Chargers running back Ronnie Brown has become one of the team's top receiving threats. (US Presswire)

The Chargers (3-4) face as close to a must-win game as there can be at the midseason point. It would appear the Chiefs (1-6) are the right opponent to snap a three-game losing streak. The Chargers, however, have struggled against perceived inferior opponents, and having to play on Thursday night makes it difficult for both teams to prepare.

“It’s a quick turnaround,” coach Norv Turner said. “I think our guys have responded extremely well. We moved around yesterday in a walk-through format. Today, we had a very fast practice, and I was impressed with the way they responded. Our focus is obviously getting ready for the game. There are things you would like to spend some time covering from the last game, but it’s hard to do.”

Brown seeing ball as receiver: RB Ronnie Brown is the Chargers' third-leading rusher with just 18 carries for 70 yards. However, he is the second leading receiver on the team with 27 receptions for 257 yards. Brown led all receivers last Sunday against the Browns with seven receptions for 85 yards and is behind only Malcom Floyd (29 catches, 461 yards) for the season. Brown could continue to see a heavy workload as a receiver on Thursday because wide receivers Eddie Royal and Robert Meachem are both battling hamstring injuries.

Brown didn't necessarily envision catching as many passes when he signed as a free agent.

“I was realistic in the fact that they had a lot of guys here that are capable of making plays," he said. "My thing was, I wanted to go to a team where I could be a piece of the puzzle and not have to go and be the guy and have to do these different things. I felt it was a good opportunity to be involved in an offense that gives guys different opportunities to make plays.”

Against the Chiefs in Week 4, Brown had three receptions for 23 yards.

Cassel will start: Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel confirmed that QB Matt Cassel will start on Thursday. Cassel was the Chiefs starter until he was benched in favor of Brady Quinn in Week 6. Kansas City had their bye in Week 7 and then Quinn suffered a head injury early in the game against the Raiders last week.

Cassel has only completed 59.7 percent of his passes this season. He has thrown 10 interceptions and just six touchdowns with a dismal passer rating of 69.0.

Charles will get his carries: Led by RB Jamaal Charles 595 rushing yards, the Chiefs rank first in the AFC with 155.1 rushing yards per game. Charles ranks third in the AFC with 85.0 rushing yards per game. Charles, however, only had five carries for four yards against the Raiders last week.

Defensive coordinator John Pagano is game planning as if that performance was an anomaly.

“[Charles] is one of the great running backs in the National Football League,” Pagano said. “I think they are going to increase his carries. I think it’s going to be a lot more [than last week].”

Charles had 17 carries for 92 yards (5.4 yards per carry average) and a TD in Week 4 against the Chargers.

Ajirotutu could play: WR Seyi Ajirotutu, who was signed on Monday, could play on Thursday despite not playing in a game this season. “You would like to be able to give a guy some time,” Turner said. “I don’t know if we are in that position.”

Kaeding waived:  As expected, K Nate Kaeding was released from the “Reserve-Injured” list making him an unrestricted free agent. Kaeding was placed on injured-reserve on Oct. 22 as result of a groin injury suffered Sept. 28, two days before the first meeting between the Chargers and Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Oct. 30.

Practice report: WR Eddie Royal (hamstring) did not practice. CB Chris Carr (quad) and WR Robert Meachem (hamstring) were limited. LT Jared Gaither (groin), DE Vaughn Martin (neck), ILB Jonas Mouton (hip) and ILB Takeo Spikes (elbow) fully participated.

What’s next: The Chargers will conduct a walk-through practice on Wednesday as if it were a normal Friday practice. The team will release an injury report after practice with the status probabilities for Thursday’s game.

Follow the Chargers and Dan McLellan on Twitter @CBSChargers and @sandiegosports.