Can Chargers Win The Mental Game Versus Chiefs?
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By Dave Thomas
While the game of pro football definitely involves its share of physical aspects, there is little doubt that the mental game also plays a role.
So, can the San Diego Chargers rebound from three ugly losses in recent weeks (New Orleans, Denver, Cleveland) and put together a full or close to good 60 minutes of football come Thursday night when Kansas City visits?
Yes, the Chargers have had some injuries here and there, but they are by no means any worse than any other team around the NFL after two months of play. Given that’s the case, the Bolts can only look in the mirror to see why they sit at 3-4 after seven games, trailing AFC West rival Denver by a game in the standings.
Kansas City (1-6), meantime, may already be looking to the next NFL Draft (spring 2013) in hopes of righting its ship.
The Chiefs, who are in danger of dropping five straight games for the first time since the 2009 season, came into the year not favored to win their division or be a major player in the AFC playoff hunt. Most folks, however, in the nation’s heartland could not have forecast what has transpired to date.
Several blowout losses and a hard-fought setback at home against Baltimore several weeks ago, then followed up by a 10-point loss to the rival Oakland Raiders last week, has the Chiefs sitting in dead last in the division. Throw in little to no confidence in QB Matt Cassel, and you have a recipe for disaster.
So, is San Diego primed to do what it did last month (Sept. 30) and roll past the Chiefs once again?
In that first meeting at Arrowhead Stadium, the Chargers forced Kansas City into six turnovers, posting a 37-20 victory just one week after a disheartening 27-3 loss at home to Atlanta.
Will The Chargers’ Passing Game Be Missing Some Pieces?
The Chargers enter the rematch with the Chiefs in relatively good shape, though there is definitely a concern at the wide receiver position.
While Malcom Floyd (San Diego’s top receiver to date) is expected to play, fellow receiver Robert Meachem hurt his hamstring in practice on Tuesday. Eddie Royal is already battling a hamstring issue, while Vincent Brown is still out from breaking his ankle back in the preseason.
As a result, San Diego may only have three healthy receivers to go Thursday, two of whom were not even with the team a month ago.
Newcomer Danario Alexander (Rams) saw his first action last weekend in Cleveland for the Chargers, while the team this week inked Seyi Ajirotutu to a deal.
Meantime, wide receiver/kick returner Richard Goodman, who was carted off the field Sunday with a hamstring injury, did not practice on Tuesday, while cornerback Chris Carr is nursing an injured quad.
Yes, some physical injuries could give the Chargers problems come Thursday night, but there is little doubt that their mental health after the last three games is of equal if not more concern.
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Dave Thomas is a freelance writer covering all things Chargers. His work can be found on Examiner.com.