Last spring when the NFL published its schedule, we first figured the match of this year in the AFC are in Week 15, and we were appropriate.

What we didn’t realize was that it’d be in Kansas City, not Pittsburgh.

The New England Patriots have been playing the Pittsburgh Steelers back Sunday in what used to be the game which determined the AFC’s No. 1 seed. But this year, New England is vulnerable on the street and Pittsburgh has lost three matches in a row and they don’t really seem as the powerhouses when they met around the period they appeared to be. Maybe they’ll arrive, but for the time being, that game has lost some of its allure.

In comparison, Thursday night in Kansas City, both best teams from the AFC square away in a game which could determine from the AFC West winner to the conference’s No. 1 seed into this la Chargers‘ sensation of selfworth.

We were all so ignorant and young then. We also didn’t understand that the Chargers would lose only two more matches before both of these teams met again (someone to the identical pesky Rams and also another, oddly, at one point at home into the Denver Broncos).

How that it creates today, it is possible that the winner of Thursday’s match may have home-field advantage through the AFC playoffs whilst the loser could have the conference’s second best album however be a wild-card team who needs to play with three road games to reach the superbowl. This is a big one, and there isn’t any point in trying to paint it.

“I don’t care if my guys understand it is really a big match,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn told me Monday afternoon. “I need them to adopt playing big games. That is what it’s all about — establishing an expectation that you’re going to take big games Once you’re building a program. My only issue is, you can not let it be a thing which produces stress.

The Chiefs won this match 30-13 because Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers threw three interceptions. Kansas City went on to win the branch.

“If we play with a clean game, I like our chances,” Lynn explained. “The turnover bug has really bitten us against this team.”

The Chargers have perpetrated a total of 25 turnovers since the start of this 2017 season — the smallest total of any team in the NFL. Of those 25, a nine have come in their three matches against the Chiefs. Therefore that is part of it, kansas City is fourth in the league in takeaways over that time, with 49. But when 3-6 percent of your turnovers in a period are against one team, you must figure they are in your head.

“The nine in a row is one thing, but I’m 0-3 against this team, which is too many,” Lynn explained. “We are doing what we can to try to break that streak. We have to really go out and play convinced and relaxed. That is when this team plays with its best soccer”

Confidence must not be an issue for either of these teams Thursday. Each lived a Week 14 snare game — the Chiefs finding its way back to beat the Baltimore Ravens in overtime and also the Chargers holding off a dire Cincinnati Bengals team. The Chargers are a week and a half taken in the stunning 16-point comeback success in Pittsburgh. The Chiefs have secured a playoff spot, and also their tiebreaker edge here runs deep enough they could lose this match and still win the division and also the No. 1 seed only by winning their final two.

But let us be fair. After last year’s home playoff awarded Chiefs coach Andy Reid’s history in the postseason, and collapse into the Titans, it behooves the Chiefs to enter the playoffs with just as much confidence. By losing a mid-December match which leads them to wonder whether they the greatest team within their division, that wouldn’t be helped with.

And on the other hand, it’s no stretch to say a win here could grant a level of validity to the Chargers in the view of the environment, if not their own locker room. The Steelers triumph, the 5-1 road album, the nine wins in their past 10 games — most that adds up to high level of confidence. But the Chiefs are. After checking this box off Moving into the playoffs will feel much different than moving if they could beat Kansas City in wondering.

Since there often maintain Thursday games, there are problems on each side. Star safety Eric Berry may create his long-awaited return from injury for the Chiefs, however electrifying receiver/returner Tyreek Hill is nursing a foot injury. Neither team is convinced that which it has running back. 2017 NFL rushing leader Kareem Hunt after having a video surfaced of a woman being assaulted by him in a hotel hallway was published by the Chiefs. Chargers celebrity Melvin Gordon has missed two straight matches with a knee injury, and Lynn said Monday they still don’t understand just how much, if anything else, Gordon is going to be able to provide them with Thursday. Backup Austin Ekeler is coping with a throat injury, so maybe it’s around good-looking rookie Justin Jackson to carry the load in K.C.

You may presume, based on five years’ worth of history, you know exactly how this game is going to turn out. And you may be right. But the Chargers seem sufficient to allow you to believe next month, these teams may meet for a third period. Of course if they lose a 10th straight game it’s not going to be because they certainly weren’t ready to it.

“Should you find us stopping the rush and offensively playing with a lot of balance, we’re difficult to prevent, irrespective of that we’re playing,” Lynn explained. “That, and I believe, special teams need to appear. And especially with this creature [Hill] we’re visiting back there, No. 10. We now need to contain him. So we realize it’s not likely to be easy, but we’ll get ready, and we’ll see what goes on.”

Can’t wait.

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