After back-to-back road games, the Chargers return to SoFi Stadium in Week 11 with the Chiefs coming to town for the second of two meetings this season.
The Chargers suffered two more season-ending injuries to the defensive line over the past week with Christian Covington going down with a pec injury and Otito Ogbonnia with a patella tendon rupture.
On offense, the Chargers are showing life of getting healthier. Right tackle Trey Pipkins will play on Sunday after missing last week's game with a knee injury. Wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are listed as questionable and are game-time decisions, Chargers coach Brandon Staley said. Allen and Williams, however, voiced optimism for playing, indicating that barring any setbacks, they'll be a go against the Chiefs.
Kicker Dustin Hopkins is listed as doubtful and isn't expected to play. Cameron Dicker will handle the kicking duties for the third consecutive week.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs placed wide receiver Mecole Hardman on injured reserve Thursday because of an abdominal injury, ruling him out for the next four games. Among other notables, Kansas City ruled out wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and cornerback Chris Lammons.
A lot has changed since the Chargers and Chiefs last played in Week 2. Particularly in the case of injuries. The Chargers will be without four starters on defense who were on the field when they faced off the first time around on Sept. 15.
Also, the personnel on offense for the Chiefs will look much different. They've transitioned towards a backfield that favors rookie running back Isiah Pacheco over Clyde Edwards-Helaire. They also added wide receiver Kadarius Toney ahead of the NFL trade deadline, adding a new vertical threat.
Assuming Allen and Williams return for the Chargers, the lift it will provide offensively cannot be overstated. The've only played been on the field together for three quarters of football this season. Getting them back into the mix, the Chargers offense will be able to operate in ways they haven’t been able to do so for large portions this season.
On the flip-side, they'll be tasked with trying to slow down the Chiefs' high-flying offense, who enter this week's matchup first in points per game (30) and second in total yards per game (423).
It's been well documented that when these two teams meet, the outcome typically comes down to the final moments of the game. I see that being the case yet again on Sunday night.
With that said, my concerns for the Chargers stem from their defense being roughed up with injuries. Not being able to rush the passer outside of Khalil Mack and their deficiencies in stopping the run, feel like a lot to overcome when facing the league's top offensive operation with Patrick Mahomes and Any Reid dialing it up.
I think Justin Herbert keeps the Chargers in this game until the very end, but ultimately aren't able to knock off the No. 1 team in the AFC during this primetime showing.
Prediction: Chiefs 31, Chargers 27
2022 game prediction record: 7-2
- Nick Cothrel, Beat Writer
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Read more from Charger Report:
- Chargers' Wide Receivers Keenan Allen, Mike Williams Trending Towards Playing in Week 11 vs. Chiefs
- Chargers vs. Chiefs Week 11 Injury Report: Friday
- Chargers' Roughed Up Defensive Line Attempts to Bring Along New Reinforcements Quickly in Preparation for Chiefs
- Chargers Wide Receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams Making Progress From Injuries: Where do They Stand in Their Return?
- Chargers Place DL Otito Ogbonnia and DL Christian Covington on Injured Reserve, Sign Two Players
Nick Cothrel is the publisher of Charger Report. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel for more Chargers coverage.