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Chargers open as 6-point underdogs to the Chiefs

Chiefs host the Chargers at home following their mini-bye, while the Chargers will be on short rest...

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs (-6) and the Chargers (+6) are slated for their first match up of the season next Sunday, and the Chargers are once again projected as the underdogs, per DraftKings Sportsbook.

It’s a wild proposition to give the Chiefs a 6-point spread against the Chargers, as these two teams historically play each other very, very close. Although Justin Herbert’s record against the Chiefs is 2-4 since taking over as the franchise quarterback, not a single game has been decided by more than one possession. Only once have the Chiefs matched the 6-point margin of victory DraftKings Sportsbook is projecting, and the Chiefs have fielded stronger rosters than they boast today.

Although Kansas City has done a remarkable job reloading after trading away Hill and losing other significant contributors like Tyrann Mathieu, the team relies heavily on jaw-dropping performances from their three core stars: Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Chris Jones. A major reason the Chargers and Chiefs games are must-see television is the Bolts are built to play against this core, with Derwin James Jr. able to hold his own against the best tight end in the league, and EDGE rushers like Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack putting pressure on Mahomes and forcing him to climb the pocket rather than scramble freely.

The biggest concern on Brandon Staley’s radar will be how to scheme against Chris Jones with Corey Linsley on the IR. In their first match up last year, the Chargers were up 10-7 at the end of the first half against the Chiefs, but Will Clapp had to take over for Linsley in the second half due to a knee injury. Although the Chargers scored a touchdown on their opening possession to gain a ten point lead, they wouldn’t score again until there was just over a minute left in the game, allowing the Chiefs to put up 20 unanswered points. This was also the stretch where Justin Herbert took a sack that fractured his rib cartilage, affecting his play the remainder of the season.

Many of Tom Telesco’s personnel decisions on the defensive side of the ball seem to be made with their division rivals in mind. Let’s hope the Bolts can get to Mahomes next Sunday, and notch another win in this all-important march to the trade deadline.