TNF Week 2 Preview - Chiefs/Chargers
September 15th, 2022
Thursday Night Football Week 2 Preview
Kansas City Chiefs Vs Los Angeles Chargers, 8:15
Line: Chiefs -4, 54
Can the Chargers pressure Mahomes?
The blueprint for beating Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs has been firmly established for a season or two already. Opponents must get pressure up the middle of the line of scrimmage without sending extra blitzers from the secondary.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers did precisely that in the 2020 Super Bowl and trounced the Chiefs 31-9. Since that game, multiple teams have tried to replicate the same strategy with varying degrees of success. But it is very predictable what happens when this game plan goes wrong as it did for the Cardinals in week 1. Mahomes went off on the Cardinals last week going 30/39 for 360 yards and 5 TDs.
Luckily for the Chargers, they have the ingredients to pull off this upset. Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa are premier pass rushers and they will be intent on making Mahome’s life miserable in this matchup. The pair combined for 4.5 sacks of Derrick Carr in week 1 which also lead to 3 INTs.
Fast start for Herbert?
Justin Herbert needs to get off to a good start in this game to put pressure on the Chiefs. If they are successful in doing so, it is important for them to maintain that pressure for the course of the entire game not giving the Chiefs to come back.
The Chargers won this game in KC last year breaking out to a 14-0 lead only to see the Chiefs come back to tie it at 24. A TD drive in the final minutes was the difference in that game with the Chargers pulling out a 30-24 win. In the second game, the Charger blew two fourth-quarter leads to ultimately lose in overtime 34-28.
Chargers - Keenan Allen WR, Hamstring Chiefs - Harrison Butker PK, Ankle
Keenan Allen has been ruled out of this matchup with a hamstring injury after catching 4 passes for 66 yards last week. He is a key target for Hebert and will be badly missed tonight.
The Chiefs will be without their placekicker Harrison Butker for this game after he rolled his ankle on a kickoff. Safety Justin Reid filled in admirably on short notice last week. The Chiefs signed former Jets PK Matt Ammendola this week as an emergency replacement.
My Pick: Under (54)
I flip-flopped on this side and ultimately could not decide who I liked to win the game. The Chiefs looked brilliant in week 1 against an uninspired Cardinals team. But this is a bad matchup for the Chiefs against the Chargers who are custom-built to take them down. I like the Chiefs to win but the four-point spread is likely to play a large percentage of the time between these two teams.
I see this game playing a little differently than most people. I suspect Andy Reid will come out a bit more conservatively in this matchup and not want to challenge the strength of the Charger’s defence which is their pass rush. The Chiefs may choose instead to start the game by establishing their rushing attack and not risk falling behind early. They will continue with their short passing game, but the deep passes may not happen until the second half or not at all if they manage to get a lead.
The Chargers may struggle with Allen out at WR and we may see a string of 3 and outs from the Chargers in the first half, particularly if they struggle to run the ball like they did last week with only 76 yards.