Chargers Versus Chiefs Breakdown and Prediction
The Los Angeles Chargers (1-0) will open SoFi Stadium on Sunday afternoon against the division rival Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) at 1:25 p.m. local time on CBS with Tony Romo and Jim Nantz calling the game.
Anthony Lynn is 1-5 against the Chiefs since becoming the head coach of the Chargers. The Chiefs lead the all-time series record at 63-55-1. In their last encounter, Kansas City was victorious 31-21 over Los Angeles.
Last season, Lynn’s team went 0-6 in the division, which is something he wants to change this season. This will be the first division game of the season for the Chargers. He knows how tough this game will be especially because of the weapons Kansas City possesses on offense.
“I don't know if you can shut down the running game or the passing game, but we definitely have to slow them down,” explained Lynn. “If we can slow them down enough and I think we can be in good shape but I gotta say they're running a really good and their passing game has got some speed guys that can run after catch. So quick passing game can be just as dangerous as we definitely have found ways to slow them down, eliminate explosive plays.”
The biggest matchup to watch will be Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes against the Chargers pass rushers. He is a tough quarterback to sack. Last season, the Bolts only sacked him once in two games, which is something that defensive coordinator Gus Bradley wants to change. Look for the Chargers to dial up a little bit more pressure this weekend. They have a top-5 secondary that can hold its own against the Chiefs receivers. This is the game that Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram will need to be on their A-game.
Defensive player to watch
The Chiefs have a talented rookie running back named Clyde Edwards-Helaire that the Bolts will need to keep their eyes on especially defensive tackle Linval Joseph. The big man will need to plug up the middle, so that the rookie back doesn’t go crazy like he did against the Houston Texans. Joseph was very good last Sunday helping make life uncomfortable for Bengals running back Joe Mixon. Along with helping stop the running game, Joseph will need to help add pressure on Mahomes.
Offensive player to watch
The player to watch on offense will be running back Austin Ekeler. Last week, he ran the balls 19 times for 84 yards, but only had one reception for three yards. Chargers offensive coordinator Shane Steichen said this week that he wants to change that and give Ekeler more touches in the passing game. Ekeler will need to have a powerful game all around if the Bolts want to keep up with the Chiefs on the scoreboard.
Key to the game
Tyrod Taylor will be the key to this game. If the quarterback can have a strong game and not turn the ball over the Bolts have a chance. He has a lot of weapons on offense that he can spread the ball around to during the game. Last week, he found tight end Hunter Henry numerous times in the first half, but rarely threw his way in the second half. Taylor said this week that he needs to be better this weekend and needs to lead more drives that end with six points and not three.
The Chiefs are 8.5-point favorites going into the game on Sunday. The Chargers put center Mike Pouncey on IR this week, but other than that have no other questionable injuries heading into Sunday. The Chiefs have some notable injuries on the defense with cornerback Charvarius Ward and defensive end Alex Okafor will miss the game. Regardless of the Chiefs injures I don’t think it will be enough to slow them down.
Chiefs 23 Chargers 17