Thursday Night Football Preview: Chargers, Chiefs ready for divisional shootout

Thursday Night Football Preview: Chargers, Chiefs ready for divisional shootout

After Week 1’s laugher between Buffalo and Los Angeles to start off 2022’s slate of Thursday Night Football games in the NFL, the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs do battle in what ought to be a more tightly contested game. As divisional rivals in the AFC West, there is certainly no love lost between these two longtime foes. In a division where all four teams have high expectations heading into this season, a Week 2 matchup like this one would be a huge step forward for either team. 

Thursday is Kansas City’s home opener, and the Chiefs certainly gave their fans reason to be excited in their romp of the Arizona Cardinals last week. Andy Reid’s offense was humming from the opening kickoff, and Patrick Mahomes looked just fine despite the departure of Tyreek Hill to Miami. Mahomes threw for touchdowns on Kansas City’s first three drives, and threw for five of them before the third quarter ended with the Chiefs ahead 37-7. 

Kansas City’s defense was equally as impressive, holding a previously prolific Arizona attack to less than 300 yards of total offense despite two garbage time touchdown drives. The Chiefs’ defensive front caused all sorts of problems for Kyler Murray – but this week represents a much taller task. 

Los Angeles is coming off an impressive win of their own, jumping out to a big lead and holding off a comeback rally against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday. Justin Herbert looked to be in midseason form, throwing three touchdowns without an interception and completing passes to nine different teammates. The Chargers did lose their top wideout Keenan Allen, who appears unlikely to play in Thursday night’s game at Arrowhead due to a hamstring injury. 

The Chargers’ defense reloaded aggressively in the offseason, acquiring JC Jackson, Khalil Mack, and Sebastian Joseph-Day among others. Jackson has yet to play, but Mack and Joseph-Day gave LA’s pass rush an immediate boost that led to six sacks of Derek Carr. The secondary was impressive as well, intercepting Carr three times to preserve the victory. 

Both teams are in for a tougher challenge than they encountered last week, and both meetings between Los Angeles and Kansas City last year were electric. Los Angeles rallied for a 30-24 win on the road last year in Week 3, catalyzed by a bold decision by Head Coach Brandon Staley to go for a fourth down on the Chargers’ final drive. Kansas City returned the favor in an epic Week 15 showdown, as Patrick Mahomes connected with Travis Kelce for a 34-yard pass to walk it off in overtime 34-28. 

Occasionally, the NFL’s scheduling committee deals us a Thursday night stinker – but not this week. The Chargers and Chiefs have a ton on the line, and boast two talented rosters capable of plenty of fireworks. Get your popcorn ready.

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