Sponsor message: FanDuel has a special offer for SB Nation fans — The FanDuel 5-Pack. It’s 5 free contest entries for new players only, no experienced players allowed. Play now!
Kansas City is one of the toughest environments in the NFL in which to go into and try to win. Philip Rivers this week suggested that Arrowhead may be the loudest stadium in the NFL after Seattle. The crowd is always a factor and you have to expect they’ll be incredibly hyped up for the home opener. The Chiefs have won their last two home games against the Chargers and they are predictably 7-point favorites this Sunday.
Kansas City’s Running Game
In their two games against the Chargers last year, the Chiefs rushed 56 times for 303 yards and three touchdowns. Jamaal Charles is unlikely to play this week, you might think, but he did not play in either game last year either. Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West were able to run all over the Chargers defense just fine without him. The addition of Brandon Mebane might provide some relief, but the absence of first round pick Joey Bosa definitely cuts into any optimism Chargers fans might have felt about the chances of an improved run defense early in the year.
San Diego’s Pass Blocking
The San Diego Chargers had a terrible time trying to keep Philip Rivers upright at times last season. In their last trip to Arrowhead, they allowed five sacks. Three of those came from Dee Ford who will be starting in place of Justin Houston. The Chiefs missing one of their best players in Houston would seems to be cause for optimism were it not for how badly Ford whipped the Chargers’ line last December
One might hope that the Chargers offensive line will be improved from last year, and they definitely are at Center where they’ve replaced Trevor Robinson with Matt Slauson. That won’t directly benefit the tackles who struggled with Ford’s speed rush, however.