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Los Angeles Chargers-Kansas City Chiefs Preview

Week 15 of the NFL season opens with a bang. The Kansas City Chiefs, top of the AFC West, travels down to SoFi Stadium to face off against division rivals, the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers, sitting at 8-5, are only a game behind the 9-4 Chiefs.

The last time these teams played, the Chargers beat the Chiefs in Kansas City 30-24.This time, though, the Chiefs will be ready to compete. They have been playing less sloppy and their defense is playing at a surprisingly high level. This is the Chargers-Chiefs preview.

COVID Strikes

The COVID-19 pandemic was a major factor in determining the outcome of games in the 2020 season. This season, though, it seemed to be a bit quieter. That is, until now. COVID-19 has already ruled a number of players on both teams out for Thursday’s game. Here is the list of players missing for each team.

Chargers

Chiefs

Biggest Matchups

Justin Herbert vs. Tyrann Mathieu

Justin Herbert on the run


Justin Herbert seems to have finally shaken his slump, and is back to being one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL. (Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today Sports)

Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu stated that the key to defeating the Chargers is to keep pressuring Justin Herbert. However, with the Chiefs losing Chris Jones, their star defensive tackle, the pressure is on the rest of the team to pick up his slack. Mathieu is one of the premier safeties in the NFL, so his pressure on the Chargers receivers will be key to shutting down the high-powered Chargers offense.

Justin Herbert seems to have fully shaken his slump from the middle of the season. In his past two games, Herbert threw for 317 and 275 yards, along with three touchdowns in each game, with only one interception. Going up against a battered Chiefs defense could prove to be a key difference-maker for Herbert and Co.

Patrick Mahomes vs. Chargers Defense

Patrick Mahomes celebrating
Patrick Mahomes remains one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL after a rockey start to the 2021 season. (Denny Medley/USA Today Sports)

Patrick Mahomes has been quietly good this season. After a rocky start to the season, Mahomes was quickly written off as having a “bad season” by many. However, his stats prove the opposite. Mahomes is top 5 in the league for passing yards and touchdowns, with 3,642 yards and 27 touchdowns. While Herbert may be ahead of Mahomes in both category, along with less total interceptions, Mahomes is certainly not having a “bad season.”

The Chargers’ defense has been plagued with injuries, particularly among their secondary. Derwin James, their star safety and centerpiece of the defense, has been ruled questionable for Thursday’s matchup with a hamstring injury. Rookie cornerback Asante Samuel Jr., who has had a solid season so far, is also questionable, being in the concussion protocol. Alohi Gilman, their backup safety, is also questionable with a quadriceps injury. If all three of these players are ruled out, then the Chargers’ defense may struggle greatly against the terrifying Chiefs’ defense.

Summary and Predictions

This game could honestly go either way. The Chiefs defense is facing several absences due to COVID-19. Losing Chris Jones could prove vital, as the Chargers’ offensive line has been decimated by injury. The Chargers losing much of their secondary could also be key to the Chargers’ chances, as Mahomes is always a lethal threat, no matter the circumstances.

In the end, this may be an offensive shootout. With an absurdly high over/under of 54.5, this would be an easy under in normal circumstances. However, with so many defensive threats missing from both teams, the over may actually be worth considering. Since the Chargers’ losses to injury are only questionable right now, that may give them the edge against the Chiefs. But this game can really go either way. Chargers fans should just accept their bias and expect a close win against the Chiefs tonight. This has been the Chargers-Chiefs preview.




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