Chiefs Week Two: What To Watch For Against The Chargers

September 13, 2022

The Thursday night Week Two tussle between the Kansas City Chiefs and perennial off-season champion Los Angeles Chargers will set the tone of who is truly in charge of the AFC West.

Another year, another off-season of national pundits claiming that this will finally be the year that the Chargers put it all together. After having won only two playoff games and exactly zero division titles since Barack Obama’s first term in office, the clamor gets to be a little tiresome.

Every year, they make some sort of big splash in the off-season, or they have a quarterback that might be the best in the NFL, or all of their key players are finally healthy, and then everyone wants to take a ride on the Chargers Hype Train which has always ended up with an early trip back to the station.

The Chiefs, meanwhile, are six-time defending AFC West champs, have hosted four straight AFC Championship Games, and have a quarterback that already has an MVP and Super Bowl under his belt. This Thursday night, these two teams will face off to see if the hype is finally for real, or if the Chiefs will remain atop their throne. Here is what I will be watching for in this matchup.

Will The Chiefs Or Chargers Have The Better Quarterback?

This game will be billed as a battle of two of the best quarterbacks in the league, and rightly so. While I do not believe that Justin Herbert has truly earned his spurs yet in the NFL, the sheer arm talent is truly there. Herbert can rifle the ball around the yard with the best of them and that was on display in Week One against the Las Vegas Raiders, going 26 of 34 for 279 yards, three touchdowns, and no picks.

His top option, Keenan Allen, however, is dealing with a hamstring issue that has him questionable for Thursday Night. Mike Williams, Jordan Palmer, and Austin Ekeler are all full-go’s so Herbert will still have plenty of toys to play with.

The Chiefs’ young secondary will certainly have a much harder test this week trying to slow down the Chargers’ aerial attack. Patrick Mahomes performed at a much higher level last week, completing 30 of his 39 passes for 360 yards, five touchdowns, and no interceptions. He has his full complement of weapons at his disposal. Clyde Edwards-Helaire also showed up as a bonus option out of the backfield, adding another wrinkle to an already multi-faceted attack plan.

LA’s defense might also be missing their brand new cornerback, J.C. Jackson due to an ankle issue that kept him out of Week One. The rest of the Charger defense is still very formidable and Asante Samuel, Jr. is no slouch if he needs to replace Jackson again. It will be fun to see how much the ball will be flying around Arrowhead come Thursday Night.

Who Wins Out? Chiefs Offensive Line or Chargers Defensive Line?

The Chiefs’ offensive line was less than stellar in pass protection in Week One. They didn’t allow a sack, but Mahomes got hit way more often than the team would like, especially the one where he injured his wrist. That’s not something that any Chiefs fan wants to see and this offensive line is going to be facing a major step up in competition. The Chargers defensive line went absolutely bonkers against the Raiders, sacking Derek Carr six times to go along with nine QB hits and led to three interceptions.

Four and a half of those sacks went to the tenacious tandem of Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack. One of the main keys to this game is going to be how well they keep Mahomes upright, and that might come down to how well the Chiefs run the ball. This O-Line has some monsters that want nothing more than road grade whoever is in front of them and the Chargers D-Line is built more for pass rushing than run stuffing.

The Chiefs averaged 4.7 yards per carry for 128 yards against the Arizona Cardinals while the Raiders got 4.9 yards per carry, but only ran the ball 13 times. The Chiefs are a much better offensive team and this could be a matchup that, if exploited properly, could be the main reason the Chiefs come out on top Thursday night.

All in all, this is going to be a fantastically entertaining football game between two of the most talked about teams in the league on a brand new(ish) platform so you can bet that the stops will certainly be pulled out for the production of this game. It’s the home opener at Arrowhead so the stadium is going to be rocking. The Chargers are certainly talented, but the Chiefs have been here several times before and have history on their side. Mahomes and company will be looking to derail the Chargers Hype Train before it even leaves the station.