Chargers at Chiefs: Time, streaming, how to watch, key matches, picks for Week 2 of ‘Thursday Night Football’

In this week’s edition of “Thursday Night Football,” we have a blockbuster game from two of the league’s top teams — each from what is widely considered the NFL’s top division. Both Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers started their season with victories over quality opponents, and now they can face each other in what should prove to be one of the most important matches of the start of this year.

The winner of this game will be betting on an early lead in the AFC West, and therefore the race for one of the top seeds in the conference. These two teams played a few thrillers a year ago, with the Chargers winning in the season opener thanks to aggressive decision-making and big plays, and the Chiefs prevailing in an overtime contest. at the end of the year.

Which team will take the lead in the Premier League? We will find out soon enough. Before we break down the game, here’s how you can watch the game.

How to watch

Date: Thursday September 15 | Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
Location: GEHA field at Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City, Missouri)
Diffusion:
Amazon Prime Video
TV: Check local market listings
Follow: CBS Sports App
Odds: Leaders -4, O/U 54

When the Chargers have the ball

Chargers will be without Keenan Allen for this contest, just as they were for much of their Week 1 victory over the Raiders. The Chiefs, meanwhile, won’t have a rookie cornerback Trent McDuffie — who was doing quite well against the Cardinals before leaving with his own injury.

McDuffie’s absence will leave Kansas City core corners at a size and physical disadvantage against by Justin Herbert first objective remaining, mike williamswho is 6-foot-4 and 218 pounds taller than by Rashad Fenton 5-11, 188 and The Jarius Sneed’s 6-0, 189. Williams wasn’t heavily targeted by Herbert in the Week 1 game, with the Los Angeles signalman instead spreading the ball to all of his playmakers: Williams, Allen, Joshua Palmer, DeAndré Carter, Gerald Everett, Tre’ McKittyand Thank you all tied for team leader with four targets each.

Herbert’s ability to fire absolute laser beams across the field makes this kind of distribution possible. He (like the quarterback on the other side of this game) is the kind of rare talent that can turn targets of disparate skill levels into equally dangerous threats, simply because he’s able to connect on throws that shouldn’t really be possible.

Still, the height advantage that Williams and, to a lesser extent, Palmer, Everett and McKitty have over the Chiefs defensive backs should provide Herbert with the ability to put the ball in tight windows – because he can (and could have need to) trust them. walk away with disputed holds. Kansas City’s Week 1 coverage against Arizona was pretty good, with the top Cardinals sidelined Marquise Brown on average only 2.2 meters of separation per target, according to NFL.com’s Next Gen Stats – 13th lowest on 74 receivers and tight ends who were targeted five or more times. Brown averaged 3.3 and 3.5 yards of severance in the previous two seasons, indicating it was likely more of a sticky cover (and possibly Arizona’s offensive design ) than an inability to separate.

The Los Angeles offensive line held up well to a really good pass rush from the Raiders in Week 1. Herbert was under decent pressure, but only had to scramble once, didn’t take sack and was knocked down only twice out of 35 retirements. . Kansas City’s pass rush isn’t as scary as Las Vegas’ pass rush, so there shouldn’t be as much of a concern that Herbert has time to get into this game. It will be more about whether Steve Spagnuolo and company can find a way to generate pressure without having to give up too much body at the back and thus make the launch lanes wider than they want. Chris Jones is the Chiefs’ best pass rusher, but the Chargers are actually pretty strong in the middle with the combination of Matt Filler, Corey Linleyand rookie Sion Johnson solidify things in front of Herbert.

Austin Ekeler played just 49% of Los Angeles’ offensive snaps in Week 1, but he was also the only Chargers back to be as efficient, with his 13 carries and four receptions gaining 72 yards to just 47 yards on 13 keys in total for Joshua Kelley and Sony Michel. Maybe returning rookie Isaiah Spiller may be a better compliment for Ekeler when he steps onto the court, but right now LA might want to bring him back into the 60-70% snap range – especially in a game like this where they might need to score on every drive to keep pace with another of the league’s most explosive offenses.

When the Chiefs have the ball

After being bombed at by far the lowest rate in the NFL last season (11.3% vs. league average of 25.3%, with the closest qualified passer at 20.3%), Patrick Mahomes faced five or more rushers more often than any other passer in Week 1. The Cardinals sent extra bodies on 22 of his 41 dropbacks — a rate of 53.7%. The league average in the season openers was just 23.7%, and Jalen hurts (40.9%) and Trevor Lawrence (40%) were the only other QBs to be blitzed at least 40% of the time. The strategy fell short, as Mahomes completed 15 of 21 attempts for 137 yards and four touchdowns with zero sacks, despite being pressured on 11 of Arizona’s 22 blitzes.

In the first year of the Brandon Staley era, the Chargers blitzed at almost exactly league average pace. They also hovered around that range in their two games against the Chiefs, sending pressure on 22% and 24% of Mahomes’ comebacks. (Mahomes went 15 of 21 for 264 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions and a sack on those plays.) They backed off the blitz rate a bit in Week 1 against the Raiders, sending five or more passers on just 16 .3% passing clicks.

It’s perhaps worth noting that despite six sacks, the Chargers generated pressure at a below-average rate in Week 1, getting a sack, hit or rush on 28% of the time. by Derek Carr declines from a league average of 33% in season openers. It is despite the presence of an elite cutting-edge duo of Joey Bosa and Khalil Mac, which accounted for nine of the team’s 16 total pressures and 4.5 of six eliminations. Being able to get to quarterback without sending extra rushers is more important against Mahomes than perhaps any quarterback in the league, because he beats the blitz with absolutely deadly precision.

It’s not like sitting in the blanket is a better proposition, though. Mahomes recorded the league’s highest EPA per setback against non-blitzers in Week 1, completing 15 of 18 passes for 223 yards and a touchdown without taking a single sack. He didn’t force anything at all, just working his checks and making short passes down the middle to people like Travis Kelce, Ju Ju Smith Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantlingand Mecole Hardman. Smith-Schuster, in particular, was brought in specifically to attack these types of situations, and Mahomes found him in weak spots multiple times throughout the first half.

With JC Jackson probably still out for the Chargers, it will be interesting to see how Staley uses Derwin James as a chess piece in this game. It’s so versatile it can do just about anything. Will he take care of Kelce more often than not? Will he play in the slot to try and take some of the Smith-Schuster stuff down the middle? If he’s on Kelce, can the Chargers rely on the likes of Thank you Samuel Jr.. – which is very good but a bit smaller compared to Kansas City’s new wide reception hall which has a lot of size – and Michael Davis match? How much shell cover with the safeties just sitting overhead and forcing Mahomes to work his checks all the way down the pitch does Los Angeles want to employ – and will it work against an offense now designed to work from this way to the point that you drop a safety so she can knock you over?

The Chiefs ran the ball quite successfully in Week 1 against Arizona, with Clyde Edwards-Helaire look better than he did anytime in his first two NFL seasons. (CEH and Jerick McKinnon managed to find success behind that very good line.) The Raiders also ran the ball with some success against LA as well, with 46.2% of their rush attempts winning five yards or more. The Chargers’ utter inability to stop the run came back to bite them quite often last year, to the point that they spent a lot of free-agent money this offseason to shore up the problem. Kansas City’s offensive line should still have a decent advantage in the running game here, and using it a little more often than expected could be a way to unbalance the Chargers’ pass rush.

Prediction: Chiefs 33, Chargers 30

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