Another Primetime matchup between the Chiefs and Chargers will unfold on Sunday Night. The Chargers are trying to keep pace in the Playoff race, and the Chiefs look to clinch the AFC West and keep pace at the top spot in the AFC.
Both teams dealing with an injury at Wide Receiver, look to still have explosive performances on the offensive side. With Mahomes and Herbert at quarterback, there is always still a possibility of an offensive clash with the amazing throws they are able to make and their playmaking ability to extend a drive.
With JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman dealing with injuries, KC will expect Valdes-Scantling and Toney to step up at wide receiver, and for the Chargers Williams and Allen have been limited at practice this week hoping to be ready on Sunday Night. What should we expect from the Chiefs’ offense without their top two wideouts in this upcoming division clash?
The Charger’s defense has always given this Chiefs offense problem every time they face off. With their leading touchdown leader in Mecole out and their leader in yardage Juju, what are some ways this offense can be creative and cause trouble to that Charger’s defense? The screen game will be very important in this upcoming matchup against LA. With Mack and Bosa on the edges and in the last matchup they were able to force pressure on Mahomes, he will need to get the ball to his weapons much faster and expect McKinnon to see a lot of time in the backfield.
Also, with the acquisition of Toney, the offense can still be effective with their RPO and reverse plays to open up the offense and keep the defense honest. Even though the two top Wideouts are out for the Chiefs, they still have one of the best at the tight end position Travis Kelce. His skillset of exposing zone coverage and picking the right areas to attack, it will allow deep threats like Valdes-Scantling and possibly Justin Watson who had a solid year can connect downfield with Mahomes on those big plays that will eventually open up.
The key for the offense in this matchup is to avoid mental errors and penalties that would kill the drive. It was proven in the first matchup that the offense can drive down the field with ease, but with the Chargers being a stingy defense, they can’t shoot themselves in the foot by making mental errors playing behind the chains.
This defense over the past couple of weeks has silently become one of the most aggressive and irritating defenses for opposing offenses. This is the same defense in Week 2, who injured Justin Herbert and made it rough for him the entire night after a big hit that gave him pain in his upper body area around the chest. Their star receivers are set to return and this will be the first big challenge for rookie Trent McDuffie. He has played exceptionally well since returning from injury and he has looked poised ever since his debut against the Cardinals at the start of the season.
With Williams being one of the best jump ball catchers and Allen’s elite route running skills, McDuffie, Watson, Williams, and Sneed will have a major test Sunday Night. They could use some major assistance from the front 4 who have been stepping up the last couple of games.
Chris Jones and the defensive line will have a test once again with Herbert and the offensive line. Herbert who is huge is pretty tough to bring down when trying to tackle will hope to use that to his advantage to escape pressure and extend a play. Khalen Saunders has been the MVP of that defensive line the past weeks will have to use his athleticism to help swarm Herbert and keep him contained in the pocket.
Frank Clark set to come back from suspension will be a huge addition as this line has been coming together and being one of the top teams in pressures in the NFL. Carlos Dunlap who has become the 8th active player in the NFL to have over 100 sacks, has been quite effective averaging a sack in the last 3 games as he is starting to pick up momentum on this defense.
The run defense has been somewhat sluggish throughout this 3 game stretch and with Austin Eckler, as RB it does not get much better. Bolton, Gay, and Chenal will have to step up big as Herbert is comfortable with using his RB in moments he feels pressured.
This last matchup of the season between the two could have major playoff implications. With the Chiefs leading the division 2 games ahead of everyone, a win in LA could close out the division race and they can essentially if they continue to win afterward lock up the division and tie all the teams with 15 division titles. Predictions for this matchup are Kansas City coming out on top 33-27 being another overtime thriller similar to last year.