The Chargers (2-3) are on the road this week to face the Chiefs (5-1) in Arrowhead for the first of their two divisional matchups this season. They have started the season 1-0 against divisional opponents, and given their otherwise disappointing start to the season, getting back into the playoff fold will heavily depend upon their success in the AFC West.
Chiefs and Chargers games are always exciting; since Herbert has taken the reigns as the Bolts’ franchise quarterback, they have never had a game decided by more than a field goal, and often feature a lead change or two in the fourth quarter. It’s simply must-see football when Herbert and Patrick Mahomes face off against one another, and DraftKings Sportsbook have this matchup as 5.5-point game in favor of the Chiefs.
Tom Telesco and Brandon Staley have been guided in their roster decisions by matching up against the Chiefs, as the Bolts matches up very well against them. The Chiefs haven’t boasted significant running attacks since Mahomes has taken over, a facet of the game that’s been a weakness in the Chargers defense since Staley took over. They have one of the best possible athletes to cover Travis Kelce, as Derwin James is the kind of athletic competitor you want in the box to take on the big-bodied threat. Lastly, the Chargers feature three significant EDGE rushers that will focus on keeping Mahomes contained in the pocket while trying to apply pressure. Expect a healthy dose of NASCAR packages... and expect them to produce some great results.
The big question of the day will be whether or not the offense will be able to function without Corey Linsley at the center of the line. In their first matchup last year, the Chargers held a lead going into the half, but Linsley wasn’t able to take the field after halftime. After a quick opening drive score, the Bolts offense completely stagnated the rest of the game, with interior pressure becoming a serious issue at Chris Jones began wreaking havoc on the linemen. Although Clapp wasn’t the one that missed the assignment, this was also the game where a rusher came through the interior of the line and had a clean shot at Herbert that led to his broken rib cartilage.
The Bolts need a much better performance out of Will Clapp to stand a chance on Sunday, but given the time they’ve had to prep for this scenario, hopefully they’re prepared to surprise those of us that are less than optimistic.
Here are the stories we are currently following as we count down the hours to kickoff.