After the Week 1 brawl versus the Texans, Mahomes and the Chiefs face off against the division rival Chargers Week 2. With injuries across the defense, who can the Chiefs count on to show up versus the Chargers on Sunday?
Week 2 for Patrick Mahomes throughout his career thus far has always been a good one. The Chiefs are also 9-1 against the Chargers since 2015, and with a new quarterback under center, this Chargers team hasn’t started out the season too hot. Still, the Chiefs will need these five players to show up to ensure a win versus our division rivals.
After a stellar rookie debut in Week 1, L’Jarius Sneed looks to be a promising young corner in the Chiefs secondary. Earning the start last week due to Bashaud Breeland’s suspension, Sneed held his own matching up with the Texans receivers, even coming away with his first career interception off of a Tyrann Mathieu pressure.
With starting CB Charvarius Ward declared out with a broken hand for Week 2, Sneed will once again be tasked with starting at boundary CB. Facing two talented receivers in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, Sneed will have to make some big-time plays to keep the Chiefs defense ahead in the passing game.
Likely earning the start opposite of Sneed this week, Rashad Fenton will also be tasked with covering either Keenan Allen and Mike Williams on the outside. Going into his second year, Fenton didn’t start out the season strong, being giving up three completions on three targets Week 1 versus Houston.
Fenton only played 39 snaps at boundary CB last season, with 35 of those snaps coming in Week 17 versus the Chargers. Primarily a slot corner, Fenton will have an even more daunting task as he is thrust into the boundary CB role versus two of the best in the league, and the 2019 6th round pick will look to show up big on Sunday.
Nicknamed the “Whart-hog”, UDFA DL Tershawn Wharton was a surprising name that made the Chiefs 53-man roster at the start of the season. His play Week 1 showed why he earned that spot, having a quietly great game against the Texans interior offensive line.
With DT Khalen Saunders out with an elbow injury, Wharton will be called upon even more versus the Chargers run-heavy offense. Wharton showed flashes in the pass rush and run game Week 1 that should give the Chiefs some more confidence with lining him up in the middle. With a battered Chargers interior offensive line, Wharton might have a great game.
Yet another rookie who had a sneaky impressive Week 1, Mike Danna will look to progress even more in Los Angeles. The Chiefs defensive line as a whole got after Deshaun Watson heavily in Week 1, with Danna accounting for two QB pressures himself.
After DE Alex Okafor’s hamstring injury last week, Danna showed that he could fill in and take snaps right off the bat. With a defensive line as stacked as the Chiefs’, Danna could take advantage of the situation and pull out a stellar performance, and with Okafor out for Week 2, he’ll likely be targeted as the weakest link.
The Chiefs don’t start rookies all too often, and that is especially true at the punter position. Taking over for 15-year veteran Dustin Colquitt, UDFA Tommy Townsend took over the punting and holding duties for the season.
With 3 punts in Week 1, Townsend’s rookie debut was as solid and uneventful as you’d hope for a rookie punter. But special teams is a big part of the game, and Townsend will have to continue to be consistent in the punt game and adept on holding for one of the best kickers in the league, Harrison Butker.
The Chiefs Week 2 matchup versus the Chargers is sure to be an eventful one, and one that is likely going to culminate with a Chiefs victory. Facing a young Chargers team with Tyrod Taylor behind center, the Chiefs shouldn’t have much to worry about, but errors and mistakes can be the difference between a win and a crushing defeat.