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Know Your Enemy: How Do The Chargers Stack Up Against The Chiefs?

The Chargers continue to improve their roster year after year. Is this the year they will challenge the Chiefs for the AFC West crown? Breaking down each position group and how they match up with the Chiefs.

The Chargers continue to improve their roster year after year. Is this the year they will challenge the Chiefs for the AFC West crown? Breaking down each position group and how they match up with the Chiefs.

Of all the teams in the AFC West, the Chargers are the greatest threat to the Chiefs. Justin Herbert has emerged as a true superstar and has a talented roster backing him up. Despite the Chargers not making the playoffs in 2021, they were a team who could compete with anyone they faced. That includes beating the Chiefs early in the season.

So, let’s break down every position group for each roster, and see who comes out on top on paper. Of course, when it comes to football it is truly “Any Given Sunday” and the better team on paper doesn’t always win. However, having the roster advantage certainly helps boost your odds of winning.

For reference, you can click here to view the Chiefs’ current depth chart.

Click here to view the Chargers’ current depth chart.

Chiefs Have The Clear Edge When It Comes To Coaching

Quickly we will discuss the coaching staff for each team. Brandon Staley has been interesting, to say the least when it comes to his coaching decisions. He has shown to be a robot when it comes to analytics and will go for it whenever the odds tell him to do so. I wouldn’t say he is a bad coach by any means, but when you stack him up next to Andy Reid there is no real comparison there yet. Maybe Staley can climb the mountain with Justin Herbert, but he still has a long way to go.

I would also give the nod to the Chiefs’ offensive and defensive coordinators. Eric Bieniemy is still one of the most underappreciated coaches in the NFL, and Steve Spagnuolo has helped two different defenses win the Super Bowl. Joe Lombardi showed promise last year as an offensive coordinator, but similar to Staley is still new to the position. Staley also calls the defensive plays, so it’s hard to pick Renaldo Hill when not much is known about him.

No One — Not Even Herbert — Can Compete With The Chiefs’ QB

Justin Herbert is a phenomenal quarterback and in my mind one of the five best in the entire NFL. That being said, Patrick Mahomes IS the best quarterback in the entire NFL. When it comes to the NFL no position makes a bigger impact on the game than quarterback. The fact that two of the best in the league, and after this season perhaps the two best quarterbacks in the league, are in the same division is going to create fireworks.

Justin Herbert is a physical freak, and athletically has a higher upside than Mahomes. He has improved each season, and he will continue to strike fear in the hearts of Chiefs fans for the next decade. However, to this point, Mahomes has had the greatest start to the career of just about any quarterback in history. So, even though the Chiefs win this category for now, Chargers fans should be happy about their quarterback situation.

Chargers Get the Nod At Running Back With Chiefs’ Uncertainty

While Quarterback is one of the most impactful positions, running back may be one of the least impactful. Not because the position is useless, but because there is an abundance of talent at the position, and each year this only increases. Year after year we see running backs drafted in the late rounds or even undrafted running backs becoming top-tier starters.

That being said the Chargers have the clear advantage at the position currently. Austin Ekeler has proven to be one of the best receiving backs in the league, and can offer a unique skillset from the backfield. Meanwhile Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been a disappointing first-round pick for the Chiefs. Edwards-Helaire has been solid when healthy, but has struggled with health. By the end of the season these rankings could change depending on if “Glyde” puts it together, or if Isiah Pacheco parlays his offseason hype into the regular season, but for now the Chargers win this one.

Both The Chiefs And Chargers Have Interesting Wide Receivers

When it comes to breaking down who has the better wide receivers it comes down to what you prefer, depth or top-end talent. The Chargers have Keenan Allen and Mike Williams who recently have both been better than any receiver on the Chiefs roster. Past that though, the Chargers receiver room is a lot of unproven players or role players. Meanwhile, the Chiefs have five solid receivers in Juju Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Mecole Hardman, Skyy Moore, and Justin Watson. Smith-Schuster and Moore have the potential to become stars with Mahomes, but we have to see them in action first.

So, it could go either way here. While I think on paper the Chiefs’ receivers are better, there are a lot of unknowns as well. The Chargers know what they have in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, and for that, I will give them the slightest edge at receiver. However, this choice is highly volatile and could change very quickly.

Tight End Is Another Easy Win For The Chiefs With Kelce In Tow

Travis Kelce. That’s all that really needs to be said here. Donald Parham has shown great upside for a player that had to play in the XFL before getting a shot with the Chargers. That being said there is no team in the NFL who can argue they have a better TE than Travis Kelce. Noah Gray and Jody Fortson have also had great training camps, and may prove to be the depth the Chiefs have been missing at the position past Kelce.

Offensive Line Is Another Close Call, But Chiefs Get The Edge

The Chargers have quietly put together one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. Rashawn Slater is already playing at an All-Pro level, Corey Linsley has been one of the best centers in the NFL for the past several years, and Zion Johnson was my top guard prospect in this year’s NFL draft. They do have some question marks at left guard and right tackle. Matt Feiler is an okay player, but nothing special. Similar to the Chiefs the real hole is at right tackle. Storm Norton is not the answer, and it may become an issue this year for the Chargers.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs have high-end starters at every position on the line except for the right tackle. Andrew Wylie has shown to be a solid player, but similar to Feiler he isn’t the long-term answer. Both teams will have top-end offensive lines, but the Chiefs get the slight nod because they only have one question mark.

Chargers Defensive Line Is Something To Fear, Chiefs Lose Here

Chris Jones is one of the best interior defensive linemen in the NFL, and George Karlaftis has shown to be relentless off the edge. The Chiefs have made their best attempt to bolster their defensive line this offseason, but this one isn’t close.

The Chargers have one of the best defensive lines in the NFL. The Chiefs will hope to finish middle of the pack at best. Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack, and Sebastian Joseph-Day headline the Chargers’ defensive line. If this group manages to stay healthy they will wreak havoc on the league. The Chiefs’ got some easy wins on the offensive side of the ball, but defense is where the Chargers shine.

Chiefs Have Young DB Group, Meanwhile, The Chargers Have Stars

While I love the Chiefs new additions to the defensive back room, they are too young to compete with the star power of the Chargers group. Trent McDuffie, Justin Reid, and Bryan Cook may all become stars this season, but Derwin James and JC Jackson are already two of the best players at safety and cornerback respectively in the entire NFL. Asante Samuel Jr. has also already shown great potential for the Chargers.

Personally, I believe the Chiefs may have the better group by the end of the season, but players need to develop and there are too many unknowns to be confident in that opinion. Chiefs fans should be excited for their defensive back group this season, but they can’t compete with the Chargers quite yet.

Chiefs Get One Win On The Defensive Side, With Young Trio

The lone win for the Chiefs on defense is their linebacking corps. Nick Bolton, Willie Gay Jr., and Leo Chenal highlight one of the youngest and most exciting linebacking groups in the entire NFL. They are young, but all have shown great potential, and have great athletic upside. By the end of the season we may be looking at one of the best linebacking groups in the NFL, but once again that hinges on capitalizing on potential.

Kenneth Murray has been disappointing for the Chargers with a lack of development. Drue Tranquill has been a solid player but has a lower athletic upside. Kyle Van Noy will provide some veteran presence, but has seen some regression due to age. It’s not a good group, but not an awful group either. If linebacker is the one weakness of the Chargers defense, then I’m sure they will be just fine.

Special Teams Goes To The Chiefs And Coach Dave Toub

There’s no need to spend much time here. Harrison Butker is one of the better kickers in the NFL. I’ll give the Chargers the edge at punter, but I’d give any team the edge at punter versus the Chiefs. Tommy Townsend may be the worst active punter in the league. The Chiefs may want to try Justin Reid out at punter if we’re being honest.

Conclusion: Chiefs Have The Better Roster In An Offensive League

The Chiefs and the Chargers both have great rosters, but the advantage overall goes to the team in Kansas City. The Chargers have the better defense, but this is an offensive-oriented league. Defense isn’t what it used to be. The Chiefs have shown they can put up 30 or more points on any defense, so if you can’t keep up with that on offense then it doesn’t matter.

The Chargers have a great offense as well, but they just don’t quite reach the greatness that the combo of Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid bring. The Chargers are certainly a team to watch out for, but the Chiefs still have the edge for now.

To see my thoughts on Skyy Moore in 2022 click here.


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