First place in AFC West at stake when Chiefs, Chargers clash

KANSAS CITY (9-4) at LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (8-5)

Thursday, 8:20 p.m. EST, Fox/NFL Network/Amazon

BETTING LINE: Chiefs by 3, according to FanDuel SportsBook.

AGAINST THE SPREAD: Kansas City 6-7; Los Angeles 7-6.

KANSAS CITY (9-4) at LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (8-5)

Thursday, 8:20 p.m. EST, Fox/NFL Network/Amazon

BETTING LINE: Chiefs by 3, according to FanDuel SportsBook.

AGAINST THE SPREAD: Kansas City 6-7; Los Angeles 7-6.

SERIES RECORD: Chiefs lead 64-58-1.

LAST MEETING: Chargers beat Chiefs 30-24 on Sept. 26, in Kansas City.

LAST WEEK: Chiefs beat Raiders 48-9; Chargers beat Giants 37-21.

CHIEFS OFFENSE: OVERALL (4), RUSH (16), PASS (6), SCORING (T-8).

CHIEFS DEFENSE: OVERALL (24), RUSH (14), PASS (26), SCORING (6).

CHARGERS OFFENSE: OVERALL (6), RUSH (21), PASS (5), SCORING (T-8).

CHARGERS DEFENSE: OVERALL (16), RUSH (31), PASS (4), SCORING (26).

TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Chiefs 0; Chargers plus-3.

CHIEFS PLAYER TO WATCH: CB Rashad Fenton has missed the past two games with a knee injury, but he practiced on a limited basis last week and should be ready to go against the Chargers. Fenton has ranked among the top cornerbacks in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus, and is particularly good in man-to-man coverage.

CHARGERS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR Jalen Guyton has touchdown receptions of 44 and 59 yards in the past two games, helping Los Angeles to consecutive wins by double-digit margins for the first time since Week 5-6 in 2018. Guyton had seven catches for 177 yards against Cincinnati and New York, the best two-week stretch of his three-year career. The Chargers will need to find ways to create explosive plays against the dominant Chiefs defense, and Guyton should be one of their better options.

KEY MATCHUP: Chiefs DL Frank Clark vs. Chargers LT Trey Pipkins. Los Angeles has to shuffle its line with outstanding rookie Rashawn Slater on the COVID-19 list. The raw but athletic Pipkins will likely get the call protecting Justin Herbert’s blind side, but other options could include moving Storm Norton from right tackle to left or sliding guard Matt Feiler outside. Whoever lines up there will have to keep Clark at bay.

KEY INJURIES: Fenton (knee) and RT Lucas Niang (ribs) should be available after missing last week’s game. LB Nick Bolton (wrist) was limited earlier this week but also should play. DE Chris Jones’ status is unknown after going on the COVID-19 list Tuesday, so Kansas City could be without its most disruptive lineman. … WR Keenan Allen should return after sitting out against the Giants because of COVID-19. RB Austin Ekeler should play after hurting his ankle Sunday. S Derwin James (hamstring) got in a limited practice Tuesday, which bodes well for him returning after not playing last week.

SERIES NOTES: The Chargers have won the past two meetings after dropping seven of the previous eight. … QB Patrick Mahomes had three touchdown passes and two interceptions against Los Angeles in Week 3 after tossing 10 TDs against two picks in his first five starts against them. … Herbert made his first career start in a 23-20 overtime loss to Kansas City in Week 2 last season. He has thrown for 894 yards and eight touchdowns against one interception in three meetings.

STATS AND STUFF: The Chiefs have won six straight games, tied for the seventh-longest streak in franchise history. … Kansas City has held three straight opponents to nine points apiece, the second-longest streak of 10 or fewer in franchise history. The record is five straight games set in 1968 in the AFL. … Andy Reid can tie Marty Schottenheimer (101) for second among Chiefs coaches in regular-season wins Thursday night. Hank Stram has the record with 124. … Mahomes passed Alex Smith last week for third place in Chiefs history with 17,794 yards passing in his career. Trent Green is next with 21,459. … Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill already has broken his own single-season record with 89 catches. He also has 1,030 yards receiving, eclipsing the 1,000 mark for the fourth straight season. … Hill (6,421) needs 125 yards receiving to pass Henry Marshall for third in Chiefs history. … Chargers OLB Joey Bosa leads the NFL with five strip-sacks. … Herbert is one of three QBs to throw for 8,000 yards in his first two seasons, joining Andrew Luck (8,196) and Jameis Winston (8,132). Herbert (8,158) needs 39 yards to pass Luck. … Herbert had three touchdown passes against New York, his eighth career game throwing at least three scores without an interception. … Ekeler’s 23 career touchdown catches are tied for ninth most by a RB in the common draft era. Since 1967, only seven rushers have caught 25 touchdowns. … Los Angeles has the best fourth-down defense in the league, allowing opponents to convert 5 of 16 chances (31.3%).

FANTASY TIP: Chiefs TE Travis Kelce hasn’t been much of a factor the past two weeks, posting identical performances with three catches for 27 yards against Denver and Las Vegas. That should change in a big way against the Chargers; he’s caught at least seven passes in four of his past five matchups with them. The only big play Los Angeles allowed against New York was a 60-yard catch-and-run to a tight end, so opportunities should be there for Kelce, who finished with 104 yards on seven receptions in the first meeting earlier this season.

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