Thursday Night Football Preview

By Conor Perrett

After the events of Week 1, the NFL doesn’t seem to be slowing down with a spectacular Thursday Night Football match-up, as divisional rivals LA Chargers travel to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs under the lights at Arrowhead Stadium. 

With many calling the AFC West the ‘best division in football,’ a fixture like this is always going to be must-see TV. 

Both teams are coming off dominant opening performances, and are looking to continue their successful start, so somebody’s 0 has got to go. So without further ado, we will dive into the story-lines of how these teams met expectations in Week 1, their injury reports and how their contests last season could have relevance for this game. 

The Stats Breakdown 

Defence-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA): Defensive rankings which are adjusted to take into account the quality of offensive opponents

Whenever you mention the Chiefs, the first thing that’s going to come to mind is their explosive offence. 

It just so happened that the talk of their off-season was how would they be able to keep that up after losing the ‘Cheetah’; their WR1 in Tyreek Hill. Well, Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes answered that question emphatically for us when they put 44 points up on the Arizona Cardinals last Sunday, with Mahomes throwing 30/39, for 360 yards and five TD for a QB-rating of 144.2 rating. 

Not too bad for the former MVP, as his team was certainly underrated going into the season after a quieter than usual 2021.

Tight-end Travis Kelce remained his trustworthy self, hauling in eight receptions for 121 yards and a TD. While newcomer wide-receivers Juju Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling both impressed on their debuts, bringing in six receptions for 79 yards and four receptions for 44 yards respectively. Their offence seemed to slow down as their blow-out win progressed, so we could be in for more fireworks tonight. 

An underrated highlight of their performance came on the ground, with 126 rushing yards helping them convert 33 of their 66 offensive plays into first downs. This came from the potential new running back committee, as Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Jerick McKinnon and rookie Isiah Pacheco will look to continue on their strong start.

Chiefs Added Top Young Talent in the Draft

On the other side of the ball, the defence looked strong. Kyler Murray was limited to 193 passing yards and the Chiefs D-line excelled at containing the dual QB with star interior lineman Chris Jones at the front of this. With a new core of players on the defensive side, it will be worth keeping an eye on how this unit progresses  throughout the season.

Chiefs Injury Report

Despite placing rookie corner-back and first round pick Trent McDuffie on IR previously during the week, the Chiefs remain relatively healthy after their Week 1 match-up. Kicker Harrison Butker will miss the game after seemingly spraining his ankle on the weekend. Before getting your hopes on wanting to see safety Justin Reid get another shot at the role, kicker Matt Amendola was signed in correlation to this move. We can only hope Reid is the standby option.

Los Angeles Chargers

Defensive rankings which are adjusted to take into account the quality of offensive opponents

The Chargers remind me of that popular kid at school. You know what I’m talking about, every school has one. The guy that tops all of sports and classes, and has every girl falling head over heels. The Chargers have flashy new uniforms, a big new stadium, a new young head coach, a cool California QB with long hair, Justin Herbert,  and a number of eye-catching new signings including Khalil Mack and JC Jackson. LA has what every fan is looking for, and after they got payback, after a significant 2021 Week 18 loss, on the Raiders this past Sunday, they’re looking to keep that revenge tour going into this week.

The Los Angeles side’s main strength comes on the side of the ball looking to stop Reid and Mahomes. Head coached by former Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley, who was viewed as the defensive Sean McVay when appointed a season ago. The guy knows what he’s doing when it comes to running dominant defences, and judging this past off-season investment, it sure does look worth it.

Sunday’s win against the Raiders was big for the Chargers, where they lived up to the high expectations on them this season. New free agent acquisitions Sebastian Joseph-Day and Austin Johnson, did a great job on the interior line clogging up the middle against the run. Holding Vegas to 14 rushing yards in the first half, this forced their opponents into obvious passing downs, allowing superstars Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack to wreak havoc on the edges. Sounds a bit unfair right? Together they combined for five sacks and two forced-fumbles, while forcing three interceptions for their DB buddies to snag from the pressure they were causing. 

While Kansas City’s offensive line will be more competitive, this matchup is definitely the one to watch out for and could heavily impact how this game turns out. 

Chargers added superstars to their defence in free-agency

As we turn our attention to the other side of the ball, QB Justin Herbert picked up exactly where he left off. Looking like a real star of this league, there should be no doubts with his QB performances going forward. What could be more exciting for Chargers fans was the performance of their offensive line, allowing no sacks against a good defensive front. Though they did struggle to run the ball for Austin Ekeler, the passing game remained strong with two legit outside weapons in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams.

Chargers Injury Report

The big first news to take in here is the loss of WR1 Keenan Allen. Allen started last week’s game strong before leaving the game with a hamstring injury.

On a more positive note, star free agent signing J.C. Jackson could be on track to make his debut for Los Angeles this week. Chargers handed the defensive back a five-year $82.5 million contract this off-season, and he could potentially be thrown straight into action against Mahomes and his posse. 

Previous Match-ups

2021 Season:

Week 3 – Chargers @ Chiefs – 30-24 Chargers win

Week 15 – Chiefs @ Chargers – 34 – 28 (OT) Chiefs Win

As seen, both teams went one a-piece in this fixture last year, with Kansas City having to get it done in overtime in the second meeting. Of course, the teams will line up differently this year, but seeing two close games last year between sides, expect it to be no different this week.


Now first things first, this game looks to be a cracking matchup. These two teams are arguably Top Five teams in the NFL and are both coming off impressive Week 1 wins. 

The matchup of Kansas City’s offence against the Los Angeles defence is going to be a battle of titans. Andy Reid vs Brandon Staley, Orlando Brown vs Joey Bosa, Travis Kelce vs Derwin James, and that’s just to name a few. 

The battle at the line of scrimmage could really win or lose either team this game. If the Chargers can stop the run once again and force Mahomes into passing downs with Bosa and Mack off the edge, it could cause trouble. But with an explosive passing attack, even without Hill, it might not be as easy said than done.

A worry for the Chargers could be running the ball as they did not do well in this area last week, while the Chiefs looked dominant in stopping that themselves. This game is going to be a shootout between the two star quarterbacks and the Chargers can’t afford to start slow or rely too much on their passing attack.

While on paper I would have to lean with the boys from LA having the better overall team, the experience of Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes is too much for me to pass on. With it going to be packed out Arrowhead Stadium, I expect the home side to edge it.

One thought on “LA Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs

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