The Kansas City Chiefs' once-sizable advantage in the AFC West has been trimmed to the narrowest of margins following losses in four of their last six games. The Chiefs look to stem the tide on Monday night when they venture south of the border to Mexico City to face the Los Angeles Chargers.
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Patrick Mahomes didn't miss a beat in his return from a two-game absence due to a dislocated right kneecap, completing a career-high 36 passes for 446 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday. Unfortunately for the reigning NFL Most Valuable Player, the impressive afternoon was saddled with a loss following a blocked field goal in the waning moments of Kansas City's 35-32 setback to Tennessee. The Chiefs' lead atop the AFC West rests at a half-game over Oakland, with Los Angeles residing two back after a 26-24 setback to the Raiders on Nov. 7 and fully aware of the magnitude of this matchup. "I don't think desperation," Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers told the Los Angeles Daily News. "I think urgency. Any other word you can think of ... I don't think we feel desperate, although we know how crucial this game is."
TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Chiefs -4 O/U: 52
ABOUT THE CHIEFS (6-4): Tyreek Hill seamlessly shuffled from catching passes from backup Matt Moore to Mahomes last week to become the first player in franchise history to record at least 140 receiving yards and a touchdown in consecutive games. Hill followed up his 140-yard effort in a 26-23 win over Minnesota on Nov. 3 with a career-best 11 catches for 157 yards against the Titans. Damien Williams, who saw the speedy Hill accompany him on the latter portion of a 91-yard touchdown run versus the Vikings, had a season-high 24 touches result in 109 scrimmage yards (77 rushing, 32 receiving) against Tennessee. The 27-year-old had 123 yards (74 receiving, 49 rushing) and two touchdowns in a 29-28 setback to the Chargers on Dec. 13, a decision that snapped Kansas City's nine-game winning streak in the series.
ABOUT THE CHARGERS (4-6): A healthy dose of Melvin Gordon against Kansas City's 31st-ranked rushing defense (148.1 yards per game) could be just what Los Angeles needs to control the clock and keep Mahomes and Co. on the sideline. The 26-year-old rushed for a season-high 108 yards and a score last week, boosting his touchdown total to five (four rushing, one receiving) in his past four contests. On the other side of the ball, defensive ends Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram have combined for nine sacks in the same four-game stretch. Ingram, in fact, had 1.5 sacks of Mahomes in the meeting last December to boost his total to 5.5 in his past four encounters with the Chiefs.
1. Kansas City is expected to see the returns of key cogs along the offensive line, namely OTs Eric Fisher (groin) and Cam Erving (ankle) as well as OG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (ankle).
2. Rivers tossed three interceptions last week -- including one returned for a touchdown -- to drop the Chargers' turnover ratio to minus-6, which is tied for the fifth worst in the league.
3. The Chiefs were initially scheduled to play in Mexico City last season before field conditions at Estadio Azteca prompted the NFL to reschedule their game against the Rams to Los Angeles.