Thu Nov 14 6:49pm ET
By JOE REEDY
AP Sports Writer
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers throws a pass against the Oakland Raiders during the first half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers waits to take part in a drill during an NFL football practice Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, at Air Force Academy, Colo. The Chargers are training at Air Force, which is at an elevation of 7,200 feet, to prepare for Monday night's game against Kansas City in Mexico City. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes passes against the Tennessee Titans in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
Everyone hopes the playing surface at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca will not be the main story of Monday night’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers.
Both coaches said they have received favorable updates about the turf going into the game. Last year’s game between the Chiefs and Rams was moved back to Los Angeles less than a week before the game when the field was deemed unplayable because of rain and the stadium hosting concerts less than a month before the game.
"Everything that I've been told has been positive," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said.
The teams have taken different approaches to preparing. The Chargers have spent the week at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs to get acclimated to the altitude. The Chiefs have kept their same routine with the only adjustment being to hydrate more according to quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
It is an important AFC West matchup for both teams. Kansas City (6-4) won its first four games but has dropped four of its past six, allowing Oakland to get within a half-game of the division lead. Los Angeles (4-6) has struggled for most of the season but remains only two games out.
This is the first of two straight crucial division games for the Chiefs. After their bye week they will host the Raiders on Dec. 1.
“To say you are in control of your own destiny at 4-6 is pretty rare,” Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said.
Here are other things to watch as the Chargers play an international home game for the second straight season:
Rivers leads the league in passing yards (2,816) but is also third in interceptions (10). He had three last week against Oakland, including a pick-6 that loomed large in what turned out to be a 26-24 loss to the Raiders.
The Chargers were among the league’s better teams in not committing turnovers the past two seasons, but their 16 giveaways this season are tied for seventh in the league. Five have occurred in goal-to-go situations.
“We’ve made some critical mistakes and not being able to overcome them,” Rivers said.
Mahomes returned to the lineup last week after missing two games because of a knee injury. He threw for 446 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s loss to Tennessee but said on Thursday that this is the best he has felt since early September.
“I would say going into the Jacksonville game,” he said. “Just not having to worry about the ankle or not have to worry about the knee and just being able to go out there and play football the way that I have been able to play it my whole career so far.”
Los Angeles defensive ends Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa have been a handful for opposing offensive lines lately. They have combined for nine sacks over the past four games.
Bosa is third in the AFC with 8½ sacks on the season while Ingram has added 4½. Ingram had 1½ sacks against Mahomes in Week 15 last season.
ON THE MEND
Kansas City is beginning to get some of the pieces back on its offensive and defensive lines. Offensive tackles Eric Fisher (groin), Cam Erving (ankle) and guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (ankle) have been full participants this week while Mitchell Schartz (knee) is limited. Defensive end Frank Clark (neck) has also been a full participant.
The Chiefs though are likely to be without defensive ends Emmanuel Ogbah (pectoral) and Alex Okafor (ankle).
KEEP AN EYE ON
Chargers running back Melvin Gordon. He rushed for a season-high 108 yards last week and seems to be regaining his stride after missing the first four games because of a contract dispute. He had 166 scrimmage yards (102 receiving, 64 rushing) the previous time he faced Chiefs, who are ranked 31st in the league in run defense.
Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant was carted off the field in Week 14's game against the Houston Texans. The rookie suffered a foot injury and was taken to the locker room on a cart but was later seen returning to the sideline, also on the cart. With the Broncos up 38-17 in the fourth quarter, there's no reason to rush Fant back into the game. Before leaving, he'd caught four passes for 113 yards and a touchdown.
Miami Dolphins wide receivers Devante Parker (concussion) and Albert Wilson (concussion) have both been ruled out for Sunday's game at the Jets. Parker had two catches for 28 yards before being evaluated for a concussion and Wilson had just one catch for five yards. The Dolphins will update the status of each after the game but both are question marks for next week. Allen Hurns and Isaiah Ford are the leading receivers for Miami with tight end Mike Gesicki also expected to see more usage if Parker were to miss time.
New England Patriots WR Mohamed Sanu (ankle) is officially active for the team's Week 14 game.
Fantasy Spin: Sanu has had one good game since joining the Patriots but has been dealing with the ankle injury. He should see a solid amount of targets and can be a No. 3 receiver or flex option in fantasy leagues.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston (hand) suffered a right hand injury during the Week 14 game and is considered questionable to return.
Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players should keep an eye on the situation to see if Winston will miss an extended period of time because of the injury. Ryan Griffin would take over the starting job if Winston is sidelined but should be avoided in fantasy leagues.
Atlanta Falcons CB Desmond Trufant (forearm) suffered a forearm injury during the Week 14 game and is considered questionable to return.
Detroit Lions DT A'Shawn Robinson (shoulder) suffered a shoulder injury during the Week 14 game and is considered questionable to return.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Auden Tate was forced to leave Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns with an apparent ankle injury. Tate went down awkwardly on his ankle in the third quarter after making a catch, and while he was able to walk off the field under his own power, he was soon after walking to the locker room with his gloves and helmet off. There has been no official announcement yet, but Tate looked doubtful to return at best. Before getting hurt, he made one catch for 16 yards on four targets.
New England Patriots WR Julian Edelman (shoulder) is officially active for the team's Week 14 game.
Fantasy Spin: Edelman continues to be the main option in the passing game for the Patriots and will see plenty of targets this week. He is a must-start option in all leagues.
New Orleans Saints tight end Jared Cook (concussion) has been ruled out for the remainder of Sunday's game with the 49ers. Cook took a hit to the head that was flagged for targeting a defenseless receiver while coming down with his second touchdown of the day. Cook was evaluated for a possible head injury and has been ruled out according to the team's Twitter account. Josh Hill is now listed as the team's starting tight end but he won't have any fantasy relevance. Expect Taysom Hill to play the role of tight end for New Orleans near the goal line.
Washington Redskins running back Derrius Guice has been ruled out for the remainder of Week 14's game against the Green Bay Packers. Guice exited due to a knee injury and was immediately labeled as questionable to return. Not much later, he was ruled out for the rest of the contest. Before being forced to leave, Guice ran the ball five times for an explosive 42 yards. With all of Guice's previous knee issues, this is of course something to keep an eye on heading into Week 15 as well. Adrian Peterson will carry the load for Washington on the ground for as long as Guice is out.
The Oakland Raiders have declared LB Kyle Wilber, WR Hunter Renfrow, CB Isaiah Johnson, DL Terrell McClain, QB Mike Glennon, OG Trent Brown and RB Josh Jacobs inactive for Week 14.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have declared CB Artie Burns, QB Paxton Lynch, LB Tuzar Skipper, RB James Conner, OT Chukwuma Okorafor, TE Zach Gentry and WR JuJu Smith-Schuster inactive for Week 14.
The Kansas City Chiefs have declared QB Chad Henne, CB Rashad Fenton, RB Damien Williams, OT Jackson Barton, CB Morris Claiborne, TE Deon Yelder and OG Nick Allegretti inactive for Week 14.
Oakland Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (shoulder) has been ruled out for week 14 vs Tennessee. Jacobs was attempting to play through a broken shoulder plate but was ruled out after testing his shoulder with trainers during pregame warmups. Jalen Richard and Deandre Washington would likely split work in Jacobs' absence with Richard having more fantasy relevance thanks to his role in the passing game.
Updating a previous report, New Orleans Saints TE Jared Cook (concussion) suffered a concussion during the Week 14 game and will not return.
Fantasy Spin: Cook will need to pass all of the concussion tests before he is cleared to play, so his status for Week 15 is uncertain. Josh Hill would be the main tight end for the Saints if Cook misses time and could be a low-end No. 1 tight end in deeper leagues.
Baltimore Ravens TE Mark Andrews (knee) suffered a knee injury during the Week 14 game and is considered doubtful to return.
Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players will need to keep an eye on the situation since Andrews has been one of the better tight ends in the NFL. Hayden Hurst and Nick Boyle would see more targets if Andrew misses any time and could be starting options in some leagues.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DT Carl Davis, DB Ronnie Harrison, TE Seth DeValve, CB Tae Hayes, QB Joshua Dobbs, OT Brandon Thomas and DT Dontavius Russell inactive for Week 14.
The Los Angeles Chargers have declared LB Denzel Perryman, OG Spencer Drango, DB Tevaughn Campbell, DL Jerry Tillery, QB Easton Stick, OT Trey Pipkins and S Roderic Teamer inactive for Week 14.
Washington Redskins CB Quinton Dunbar (hamstring) suffered a hamstring injury during the Week 14 game and is considered questionable to return.
Washington Redskins running back Derrius Guice (knee) exited Sunday's game vs the Packers and is being evaluated for a possible knee injury. Guice walked off under his own power, but given his injury history, there's reason to be concerned. The team doctors were looking at his left knee which is the one he injured earlier this season. The Redskins have listed him as questionable to return. Adrian Peterson would see an uptick in carries in Guice's absence.