The Kansas City Chiefs can't control their playoff seeding situation - they need the Miami Dolphins to provide some unlikely help in that area - but will try to do their part when they host the division rival Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. The Chiefs have clinched their fourth straight AFC West title and can still get the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye with a win and a New England loss at home against Miami.
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The Chiefs are seemingly peaking at the right time, having won five straight - including three by 20 points or more and a 23-16 victory at New England - and hope to keep the positive momentum rolling as they enter the playoffs. The hot streak began with a 24-17 win over the Chargers in Mexico City in Week 11 - Kansas City's 10th win in the past 11 meetings. The Chargers are relegated to the role of spoiler after a 24-17 loss to Oakland last week sent them to their second consecutive defeat and fifth in six games. Nine of Los Angeles' 10 losses have come by seven points or fewer.
ABOUT THE CHARGERS (5-10): Los Angeles has had a tough time getting the ground game going for most of the season and has held to a season-low 19 rushing yards last week against the Raiders. The passing game can still be effective and Philip Rivers passed for a season-high 353 yards in the first meeting with the Chiefs - one of few quarterbacks who has been able to pick apart Kansas City's much-improved secondary, although he threw a season-high four interceptions. The Chargers' defense is tough against the pass, which makes it a good matchup against a Chiefs' offense that leans heavily on the pass.
ABOUT THE CHIEFS (11-4): Kansas City plans to play to win, but if the Patriots get out to a big early lead, don't be surprised to see some of the Chiefs' stars on the bench saving themselves for a wild-card game next week. That would include reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes, as well as favorite targets Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. It also applies to some of the stars of the Chiefs' defense, which has held three straight opponents to fewer than 280 total yards and has allowed more than 400 only once in the past nine games after doing so in four of the first six games of the season.
1. Mahomes needs 143 passing yards to join Trent Green as the only players in franchise history with back-to-back 4,000-yard passing seasons.
2. Chargers RB Austin Ekeler has scored a touchdown in eight straight regular-season road games.
3. Kansas City DT Chris Jones has a sack in three of his past four contests.
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Key Players to Watch
Kansas City Chiefs
- Ankleday-to-day | questionable
Williams exited Sunday's game with an ankle injury, and it is unknown if he will return.
- Headday-to-day | questionable
Watkins left Sunday's game due to a head injury, and it is uncertain if he will return.
- ElbowOut indefinitely | I-R
Saunders has been assigned to the injured reserve list with a dislocated elbow, and he will miss an extended period.
- HandOut Sun | out
Ward departed the previous game with a fractured left hand, and he will not play against the Chargers on Sunday.
- GroinQues Sun | questionable
Hamilton left Sunday's game with a groin injury, and it is unclear if he will return.
- Illnessday-to-day | questionable
Clark was lifted from Sunday's game due to an illness, and it is undetermined if he will return.
- HamstringOut Sun | out
Okafor was forced from the last game due to a minor hamstring strain, and he will not suit up Sunday versus the Chargers.
- KneeProb Sun | probable
Reiter is dealing with a sore knee, but he is likely to partake in Sunday's clash versus the Chargers.
Los Angeles Chargers
- IllnessOut Sun | out
Parham Jr. is ailing from an illness, and he will not be healthy enough to participate in Sunday's tilt versus the Chiefs.
- ChestOut Sun | out
Taylor has a chest injury, and it will impede his status for Sunday's game versus the Chiefs.
- Groinday-to-day | questionable
Jenkins left Sunday's game due to a groin injury, and his return is in question.
- Shoulderday-to-day | questionable
Jones was removed from Sunday's game due to a shoulder injury, and it is uncertain if he will come back.
- KneeOut indefinitely | I-R
Tranquill is expected to miss a substantial length of time while on the injured reserve list due to a broken knee.
- HipI-R | I-R
Pouncey has been sent to the injured reserve list due to hip surgery.
- Kneeday-to-day | questionable
Bulaga exited Sunday's game with a knee injury, and it is unclear if he will return..
- Legday-to-day | questionable
Ingram III departed Sunday's game due to a leg injury, and his return is in question.