LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 08: Head coach Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs looks on from the sidelines during the second half against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on December 8, 2013 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
The Chargers needed everything to go their way last Sunday. It happened.
Now, they need it to happen again.
Last week, the Chargers beat the Raiders and watched as the Dolphins fell to the Bills and the Ravens lost to the Patriots. This Sunday, they will know if they still have a wildcard shot before they even take the field, as the Dolphins and Ravens both play 10 a.m. games and the Chargers kick off at 1:25 p.m. The Chargers need to beat the Chiefs and have both Baltimore and Miami lose in order to be alive in the postseason.
It will make for an emotional morning.
"Obviously there will be some attention on it," said offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. "I don't think there is any way to get around it. We'll be on the field warming up while that is still going on. I think the biggest thing for us is to focus on what we need to do."
The Chargers beat the Chiefs the first time they played them this season (41-38 in Kansas City) but it wasn't without defensive struggles.
"Communication, and I think our biggest mistakes in that game were turning guys loose," said defensive coordinator John Pagano. "They converted three third-downs on us that led to 21 points. We have to be able to tackle, because they are so explosive on offense."
Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles is averaging 5.0 yards per carry and has rushed 259 times this season, for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns. And that's just his ground game. He also leads the team with receptions.
"[Charles] wrecks games," Pagano said. "He is someone that you have to have complete focus on."
Chargers running back Ryan Mathews did not practice for the second consecutive day Thursday, after hurting his ankle in Sunday's game.
Head coach Mike McCoy said he expects him to play Sunday.
"It's as simple as that," McCoy said.
Mathews, who was in a walking boot Wednesday, wants to join his teammates in the final regular-season game.
"That's what I want to do this year, is be 100-percent in all the games," he said.
Mathews has been an integral part of this offense, especially the second half of the season. He has rushed for a career-best 1,111 yards and has not missed a game this year.
For the second time this season, kicker Nick Novak was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week after converting four field goals in the Chargers' 26-13 win over Oakland.
"For me it's really intrinsically motivating," Novak said. "You work so hard in the offseason and try to have a perfect season, and if that doesn't happen, you try to be as perfect as you can."
Novak has made 32 field goals this season, tied for the third-most in the NFL.
"Nick's been great," said quarterback Philip Rivers. "He's a true pro. There's always the team and then the specialists, as far as how it's perceived. But Nick and our group of specialists are truly one of the guys. He's a football player. You see him wanting to get in and make a tackle. He appreciates this opportunity and he's fought like crazy to get where he is today."
THANK YOU, FANS
The Chargers have designated Sunday's game as "Fan Appreciation Day" and will randomly select people to win prizes, including road trips to Kansas City and Denver next season and a private dinner with general manager Tom Telesco.
Other prizes include restaurant gift certificates and music CD's.
All fans in attendance will be eligible to win.