 17 at Arrowhead Stadium.
Sunday’s contest marks the 111th time the Chiefs and Chargers will meet, with the Chiefs leading the all-time series, 55-54-1.
• Chiefs running backs Coach Eric Bieniemy was a second-round pick of the Chargers in the 1991 NFL Draft. He went on to play four seasons in San Diego (1991-94).
• Chargers cornerback cornerback Brandon Flowers was a second-round pick of the Chiefs and played seven seasons in Kansas City (2008-13).
• Chargers tight end Sean McGrath, who is on the practice squad, spent the 2013 season with the Chiefs.
• Chargers inside linebacker Joe Mays played for the Chiefs in 2014.
• Chargers defensive tackle Damion Square spent part of the 2014 season with the Chiefs.
• Chargers offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris was an assistant offensive line coach with the Chiefs for two seasons (2008-09).
• Chargers quarterbacks Coach Nick Sirianni was with the Chiefs as an offensive quality control coach and wide receivers coach (2009-12).
Chiefs running back Charcandrick West on sharing the backfield with Spencer Ware:
Chiefs running back Spencer Ware on if he will eventually reveal a touchdown dance celebration:
“I don’t dance.”
Chargers tight end Antonio Gates on Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson, who totaled 14 tackles (13 solo), a sack and forced fumble in Week 13:
“In my opinion, he’s one of the better linebackers in this game at this point.”