How can you not like this one?
Week 2 of the NFL season starts off with a Thursday Night Football showdown between AFC West rivals and two of the best young (yes, we can still call Patrick Mahomes young) quarterbacks in the game when the Los Angeles Chargers visit the Kansas City Chiefs.
Kickoff is at 8:15 p.m. Eastern Time. The game is on Amazon Prime.
Let me say that a little louder for those of you in the back. The game is ON AMAZON PRIME. You’ll need a subscription to Amazon Prime to watch the game live. But like, if you don’t have Amazon Prime at this stage of your life, I don’t think I can help you. Of course, because of NFL rules, the game will be simulcast locally over broadcast TV.
Both the Chiefs and Chargers are 1-0 coming off of impressive Week 1 wins. The Chargers earned a division win over the Las Vegas Raiders 24-19 and the Chiefs walloped the Arizona Cardinals, 44-21, with Mahomes throwing for five touchdowns.
The Chiefs lead the all-time series 65-58-1 and won the last meeting in overtime 34-28 at the end of the 2021 season.
These are the big questions coming into tonight’s showdown.
What Will The Chargers Offense Look Like Without Keenan Allen?
The Chargers will be without star wide receiver Keenan Allen against the Chiefs as he recovers from a strained hamstring. The Chargers will miss him, but how much?
Justin Herbert seems really comfortable at the controls of the Chargers offense. Mike Williams didn’t get many targets against the Raiders, so expect him to see an uptick in balls his way. DeAndre Carter had a touchdown for the Chargers against the Raiders, he’s sort of the next man up in this case for you fantasy football wacks.
But the Chargers’ offense is so dynamic that I don’t expect them to lose that much. Herbert loves throwing the ball to the running backs, Austin Ekeler is a stud, and don’t forget Herbert can run too. The offense should be just fine.
What’s The Biggest Match-Up Of the Game?
Kansas City retooled their entire offensive line after losing in Super Bowl LV, making a big trade with the Ravens for tackle Orlando Brown Jr.
The defensive star of the Chargers’ win over the Raiders was pass rush stud Khalil Mack, and now he lines up against Brown to try to chase down Mahomes tonight. But even if Mack has some success, Mahomes is such a slippery snake that he has the potential to slip past Mack and throw some behind-the-back pass for a 26-yard score.
The real key for the Chargers will be pressure up the middle and off the edge. If Mack comes off the edge, Mahomes can climb the pocket (step up), so pressure needs to come from all sides. This is one of the hardest things to do in football, but it’s the only way to stop Mahomes.
What’s the Chiefs Weak Spot?
Has to be the kicker. Harrison Butker will miss tonight’s game with an ankle injury, so the Chiefs signed Jets retread Matt Ammendola. The 25-year-old out of Oklahoma State was 13-19 for the Jets last year with a long of 49 yards.
It is the worst time of year to be looking for a kicker since everyone has been through training camp and settled on who they have. The Chiefs even used safety Justin Reid last week to handle extra points. He was 1-2.
Of course, the Chargers don’t have the best kicker in the world either. Dustin Hopkins was 1-2 last week against the Raiders and has bounced all around the NFL.
What Do The Oddsmakers Say?
Thursday morning the Chiefs were four-point favorites on the board, with the over/under number at 54. Interesting that an over/under doesn’t include a half point. Travis Kelce is the favorite to be the first scorer at +550. 54 points is a lot of points.
In their last five meetings, the Chiefs/Chargers have gone over that number twice, under it twice and right on 54 once. I swear it’s almost like the oddsmakers do their research.
How Much Does Playing on Thursday Matter?
The Chiefs are 15-12 on Thursdays in the NFL and won their last three games. The Chargers are 11-10-1 on Thursday night football. They’ve played a game every year on Thursday since 2010, and have lost two of their last three. That tie came back in 1965.
Last year road teams went 7-8 on Thursday Night Football. In 2019, road teams were 4-9. I am not counting anything from the 2020 COVID football season when the schedule was all over the place.
It’s open for debate about the impact for road teams playing on Thursday nights. They lose the day of practice time compared to the home team, in a division game, it may not matter that much. It’s not like the Chargers aren’t familiar with the Chiefs’ personnel.
The NFL pundit class felt that the Chiefs were going to take a step back after losing Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins, but Mahomes put an end to that chatter real quick with his show against the Cardinals.
Everyone likes to talk about the AFC’s young guns, like Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Herbert, and Joe Burrow, but only one of these dudes has a Super Bowl ring and that’s Mahomes.
He’s going to make a play in the fourth quarter to win it 38-31.