The defending-Super-Bowl-champion Kansas City Chiefs opened their season with a decisive 34-20 win over the Houston Texans last Thursday night. On Sunday, the Chiefs hope to start the year 2-0 as they head to Los Angeles for a showdown with the Chargers. Kickoff is scheduled at 4:25 PM Eastern. Kansas City enters as eight-and-a-half point favorites, with the over/under set at 47.5.
Chiefs Start Strong
Rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire got off to a fantastic start, rushing for 138 yards and a touchdown. Patrick Mahomes continued to dominate opposing defenses, throwing touchdown passes to three different receivers. While the defense did allow Houston to score 13 points in the fourth quarter, the offense provided more than enough to keep the Texans from cutting too much into the lead.
With one of the most dynamic offenses in the league, the Chiefs are poised to repeat as Super Bowl Champions. Not only are they capable of running up high scores, but also their defense has improved from last season. The Chiefs’ secondary complements their excellent pass-rush. While the run defense still has some flaws, most teams will be forced to abandon the running game when the offense stretches the lead.
In July, Mahomes signed a 12-year contract extension, the first 12-year deal in the NFL since Donovan McNabb. It already looks to be worth every penny. In just his third year as a starting quarterback, Mahomes’ potential to grow is still off the charts. Andy Reid is the perfect coach for him, and the duo will be competing for titles for the foreseeable future.
Chargers Look for Shocking Upset
The Chargers, on the other hand, needed a stunning missed field goal to eke out a Week 1 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. While the Chargers have been notorious for losing the closest games because of odd bounces, it’s nice to see them get some luck to swing their way.
Tyrod Taylor is the team’s first starting quarterback NOT named Philip Rivers since 2005. Taylor will start until 2020 first-round pick Justin Herbert is ready to take over. Whoever is steering the ship, 1-0 is a solid way for a team brimming with potential to begin the year.
The Chargers will still be without injured All-Pro Safety Derwin James, who will be a noticeable absence this week while recovering from knee surgery. The 24-year-old defensive weapon can line up almost anywhere on the field, but injury woes kept James sidelined for 11 games last season. While the Chargers held Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow to under 200 yards passing in his first start, a more experienced Mahomes poses a much greater aerial threat.
To beat Kansas City, the Chargers will need to utilize the run game early, both to establish the play-action pass and to keep Mahomes off the field. Keenan Allen’s best hope for a big game will come from a strong backfield performance led by Austin Ekeler. While 16 points was a good enough effort to beat the Bengals, it likely won’t be enough to keep up with the Chiefs.
On to the Pick
Sorry Chargers, but this week, it’s Go Chiefs Go. The Chiefs will improve 2-0, winning this one handily. Even on the road, expect Kansas City to win and cover the spread.
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