STAR PREVIEW Sun: Kansas City Chiefs v LA Chargers
ANDY RICHMOND is a lifelong punter and sports enthusiast who now writes extensively on horse racing and the NFL. His CV includes long spells on Timeform Radio and Racing UK having previously held several positions at the then-fledgling Betfair Exchange where he worked for six years. He has a particular love for the statistical and analytical side of sports which fits in well with the NFL. He writes all the NFL content on Paul Jones subscription service as well as having his own betting advisory service.
It’s early days in the NFL season but this feels like one of the pivotal battles in the AFC West where both these two teams reside with 1-1 records which could in either case have been 2-0 records.
The Chiefs remain the gold standard in the AFC certainly on offence where quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his supporting offensive cast remain one of the must-see elements of the league having already put 68 points on the board this year going over the 30 point barrier twice. The Chargers on offence at least aspire to be like the Chiefs especially with their young quarterback Justin Herbert capable of matching Mahomes in terms of flair and skill.
The Chargers have scored only 37 points through two games though but that’s not reflective of how well Herbert and their offense have played, only last week they had two touchdowns recalled for penalties.
Going to Arrowhead Stadium is a daunting prospect for all teams but the Chargers face a Chiefs defence which is in no way is matching the success of their offence. Some of the defensive statistics are not only damning but should be heartening for the Chargers. Take a look at these Chiefs defensive numbers: 469 yards per game allowed (last), 202 rush yards per game allowed (last); total yards (7.6), rush yards (6.1) and pass yards (9.9) per play are all last or second to last as well. Opponents have scored points on an incredible 10 of 19 drives against the Chiefs this season.
Therefore it’s to be expected that Herbert is capable of a big game once more against the Chiefs after all he alarmed the Chiefs defence twice last year throwing for more than 300 yards in each game and combining for four touchdown passes with one interception. The Chiefs defence isn’t any better this year and both his main wide receivers Mike Williams and Keenan Allen will be looking to score touchdowns with versatile running back Austin Ekeler also looking an integral part of a Chargers offence that could be about to fire fully.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Los Angeles Chargers
The Chiefs for all the misgivings about their defence do still have one of the best offences in the NFL with Mahomes boasting a 16-2 record as a starter in division games over his NFL career, with 35 TD passes to just eight interceptions in those games. It should also be remembered that the Chiefs have covered the spread in four straight games following an outright loss.
Offensively for the Chiefs dangers abound and although the Chargers have shown a willingness to concede in the running game to contain enemy passing attacks that will be harder here with Kansas City having so many viable options through the air. Baltimore sold out to stop main receiving threat Tyreek Hill in the Chiefs last game but couldn’t prevent the supporting cast which includes star tight-end Travis Kelce and deep speed threat Mecole Hardman from recording 35 points. Hill is expected to bounce back here with a big game as he’s too good and too hard to stop for two games in a row.
This boils down to a game where the offences are both better than the defences and both are likely to move the ball through the air and play at an up-tempo pace. It’s always hard to go against the Chiefs especially on their home turf and coming off a loss but I do think the Chargers have the capacity to keep this game close if they play to their full potential.
It’s no surprise to see the points total set at 54.5 and although that’s a high bar the overs have cashed in each of the past three games these two teams have played at Arrowhead Stadium, with the Chargers covering the spread twice. Given the shoot-out potential and the Chiefs poor defence the Chargers going over their +24.5 points total appeals as does the 6-5 for more than +6.5 touchdowns in the game as a whole both defences having major injury worries over key players and that can only be music to the ears of these two powerful offences.
⚠️ Stakes advised on a scale of 0-10 points depending on confidence from our preview team
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