The Kansas City Chiefs welcome the Los Angeles Chargers to Arrowhead for a game that could potentially decide the future of the AFC West. Both teams are coming off a loss that they feel like they probably should have won.
This will be a battle of two teams that need to improve on defense and have shown the ability to score incredibly well on offense.
ELITE QB BATTLE
Justin Herbert started his NFL career with a surprise start vs the Chiefs in week 2 of last season and he showed from the first drive he had the ability to play at the pro level. Herbert finished the game with 22/33 passing for 311 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. His performance in that game very much mirrors his start to this season, where he has shown flashes of his incredible arm, been very efficient on third down and also made some bad decisions when throwing down the field. The Chargers offense will need to find a way to improve their early down performance with them forcing Herbert to face the third most third downs in the NFL after two weeks.
Patrick Mahomes has started the season on his usual dazzling form and also proved to many doubters he has the mental patience to take what the defense gives him when teams are playing with two high safeties. Brandon Staley ran two high safeties more than any other DC last season, so I would expect Mahomes to have to take what the defense gives him and be patient for his chances to throw the ball deep down the field.
Mahomes and Herbert will get to target some of the best weapons the AFC has to offer, fantasy fans will be keeping a close eye on this one. Both these QBs sit at a 1-1 record with around 670 passing yards this season, however Herbert will be hoping to improve on his current record of two passing touchdowns and three interceptions if he wants a chance to beat Mahomes on the road.
TWO STRUGGLING DEFENSES THAT NEED TO IMPROVE
The Chargers and Chiefs are both known for their elite offensive power, but will both desire to improve upon their early showings on the defensive end. The Chiefs are 32nd in rush defense and the Chargers sit at 29th in the same category. This has been key in both teams tough loses this season and will really test the resolve of the other teams OC, will either side get away from their usual pass game to try and exploit the rushing defense? I think the Chargers with Austin Ekeler are the more likely of the two teams to try to do so, especially as the Chiefs are currently sitting with the worse rushing defense stats after two games in the history of the NFL. The Chiefs will also need to improve upon their record of giving away 100% of red zones drives against them as touchdowns if they want to avoid another nervy ending on Sunday.
THE BATTLE OF THE REBUILT OFFENSIVE LINES
This off-season both of these teams made the decision to fix their biggest issues from the season before which was the protection for their star quarterbacks. The early returns have been very good for both teams and you have to think if both lines can play well on Sunday we could be in for a true shootout between Mahomes and Herbert. Both teams boast elite pass rushers in Joey Bosa and Chris Jones that will hope to have success on Sunday, you have to think that the Chiefs will move Jones to rush against the Chargers back-up right tackle, Storm Norton, which could help him add to his two sacks in week 1 vs the Browns.
As we say every week a key factor in this one will be that the Chiefs will always be the most dangerous offense in the NFL as long as they have Mahomes, Kelce and Hill on their roster. The Chargers have defended Mahomes well for three quarters each time they have faced him, however Mahomes and this new offensive line have shown the ability to pass the ball down the field at will no matter what coverage they see and if they stick to their passing game I expect this game to be no different.
If the Chargers can improve on early downs and exploit the Chiefs terrible red zone defense, I expect them to keep this game closer than fans at Arrowhead would like and Chiefs fans will hope the coaching staff let Mahomes throw the ball as much as possible.
No shock that this is the highest game total of the week. Let’s hope we get a good old fashioned AFC West shootout.
Chiefs 37- 27 Chargers