The Kansas City Chiefs have a short week as they prepare to face off against the Los Angeles Chargers. This will be the first Thursday Night game broadcasted on Amazon Prime, what should we expect from this electrifying matchup this Thursday?
Both teams were able to win their week one game as the Chargers beat divisional rivals Las Vegas Raiders and the Chiefs were able to beat the Arizona Cardinals. Justin Herbert had a good performance Sunday throwing three touchdowns for 279 yards. Patrick Mahomes had a lights-out performance throwing for 360 yards and five touchdowns with zero interceptions.
The defenses for each team had a great Sunday afternoon as Khalil Mack was able to get three sacks, now being tied at first in that category to start off the season. George Karlaftis was able to total six pressures and a deflection as he was one of the workhorses on that defensive line.
Also, Carlos Dunlap was able to get his first sack as a Chief and Chris Jones forced a fumble that was recovered by the opposing offense. The Chargers will be playing their second straight division game this week and with it being a short week on the road that put’s them at a disadvantage. What will the Chiefs have to do offensively and defensively to stop their division rival Los Angeles Charges to take sole possession of the first-place spot in the AFC West?
This will be the defense’s first challenge of the season as they are getting set to face off against Justin Herbert and his dynamic offense. With Keenan Allen being out, that gives KC DBs a chance on the outside. Trent McDuffie will be on IR taking him out for four weeks, leaving Jaylen Watson, another rookie the Chiefs drafted in the seventh round, to step up in his absence.
The Charger’s offense still has a great WR in Mike Williams who has had his best games against the Chiefs and running back Austin Ekeler wh is explosive out the backfield. The Chiefs’ front seven had a great game on Sunday against the Cardinals and is looking to carry that over Thursday Night. Nick Bolton leads the team in tackles with 10 total as he had a phenomenal performance out in the desert. His presence will be key in this matchup as Herbert is one of the best in the league who can create opportunities and make plays once he gets out of the pocket. Bolton being physical and fast would give that defense a chance to limit the improvisation of Herbert.
Jones, who is a menace in the middle will have to be as disruptive as he was last game. Herbert looks exceptionally comfortable in the pocket against the Raiders on Sunday. He had time in the pocket to go through all his reads and make the necessary play to move his offense downfield. Even though Jones did not get a sack Sunday, he had a near one that forced Murray out of the pocket and disrupted the timing of the play.
On Thursday, he will have to bring that same intensity, but this time bringing down Herbert will make their offense play from behind the sticks. If Jones can cause havoc in the middle of that offensive line, it will let guys like Karlaftis, Clark, and Dunlap capitalize on the one-on-one matchups to collapse the edge and make Herbert uncomfortable the whole night. If the front four can have an exceptional game and dominate up front, it will blanket the deficiency we are dealing with in the secondary and force unnecessary mistakes Herbert would like to avoid.
Mahomes and the offense looked marvelous on Sunday as they were able to put up 44 points and dominate the Cardinal’s defense. Mahomes was able to connect with four different receivers on touchdowns and had no turnovers on Sunday afternoon. Travis being Travis had 121 yards receiving and a touchdown to start off his 10th season in the league. Clyde Edwards Helaire had two receiving touchdowns in the red zone and Mahomes was able to find Fortson as well to start his comeback season from his Achilles injury last year.
Also, even though Mahomes and Hardman were not able to connect with each other on two deep balls, he was able to get him a touchdown in the air on a quick out in the red zone that will hope to get them two on the same page moving forward. Mahomes even admits he will owe Hardman two more touchdowns for those miscues on Sunday. Everyone was able to get involved on offense this past Sunday, but now their real test will come from divisional rivals Chargers on Thursday Night.
Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa who are looking to be the best edge rusher duo this season are coming to Arrowhead to try to ruin the Chiefs’ first home game of the season. Mack who had three sacks on Sunday is ready to do the same against KC as he will be matched up with Orlando Brown. Brown who is in a contract year after not getting a deal done this offseason will have to step up against one of the premier pass rushers in the league.
Those tight ends for KC and the running backs will be doing a lot of chipping during this game to slow down those edge rushers. Expect Mahomes and Reid to play the long game on those possessions as they will be getting the ball out fast to avoid and frustrate Mack and Bosa. There will be more screens and getting guys like McKinnon and Pacheco more involved in the offense as well on those flats to the outside and letting them go to work on those opposing linebackers.
Travis Kelce and JuJu Smith-Schuster will play an important role in this game because with their ability to get open in the secondary and pick apart zones, Mahomes will utilize that skillset to extend drives and wear out the opposing defense. The offense will do what they always do and find ways to put points up on the board. Even though it seems like the game moves a lot slower, it has been very much efficient and is the key to the success of the offense so far.
This game will be the most anticipated and probably the best matchup of week two. Herbert is trying to come to KC again and take another one just like he did last season. Although it is only week two, this game is important for both sides as they are looking to take sole possession of first place in the AFC West. The Chiefs have the advantage as they will be at home in Arrowhead Stadium with the motivation to defeat the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Chiefs have a tough 3 game stretch after the Colts in week three as they will have to face the Buccaneers, Raiders, and then the Buffalo Bills. This game is important because this can put them ahead and keep them from starting off the season like the last being at .500 or below until they went on a winning streak mid-season.
Arrowhead Live prediction for this matchup up 31-24 Chiefs.