Previewing The Chargers Upcoming Matchup With The Chiefs

Chargers tight end Jared Cook runs a route vs the Washington Football Team in week one.

Previewing The Chargers Upcoming Matchup With The Chiefs

The Los Angeles Chargers are 1-1 after their first two games of the season. There are a lot of different positives and negatives that we can take from these two games. The Chargers are traveling to Kansas City to play the Chiefs this Sunday in arguably their most difficult matchup of the season. It is considered one of the more exciting matchups of the week with two explosive offenses led by two of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL, Justin Herbert, and Patrick Mahomes

The Chargers are pretty heavy underdogs this week.  This is going to be an awesome time to see if these Chargers are ready to compete now. When you play the Chiefs you need to play nearly flawless and take advantage of every opportunity given. I was recently writing about x-factors for the game but I am now going to be covering x-factors along with key matchups to the game. I am going to highlight what the Chargers need to do in order to get a win this Sunday below.

Key Matchup 1: Derwin James Vs. Travis Kelce

This one is rather obvious but it is arguably the most important matchup of the game. What is most important in this game is limiting the Chiefs two superstars in Kelce and Tyreek Hill. James is crucial to stopping Kelce. It is widely known across the league that Kelce is the best tight end in the NFL, period. There are very few people that are able to stop him or even slow him down. James is known as one of the people that has had any real success against Kelce.

When one player is able to neutralize Kelce it allows you the opportunity to double Hill or send an extra player on a blitz or even keep a spy on Mahomes. It opens up so many different avenues to work with. My prediction is that James has a stellar game limiting Kelce to under 50 yards and no touchdowns.

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X-Factor 1: Edge Rushers

While Joey Bosa is considered an edge, I am only talking about Uchenna Nwosu and Kyler FackrellBosa is currently listed as questionable, we can assume that he is going to play but we know what he is going to bring to the table. We all know that Mahomes strength is extending plays and getting away from pressure. A big question mark all off-season and so far during this season is who is going to be the starter opposite from Bosa. Both Nwosu and Fackrell have flashed at different times during these first two games but we are going to need to see a lot more from that duo in this game.

If he plays, Bosa is going to take a lot of attention in the form of double teams and being chipped most of the time, this opens up opportunities for Nwosu and Fackrell. While you may think the most important thing is to wrap up and take down Mahomes when you get the chance. While this is definitely important, I would argue that these two need to take away the scrambling ability that Mahomes possesses. Mahomes averages 16.6 yards per game rushing, against the Chargers he averages 45. A crazy stat that definitely passes the eye test. If they can cage rush and keep him in the pocket and not allow him to break off long runs on third downs, it greatly enhances their chances of winning

Key Matchup 2: Jared Cook Vs. Chiefs Linebackers

The Chiefs’ defense has been rather atrocious so far at the beginning of the season. A big issue has been their linebackers. In week 1 the Chiefs allowed over 100 yards to the Browns’ tight ends and allowed over 60 yards last week to Mark Andrews. The Chargers have too many weapons on offense that are going to be taking all of the attention which should leave plenty of opportunities for Cook over the middle.

Cook is third on the team in targets behind Keenan Allen and Mike WilliamsWe have seen how much trust Herbert already has in him and that is something that should continue. I believe that Cook is going to find the endzone for the first time this season (really should be second) and will have over 60 receiving yards. The more that Cook gets behind the defense the farther back the linebackers need to play at the snap and this will allow more opportunities to effectively run the ball.

X-Factor 2: Turnover differential

This is another obvious choice but something that the Chargers haven’t done a great job with so far this year. Herbert has had a problem this year with three interceptions and a lost fumble. Mahomes hardly turns the ball over in September. All signs point to the Chargers losing the turnover battle. There are ways that they can avoid this, however.

Mahomes is prone to turnover-worthy plays, there is no arguing that. He is typically towards the top of the league in dropped interceptions, so it’s obvious what needs to be done here. It’s crucial that the Chargers take advantage of the opportunities that he gives them. They need to take chances, you don’t beat this team without it. They need to be aggressive and blitz and put Mahomes in a position to make a mistake and to take a risk. They often go well for him, but it’s what needs to be done to maximize everything.

A big emphasis that I have covered in this article is how essential it is for the Chargers to play mistake-free and to take advantage of the mistakes that the Chiefs make. This is obviously the key to success every week but it’s more important this week than the others. They must play a clean game against Mahomes and company this week.

The most important six games of the year are the ones that come against division rivals, which is something that the Chargers have greatly struggled with. It is essential that they get off to a good start in their division matchups.

Final score prediction: Chargers 38 Chiefs 31


Chargers tight end Jared Cook runs a route vs the Washington Football Team in week one. Via Marcas Grant