What to watch for in Chiefs-Chargers on 'MNF'

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  • By Grant Gordon NFL.com
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On just the fourth occasion, the NFL's regular season will see a game played in Mexico City as a buenos noches is looked to be had by the Chiefs and Chargers when the AFC West ventures south.

As the NFL's 2019 ventures to England have concluded, it will travel to Mexico City for the first and only time on this season's schedule.

The AFC West-leading Kansas City Chiefs (6-4) will look to rebound from another tight loss to fend off the Los Angeles Chargers (4-6), who are just the same aiming to come back from a nailbiting defeat, in the latest installment of Monday Night Football on ESPN at 8:20 p.m. ET from Estadio Azteca.

As the 2019 seasons continues to tell its tale, it's likely that Monday night's showdown will be a close one. Of the 10 combined losses for the squads, each and every one has been decided by one possession.

When last the teams met in 2018, the Chargers prevailed in a riveting 29-28 victory that halted the Chiefs' nine-game winning streak in the rivalry.

Here are four things to watch for on Monday night:

The young MVP vs. the veteran slinger at QB


With visions of Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson battling it out for autumns to arrive dancing through the minds of football fans, hopes are at a high for what will become among the AFC's brightest young stars at quarterback.

But Mahomes the magnificent still must contend with the ageless wonder that is Philip Rivers for the time being. This will be the rubber match between the star signal-callers, who are separated by 13 years but tied at a win apiece head-to-head.

Rivers' Chargers and Mahomes' Chiefs certainly haven't produced the sterling records of a season ago as AFC West heavyweights, but the lofty statistics are still there.

Mahomes is averaging NFL-bests of 328.3, nine yards an attempt and 18 touchdowns to just one interception. Back from a dislocated kneecap, Mahomes and his greatness is every bit on par with the 2018 stardom that led to his winning of the NFL MVP.

In the same season in which Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford's consecutive-starts streaks went by the wayside, Rivers will make his 219th straight start on Monday -- first among active quarterbacks and second all-time to Brett Favre.

Critics will point to the 37-year-old's 10 interceptions -- with three coming in last week's loss to the Raiders. However, Rivers is still leading the NFL with 2,816 yards passing.

It's very much the young rifleman facing the crafty old gunslinger on Monday.

Tight ends vie for the spotlight


In the absence of Mahomes, the Chiefs offense continued to put up big numbers.

It was a tribute to the coaching of Andy Reid and the better-than-expected play of Matt Moore, but also the arsenal of skill position talent possessed by Kansas City.

At the top of that list is Travis Kelce, who's putting forth another fantastic season. And now healthy, Hunter Henry, Kelce's Chargers counterpart, is doing the same.

Tied for 10th overall and first among tight ends, Kelce's 56 catches have produced 741 yards (first among tight ends/ ninth overall) and 74.1 yards per contest.

Henry's averaging 69.7 yards receiving per game -- which is second among tight ends right behind Kelce.

Following his return from a tibial plateau fracture, Henry has been excellent to the tune of 29 catches for 458 yards and three touchdowns. In four previous games against the Chiefs, Henry has struggled with a combined eight catches for 91 yards and one score.

Kelce's production has similarly waned against the Bolts, as he's averaged 4.1 catches for 37.7 yards and never had a touchdown in 10 games in the rivalry.

Two consistently terrific tight ends will be looking to break out against their rivals for the first time.

Another big return for the Chiefs


Mahomes' return was rightfully met with plenty of attention a week ago.

However, a game before that, the Chiefs welcomed back another huge talent and contributor when defensive lineman Chris Jones took the field in Week 9 against the Vikings after overcoming a groin injury that had sidelined him since Week 5.

A ridiculous Pro Bowl snub in 2018 when he produced 15.5 sacks, Jones has quickly made a ruckus in his two games back, tallying a combined 11 tackles, three sacks, two tackles for loss and four quarterback hits in that span.

Against a patchwork Chargers offensive line, Jones' bountiful return should continue to come to fruition as he continues to assert himself as one of the best defensive linemen in the game.

Thomas Davis is turning back the clock


Following 14 seasons with the Panthers, linebacker Thomas Davis thought he could be an added piece to put the Chargers over the top.

What Davis is doing is turning out a Pro Bowl-caliber campaign.

His 78 tackles (t12th in the NFL) are tops on the Chargers by 30. The number is just one tackle shy of his season total for 12 games last season and has already eclipsed his production in a 15-game Pro Bowl 2017 season.

The 36-year-old Davis, coming off an 11-tackle showing against the Raiders, has been stellar for the Chargers and looks to be in prime form as L.A. hits prime time.

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