Heading into Week 1, the Kansas City Chiefs were a new-look team but still maintained the same legendary trio of head coach Andy Reid, quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce. That, combined with some contributions from newcomers and a very impressive performance on defense, was more than enough to secure a blowout 44-21 victory against the Arizona Cardinals on the road.
Despite returning to Kansas City for game No. 2 of the regular season, things project to be a bit different this time around. The Los Angeles Chargers, a team many picked before the season to win the AFC West, are no slouch of an opponent. Quarterback Justin Herbert is one of the very best in the NFL, and LA's defense projects to be an improved unit from a year ago. Things likely won't come easy for Kansas City in Week 2.
With the Thursday Night Football bright lights set and both teams ready to roll, this has the makings of what could be one of the best games of the young 2022 season. The winner of Thursday's contest will take sole possession of first place in the AFC West, whereas the loser falls to 1-1 and gets back to the drawing board with a bit of catching up to do.
How will tonight's game unfold? The Arrowhead Report crew makes their predictions.
Jordan Foote: Practically everyone is picking this game to be a high-scoring affair between two of the most exciting quarterbacks in the sport. That's all fine and dandy, and I'm not denying that yards will come in abundance, but I'll take the under on total points scored here. The Chiefs having something to prove and the advantage of their home crowd could be what ultimately decides this game. It was a tough call to make, but I'm rolling with Patrick Mahomes and the brand-new Chiefs offense building on what it did in Week 1 by helping secure a 2-0 start. On the other side of the ball, Steve Spagnuolo's defense will do just enough to hold off a potent Los Angeles attack.
Prediction: Chiefs 27, Chargers 24
Mark Van Sickle: The Chargers are coming off a close home win against the division rival Las Vegas Raiders, while the Chiefs are coming off an impressive road win in Arizona. Keenan Allen will be sorely missed this week by the chargers, and the Chiefs will need to adjust their secondary since they’re without rookie Trent McDuffie. Mahomes and the offense should be just fine. We may even see Skyy Moore’s first touchdown as a pro. With Harrison Butker ruled out, I’d expect the Chiefs to go for it more often than not if they are in plus territory. In the end, I think the Chiefs will be able to do more on offense than the Chargers and come out with a win in their home opener.
Prediction: Chiefs 34, Chargers 28
Marlow Ferguson Jr.: Can we first just talk about how awesome it is to have an AFC Championship-caliber matchup on a Thursday night? A lot’s been made already in regards to Justin Herbert’s 2-0 record on the Chiefs’ home turf but given the way Kansas City opened Week 1, it’s safe to say there’s an abnormally-sized chip on their shoulder to start the year. The loss of Keenan Allen could prove costly, especially given Mike Williams’s boom-or-bust play style. Khalil Mack re-welcomed himself to the NFL with a three-sack debut, leading the Chargers to six as a team. Unlike the Cardinals, this Chargers group doesn’t have to be blitz-heavy to get home. I'm thinking we get some fireworks both ways in a narrow Chiefs victory.
Prediction: Chiefs 31, Chargers 25
Conner Christopherson: This is possibly the most important home game on the calendar for the Chiefs in a year full of crazy games at home. With the Chiefs and Chargers being the only AFC West teams coming out of Week 1 with a win, the matchup on Thursday will give the winner a huge early-season lead on the division. The Chargers have built up the talent to challenge the Chiefs' streak of division wins — it's now a matter of if they can execute. Will the new-look Chiefs offense perform better against the Chargers' defense than it has in the past? Will the young defense hold up against Justin Herbert? One thing that is certain is that this will be an excellent game.
Prediction: Chiefs 30, Chargers 27
Zack Eisen: It’s a short turnaround for the AFC West foes heading into their Week 2 matchup, and both teams are coming off a win in Week 1. The Chargers played another division rival in the Las Vegas Raiders and took care of them by the score of 24-19. Los Angeles was led by getting pressure on the opposing quarterback, forcing turnovers, and their quarterback Justin Herbert. The Chiefs’ defense has a tall task ahead of them in defending Herbert. However, if they can build off their play from last week, they'll be just fine. Kansas City also has the best player in the world on its side. The team has heard about how Herbert and the Chargers are better all offseason, and the Chiefs will make a statement on Thursday night and win their home opener.
Prediction: Chiefs 33, Chargers 24