Division rivalries always matter a bit more than any other regular NFL contest. This week, the Kansas City Chiefs will play their first division contest of the year when they face the Los Angeles Chargers. It is a brand new era beginning for the Bolts. Philip Rivers has left town, they finally have an actual football stadium, instead of a soccer stadium and LA has snazzy new uniforms. For a look at the team from both sides of the ball and more, let’s get to know the Los Angeles Chargers from behind enemy lines.
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It may not be easy, but the Chargers defense has largely corralled Patrick Mahomes in his young career. Other than his start to open 2018 against them, the former Red Raider has had some slow starts. We saw the team look as slow and discombobulated as ever in Week 17 at the jump. Earlier in Mexico City, the LA zone coverage seemed to bait Mahomes into poor decisions in the first quarter. Thankfully for the Chiefs, they have still won three of four games against the Chargers with the young star.
It will be important for Kansas City to slow down the pass rushing duo of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. Bosa came through last week with a sack, two tackles for loss and three quarterback hits in a win against the Cincinnati Bengals. It is also amazing to see Ingram get constantly lost in the shuffle among other pass rushers. He plays way better than he gets credit for.
Where may the Los Angeles Chargers defense be hurt the most against Kansas City? Not having uber-talented safety Derwin James (torn meniscus) looms large. That’s not to say that Chris Harris Jr, Casey Hayward, Desmond King and Michael Davis cannot do well. However, leaving them out on islands one on one, could give Mahomes and Co. more confidence.
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Good luck knowing what to totally expect from the Los Angeles Chargers offense. With Tyrod Taylor now intrenched as the starting quarterback, there are limitations to the unit. For example, Taylor’s offenses have rarely been prolific in lighting up the scoreboard. There is a ceiling to how dynamic the unit can be as well. The Chargers were just 6 of 16 on third down last week, and failed both four down attempts. Taylor largely completed check downs within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage.
On the other hand, Los Angeles attempted to game plan to his strengths, which include moving the pocket around. Allowing Taylor to create off of play action and throwing on the run, revealed a sense of comfort. Kansas City’s knack for applying pressure could certainly help in making Tyrod feel shaky or uncomfortable.
Elsewhere, Austin Ekeler and rookie Joshua Kelley are powerful at the running back position. The Chiefs will need to tackle better overall, than they did against David Johnson last game. Production for Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Hunter Henry all rely on Taylor and a shaky offensive line continuing to stay afloat or progress as the game goes on.
That will wrap up our look into the Los Angeles Chargers from behind enemy lines. Be sure to stay tuned to Full Press Coverage, for more great sports and NFL content.
– 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.