For the second time this season, we were joined by the great Tom Childs of our Chiefs sister site, Arrowhead Pride, to help us preview part two of the 2022 Chargers-Chiefs series.
The line in this one has moved several times throughout the week after the Chiefs opened as 6.5-point favorites over at DraftKings Sportsbook. It first moved down to six points, then down to five, and then back up to 5.5 as of Saturday morning.
The Bolts seem to be getting a bit healthier than many would have expected ahead of this game, but you won’t find anyone complaining about that. It’s about time some luck bounced their way, and if both Keenan Allen and Mike Williams make their return on Sunday night, all bets are off.
You got to love primetime, baby.
Curious to see all of Tom’s thoughts on this matchup? Let’s go ahead and jump into the preview.
1.) After that early loss at the hands of the Colts, the Chiefs have been on a roll outside of a speed bump against the Bills. How have you seen this team develop from week one until now?
The loss to the Colts was a wake-up call for them — simple as that. Despite a lot going wrong for the Chiefs that day in Indy, I think the humiliating defeat reminded them how fragile an NFL season is — while also refocusing them. A perfect example of this is Chris Jones. After all, it was his outburst that was the final nail in the Chiefs’ coffin that day. Since then, we have seen a laser-focused Jones that had gone on to be the most in-form defensive tackle in football. The same could easily be said about other individuals on the Chiefs roster and the team as a whole.
I hate the term ‘good loss’, but that’s kinda what it feels like looking back — although, I hated it at the time.
2.) Patrick Mahomes is leading the NFL with 25 touchdown passes as of week 11. Josh Allen is second with 20. Is this still just vintage Andy Reid play-calling or is there something else at play here?
Not to discredit Andy Reid too much, but if I am being honest, it’s Patrick Mahomes. He is playing the best football of his life.
I can already hear the gasps from your readers — did this man watch the 2018 season?
While 2018 produced a quarterback reel that will probably not be matched, 2022 has seen Mahomes take his game to a level that looks like prime Aaron Rodgers. He’s reading defenses perfectly, he’s beating man coverage, he’s added the back shoulder throw to his arsenal, he’s getting to check downs, and he’s hitting deep shots once again. In a year when people are desperate to crown Mahomes’ heir, the King has slayed his challengers and silenced his nah-sayers.
3.) Through the first few weeks, it seemed like any of the Chiefs’ wideouts could go off in any given game. Has a pecking order started to develop now that we’re past the midway point of the season? If so, how would you go about ranking Mahomes’ pass-catcher?
The whole of Chiefs Kingdom is drinking that Kadarius Toney kool-aid, right now. I’m sure many Chiefs fans would have him as number one.
But as the founding member of the JuJu train supporters club, I will continue to pound the drum for Smith-Schuster.
So here goes:
1. JuJu Smith-Schuster — Mr reliable in the receiver room. He is working in the middle of the field just as well as Travis Kelce, recently. The Chiefs will miss him this weekend.
2. Kadariius Toney — I’m not going to go as far as to say he is as good as Tyreek Hill but we are seeing traits that remind us of him. An exciting prospect for the Chiefs.
3. Mecole Hardman — Another absentee on Sunday. Was having the best season of his life. The contract year is undefeated.
4. Marquez Valdes-Scantling — Flattered to deceive so far. He will need to step up in Hardman’s and JuJu’s absence.
5. Skyy Moore — Things haven’t clicked as yet for Moore. He should get a ton of playing time against the Chargers.
4.) Linebacker Nick Bolton is simply a difference-maker in the middle of that defense. What makes him such an impactful defender? What does he do best? What are his shortcoming?
I’m so pleased you’ve highlighted Bolton. For whatever reason, his play has come under fire recently and I just don’t understand why? The argument against Bolton is that a high volume of tackles doesn’t necessarily mean that he is playing well. And while I agree with some of that sentiment, if a player is continuously around the ball, then he must be doing something right.
What some people tend to forget is that he is a second-year player that now wears the green dot for the defense, as well as holding the responsibility of being the tone-setter of the defense. That’s a huge show of faith from Steve Spagnuolo for a player as young and raw s Bolton.
It was only two games ago that Nick Bolton made the play of the game for the defense. The Titans had an opportunity to kick a field goal to make it a two-score lead, yet it was Bolton and his instincts that snuffed out a Tennessee screen, resulting in a four-yard loss which ultimately moved the Titans out of kicking range. Without that play, the Chiefs likely lose the game.
Yes, Bolton can be caught in coverage, but the positives far outweigh the negatives.
5.) The Chiefs opened this week as 6.5-point favorites on the road over the Chargers. That number is now down to just six points with the over/under currently set at 51 (up from 50.5 to begin the week). Go ahead and give us a few lines on how you see this game shaking out, a final score prediction, and whether you’re taking the over/under for this game.
I’ll not lie — I’m becoming slightly more nervous about this game as the hours go on. I think... my nervousness comes from the news regarding the two squads’ receivers. The Chiefs will be without Hardman and Smith-Schuster, while the Chargers could be welcoming back Mike Williams and Keenan Allen.
Chiefs fans know how good the Chargers’ duo is at full health — and that if they can go full tilt, the Chargers’ offense will cause the Chiefs’ defense a lot of problems. Vegas has reflected this in the line as the Chiefs are now 5.5-point favorites (at the time of answering). Question marks probably need to be raised on how fit the pair will actually be and how much of an impact they could make.
I hope the Chiefs recognize how bad the Chargers are against the run and attack that. This should result in a quicker game with a lower-scoring total, so I’m taking the under with Clyde Edwards-Healire (+175) and Isiah Pacheco (+135) both finding the end zone. With uncertainty at the skill positions for both teams and the injuries piling up for the Chargers, I believe the Chiefs will run out 27-17 winners, although I would not be at all surprised if the alien that is Justin Hebert pulls out some heroics and leads L.A to a much welcome win for the Chargers.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.