For the first time this season, the Kansas City Chiefs will matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers. This is a pivotal game on a national stage. It is Monday Night Football in Mexico City. Most of all, this is a pivotal game and arguably a must win for both the Chiefs and Chargers. The Chiefs are coming off a game where they beat themselves late, and lost to the Titans. Meanwhile, the Chargers just lost a division road game and already have six losses this year. With that said, let’s get this Chiefs versus Chargers preview going.
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Mel and El
Last week, the Kansas City Chiefs struggled mightily against the run. There were many frustrating factors, considering they had improved against the run the last few weeks beforehand. Derrick Henry forces so many missed tackles. Overall, the Chiefs seemed caught off guard by him throughout the whole game last week.
This week won’t be any easier. Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler are one of the best running back duos in the league. Los Angeles may not be ranked that high in rushing offense. But, I think that has more to do with their dismal offensive line and injuries upfront. Once they get rolling, Gordon and Ekeler can force plenty of missed tackles. Furthermore, their speed out in space can be flat mesmerizing for defenders to see. We also know how much Kansas City has struggled covering the backs in the passing game. No team throws to their RBs more than LA. The Chiefs must be ready for anything these Chargers backs may have up their sleeve.
Patrick Mahomes was dialed in against the Titans in his return last week. Despite that, the Chiefs lost in a game where it looked like they were relying on him too much. The Chiefs hope Mahomes performance was just the beginning, for what we will see in the second half of the season. He also loves to play against the Chargers.
In his two games against them last year, Mahomes sliced up the Chargers’ cover 3 attack. We also know Andy Reid has a trick or two up his sleeve each week. These two have had great success so far, against this division rival. Even though other aspects of the team should not rely on them too much, this feels like a game where they do best in. Mahomes/Reid could very well be the difference on Monday night. Most of all, the quarterback is determined to get the Chiefs back on track starting with this Chargers game.
The Chargers passing offense has been an up and down unit all year long. Philip Rivers has the most passing yards in the league. Yet, he looks the worst he has in a few years. Wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams have also seen back and forth stretches. But, this is exactly the kind of time where this offense could catch you off guard.
They performed miserably last week, and still had a chance to win the game. The Chiefs cannot get caught sleeping here. Allen is one of the best route runners in the league. Meanwhile, Williams wins with his size and athleticism. I’m sure Chiefs fans remember how well Williams did in that Thursday night game last year. Kansas City’s pass defense has been playing admirably. However, this game will be all about limiting big plays against these two dynamic receivers.
The Little Things
The Chiefs beat themselves last week. In all four of their losses this season, they have lost in close fashion. That makes the little things stick out more. But even in the wins, the little things have not always been perfect. I don’t remember seeing the Chiefs fumble this much under Reid before. Also, the offensive line has fell flat at the most inopportune times. It looks like the Chiefs may be getting some reinforcements there, as Eric Fisher and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif have practiced in full fashion throughout the week.
These aspects of the game will need to be perfect against the Chargers. Los Angeles thrives off of speed on their defense. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram will be a tall task to try and stop, especially with the blocking issues. If the fumbles continue as well, then the Chargers will be in position to keep the pedal to the medal in pressuring the Chiefs. The Chiefs need to be on their A game against the Chargers, in what is the biggest game of the season to this point.
Matchup To Watch: Chiefs Pass Rush vs Chargers Offensive Line
The LA offensive line has seen plenty of players come and go throughout the lineup. Plenty of injuries have held some of their better protectors out. Additionally, the Chargers have struggled to protect Rivers all year long. The Chiefs just need to do enough to hurry Rivers timing during the whole game. Once that happens, Rivers can become erratic. Kansas City would be wise to be relentless in calling for pressure. That seems to be when they win the most in shutting down opponents.
Speaking of the Chargers offensive line, they have allowed 149 pressures this season. That is the third most in the NFL.
The Chiefs have had plenty of success against the Chargers under Andy Reid. KC has defeated LA in nine of the last ten meetings.
In those ten games, the Chiefs defense has forced 20 Chargers turnovers.
Additionally, Rivers has just 11 touchdowns to 16 interceptions in those last ten games against the Kansas City Chiefs.
That will wrap up our game preview for Chiefs versus Chargers. Monday night will be a pivotal and crucial game. Just how crucial is it? If the Chiefs lose, and the Colts and Raiders both win on Sunday, then Kansas City will be out of a playoff spot entering their bye week. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.