While every fan wants to boast that his team is going to breeze past the opposition, I really don’t think that will happen tonight. Expect a close game. One reason it will be tight is that the talent on each side is evenly matched. Another reason is that these teams know each other. Neither team is going to roll out a new scheme that is totally going to baffle the other team.
This game will most likely be decided by a handful of plays. With that in mind what here is what I think will be the difference makers.
In the first matchup with the Chiefs, the Chargers made plenty of mistakes. They gave up a punt return for a touchdown. They dropped passes. They blew coverages. And they fumbled a punt setting up an easy Kansas City score. The Chargers simply cannot afford these mistakes if they want to win.
Be sure that both teams will try and take care of the ball. Justin Jackson is going to need to be wary of defenders trying to take advantage of the rookie running back. While Rivers has had low interception numbers this year, when he presses he makes mistakes. It will be important for the Chargers to keep it close so Phil doesn’t try to play hero ball. On the other side, Mahomes takes chances and under pressure sometimes makes bad decision. Joey Bosa and Ingram may have the biggest impact on turnovers tonight if they can pressure Mahomes into throwing interceptions. Also of note is that Mahomes has been prone to strip sacks. I wonder if Bosa has gotten that message.
Slowing the Chiefs Down
The Chargers need to limit Hill and Kelce. The Chargers defense has changed a bit since game one. I expect this time around that Derwin James will be covering Kelce and lessen his impact in the game. As for Hill it will be interesting to see what the Chargers will do on defense against him. The Chargers need to be mindful of Hill on the big slant route and crossing routes. You cannot lose him in the shuffle.
There is a good chance that this game comes down to the last possession or even the last play. Hopefully, that play will go in favor of the Chargers.