Sliding AFC West teams collide
NEW YORK (AP) — It might be less of a collision and more of a mere bump in the night when the Chargers and Chiefs meet on Thursday night.
Both teams are in free-falls. San Diego started out 3-1 and now has lost three straight, looking progressively worse in each outing. A 7-6 loss at Cleveland was the low point.
Unless, that is, the Chargers manage to lose at home to Kansas City, which has crashed to the bottom of the AP Pro32 rankings and has dropped four in a row, six of seven. San Diego (No. 22, AP Pro32) is an 8-point favorite.
The way the Chargers are playing, there aren't many teams that would be underdogs against them. Their passing game is falling apart both throwing the ball and defending it. They have trouble protecting Philip Rivers, whose performances have been spotty, and they miss big-play receiver Vincent Jackson, now with Tampa Bay.
"We've not been able to put together the kind of consistency we need to," said coach Norv Turner, whose job security is teetering. "Usually, it's a different thing in each situation where you have an opportunity to make a big play. You only get so many in a game."
Opponents get more chances against Kansas City than most others, though. The Chiefs, who go back to starting Matt Cassel at quarterback with Brady Quinn out with a concussion, have a stunning 25 turnovers (13 interceptions, 12 fumbles); next worst in the AFC is Buffalo with 17.
Count on a few takeaways for the Chargers.
No. 28 Buffalo (plus 10) at No. 3 Houston
Both teams coming off byes. Bills really need it, Texans not so much.
BEST BET: TEXANS, 33-20
No. 19 Tampa Bay (plus 1 1/2) at No. 25 Oakland
Raiders barely edged weak Jaguars at home, now get another — and better — Florida opponent.
UPSET SPECIAL: BUCCANEERS, 23-21
No. 9 Baltimore (minus 3 1/2) at No. 29 Cleveland