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Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers Present: ‘The Battle for Credibility’

Everywhere you look, the AFC West is the most stacked division in all of professional football when it comes to overall talent.

One could make an argument that all of the teams in said division could be taken as playoff and even Super Bowl contenders. Yes, even the Broncos after losing against the Seahawks.

Photo by Ben Hershey on Unsplash

But then again, we are only about to enter Week 2 of the NFL season so maybe talking so far in advance might be going a bit overboard.

Why not talk about who is who in the AFC West, especially with the Kansas City Chiefs getting ready to welcome the Los Angeles Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium for a Thursday Night Football showdown that promises to be an epic game between the two strongest teams in the AFC West?

One thing that stands out above everything else regarding this game is the credibility factor that a win for either team can bring to them. For KC, after beating Arizona in with Patrick Mahomes putting on a clinic against the Cardinals’ defense, a win against LA could really help them cement their status as one of the AFC’s strongest teams.

For the Chargers, beating the Chiefs at Arrowhead would not only put them at 2-0 but it would also put them at 2-0 in their division, collecting a pair of valuable wins that could end up tipping the scale in their favor.

So, without further ado, let’s break down what each team could bring to the table to give them an edge in the TNF battle for credibility.

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Mahomes Is Back and He Is Hungry

To say that Mahomes manhandled Arizona’s defense in the Chiefs’ 44-21 win would be treading lightly. After missing out on another trip to the Super Bowl last season at the hands of Joe Burrow and the Bengals, and having to see his favorite receiver, Tyreek Hill pack his bags and head to Miami, it seems as if Mahomes has decided to take to this season as a sort of revenge tour.

For the Chiefs that spells all kinds of wonders, while for opposing teams, that also spells a world of troubles. Not only was Mahomes a touchdown-passing machine on Sunday, but the Chiefs as a whole played some very, very good football. It’s not farfetched to say that this might be the scariest Chiefs team we’ve seen in some time.

The Kansas City Chiefs would always do wonders on offense but lag on defense. Now, it seems as if all units are synching and vibing at the same beat. While Mahomes, Travis Kelce & Co. were getting the job done on the offensive side of the game, players like Nick Bolton, Carlos Dunlap, L’Jarius Sneed, and Rashad Fenton stepped up and held their own on the defensive side of the ball against the Cards. Now, as they get ready to face the Chargers, a team that can be explosive on both sides of the ball as well, being able to topple LA and score a win at Arrowhead will be the mission ahead.

So, what will the Chiefs need to stop the Chargers? Intensity from the get-go and most importantly, a superb performance from Mahomes’ offensive line so that he can have enough time to get the ball around down the field, and also so players like Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Isiah Pacheco can get some strong yardage gains in first and second down runs.

On defense, stopping Justin Herbert will be a conundrum, but most importantly, KC’s secondary will also need to shine in the hopes of stopping LA’s passing game down the field. Keeping the Chargers at low yardage could end up being the defensive key for a Chiefs win.

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Will Herbert and Bolts Conquer Arrowhead?

I personally loved the Chargers win against the Raiders. While the final score of 24-19 would make fans believe that this was a close game, the Chargers outplayed the Raiders.

On defense, the Chargers, led by Khalil Mack with 3 out of 6 sacks for the team, looked like a unit that has been playing together for years. LA’s secondary was balling with 3 interceptions against Derek Carr.

 But what about the offense?

Well, Herbert once again proved why he is considered by many as one of the best QBs of the future in the NFL.

His control of the offense and game clock as well as having a strong 3 touchdown showing with 26 completions in 34 attempts shows that Herbert continues to become the real deal.

For their upcoming game against the Chiefs, they’ll most likely have to do without starting WR Keenan Allen who suffered a hamstring injury in the first half of their game against the Raiders. Still, the Chargers should do off just fine with substitute DeAndre Carter, who finished with three catches amassing a total of 64 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown reception.

While all this sounds great, preparing for the Chiefs in a short week schedule is a completely different matter.

Chargers coach Brandon Staley will need his defense to play twice as good on Thursday as it did against the Raiders.

All signs point towards LA being able to count on their star cornerback J.C. Jackson being able to suit up for the first time in the season after successfully recovering from a knee surgery that sidelined him for a period of two to four weeks.

While Jackson looked more than ready to play against Las Vegas on Sunday, Staley decided to keep him out and save him for their matchup against the Chiefs on the Thursday Night Football slot.

On offense, Herbert & Co. shouldn’t have much of an issue putting points on the board, especially with how shaky the Chiefs’ secondary can be from time to time. The key here will be for LA’s offensive line to be able to give Herbert enough room in the pocket to move around. Herbert has proven over and over again that if he is given the time and room, he can make some highlight-reel plays.

So, Chiefs or Chargers?

Herbert is a great QB, a great leader, and one of the best players to don a Chargers uniform, that’s a given. He can lead this team to victory almost everywhere, emphasis on the almost.

While a win against KC at Arrowhead could end up becoming a massive turning point in the 2022 season, even so early on, after seeing Mahomes and his performance against Arizona on Sunday, it’s hard not to tip the scale over to Kansas City here.

It usually takes a lot to beat KC in front of its fans, and while this game has all the ingredients to be an epic showdown, the edge goes slightly to the Chiefs.

With that said, when they run it back in LA for Week 10, watch out for Herbert’s revenge.

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