Lightning Bolts Rolling In

Chargers @ Chiefs- What you need to know

Derek Dietz     @OriginalMrDietz                                                            
Sunday’s game against Arizona was certainly exciting.  The Chiefs took a quality NFL team behind the proverbial woodshed and gave them a good spanking.  As fun as that was, the focus must shift quickly to the Chargers rolling into town for a Prime-Time game Thursday night.

The Chiefs open as a -3 favorite at home against the Chargers.  The Chargers are a top-tier team, and that spread is not surprising.  The Chiefs will most likely trot out a new kicker Matt Ammendola while Butker’s ankle heals up.  Justin Reid did an excellent job stepping in Sunday for Butker, but he is not a realistic option ahead of the Chargers where a field goal may decide the game.

The Chiefs enter this game a little banged up.  The aforementioned Harrison Butker will most likely be out.  Trent McDuffie has a hamstring issue, Trey Smith rolled his ankle, and Justin Watson has a chest injury.  Hard to tell at this point if McDuffie and Smith will be able to go, but we will monitor the situation.  Nick Allegretti is a trusted backup and will do great if Trey Smith cannot go.

The Chargers also lost WR Keenan Allen to a hamstring injury Sunday.  Pending an MRI, and this being a quick turnaround game, I would find it unlikely that he would play.  JC Jackson, a key free agent acquisition for the Chargers this offseason, who underwent ankle surgery last month, is also doubtful for Thursday night’s game.

These games with the Chargers are always wild, coming down to the last drive.  The previous two games at Arrowhead belong to the Chargers, by scores of 38-21 (2020) and 30-24 (2021). The Chiefs have won a pair of overtime games in Los Angeles over the last two years as well.  This would be a good time to reverse that trend.

Justin Herbert is coming into his own as a real tour de force in NFL quarterback circles.  Austin Eckler is a top-tier running back.  The duo of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are as dynamic of a 1-2 punch as you can get at WR in the NFL (when healthy).  The Chargers play a physical style of defense led by DE Joey Bosa, LB Khalil Mack, and Safety Derwin James (again, when healthy).  The Chargers are coached by young Brandon Staley who has never seen a down and distance he didn’t think wasn’t worth going for.  He is aggressive, and not very good at clock management (hold my beer says, Nathaniel Hackett….)   They will come into GEHA Field at Arrowhead aggressive and will probably never punt and give the Chiefs everything they want.

If Patrick Mahomes executes plays like he did Sunday, this will be a win for the Chiefs.  Fast starts and no turnovers are hallmarks of Chief victories.  I see a slight regression from the 360-yard 5 TD performance Sunday at Arizona, but it will still probably be 250 yards and 3 TDs.  If he can spread the ball around to 6-8 receivers, the Chiefs will be tough to beat.

Game prediction:  Chiefs 27, Chargers 26.    

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