Thursday Night Football Preview: Chargers vs. Chiefs
Thursday Night Football Preview
Line: Kansas City Chiefs (-4.5) | O/U 54.5
With Week 1 of the NFL season in the books, fans can’t get enough of the action-packed and dramatic performances put together for the opening games. The NFL scriptwriters put together an incredible Week 1 and we might be in line for another stellar week with a star-studded matchup to begin. The first matchup for Week 2 is between two AFC West rivals, the Los Angeles Chargers and the Kansas City Chiefs.
This initial game of Week 2 could be a close one as both of these teams have their own all-world quarterback along with plenty of talent at skill positions. The last time these two teams met up was in Week 15 last season. The Chiefs won that matchup in an overtime thriller where Patrick Mahomes out-dueled Justin Herbert with 410 passing yards and three touchdowns.
The Chargers are coming off of a close win against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 1. On the defensive side, their offseason addition of Khalil Mack proved to be a success as he and Joey Bosa combined for 4.5 sacks on Sunday. That pass rush should continue to be a massive threat for opposing offensive lines as the season rolls on.
In the secondary, the Chargers were clearly missing their shutdown offseason acquisition at cornerback in J.C. Jackson as Davante Adams exposed them with 141 receiving yards. Jackson has been dealing with an ankle injury for a few weeks now and it’s looking like he won’t suit up for the second straight week due to the short four-day break.
On offense, Justin Herbert started off the season with more of the same. He threw for 279 yards, three touchdowns, and had a rating of 129.4. Oddly enough, it was not the usual suspects making plays for the Chargers on Sunday. Keenan Allen exited the game with a hamstring injury in the second quarter, Mike Williams caught only two targets for 10 yards, and Austin Ekeler combined for 72 total yards on 18 opportunities.
After Allen’s departure, Herbert continued to spread the ball around while getting players like DeAndre Carter and Gerald Everett involved. That sort of pattern could easily continue on Thursday night as Keenan Allen is expected to be absent for this coming game while recovering from his injury.
#Chargers WR Keenan Allen is unlikely to play Thursday night against the #Chiefs, but there is optimism after tests that his hamstring injury isn’t anything long-term, per sources. Next game is Sept. 25 against the #Jaguars, two full weeks after the injury.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 13, 2022
With major pieces from offense and defense missing from this game, the Chargers are going to have a tough time facing off against a dominant Chiefs team that is coming off a very successful Week 1.
The Chiefs dominated the Cardinals in Week 1. The final score of 44-21 does not do them justice as they were up 37-7 at one point late in the game but allowed a couple of garbage-time touchdowns. The Kansas City defense has not been their strength for the past few years but they did show a sense of urgency while limiting the hobbled Cardinals' offense. While they did show improvement, Kansas City will have a much larger challenge on their hands by attempting to slow down Justin Herbert and the Chargers.
On offense, Patrick Mahomes put on a show. He threw for 360 yards, five touchdowns, and had a 144.2 rating. Many offseason reports had their doubts on Mahomes due to the offseason loss of Tyreek Hill. Apparently, he’ll be doing just fine without him. Travis Kelce was still his main target as he finished with 121 yards but other pass-catchers like JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling had their fair share. Clyde Edwards-Helaire even showed flashes in the run game as well as the receiving game, a development that fans have been hoping for since he was drafted in 2020.
Highest Passer Rating in Week 1:— Pinhead Sports (@_PinheadSports) September 13, 2022
Patrick Mahomes 144.2
Justin Herbert 129.4 pic.twitter.com/vV3BXDOstn
The Chiefs are riding high entering this game. They should be able to carry this momentum into one of their most important games of the year against their heavyweight division rival.
Chargers vs. Chiefs Prediction
The Chargers should be fantastic for the year and are likely one of the top-3 teams in the AFC in 2022, but I’m rolling with the healthier team and picking the Chiefs to take this Thursday night win. Los Angeles looked strong against the Raiders in Week 1 but Kansas City is a different animal.
With so many different offensive sets and Patrick Mahomes being able to make impossible throws at will with a healthy core, there appears to be nothing that can stop them at the moment. As mentioned before, the Chargers will most likely be missing two of their top players in cornerback J.C. Jackson and wide receiver Keenan Allen.
When fully healthy, I would expect this matchup to go in the Chargers' direction. But at the moment, they aren’t. If the Chargers want to win, Herbert is going to have to put up some otherworldly numbers to keep up with this offense and I just don’t see that happening without Keenan Allen.
The Pick: Chiefs -4.5
NFL DFS Showdown Flex Targets
WR - Marquez Valdez-Scantling ($6,400)
MVS is always a candidate for a splash performance with his speed as a deep threat in this high-flying offense. While he wasn’t amazing last week against the Cardinals with only 44 yards, that was mostly due to the game script as the Chiefs were ahead for the entire game. If there’s anybody that has the ability to show out and catch a long touchdown in this Kansas City offense, it’s MVS. At $6,400, he’s a solid value at flex.
WR - Joshua Palmer ($5,000)
With Keenan Allen out, Joshua Palmer should be operating as the WR2 behind Mike Williams on Thursday night. In the one game that Allen missed last season, Palmer was able to haul in five receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown. Now that he’s clearly moved ahead of Jalen Guyton in the wide receiver room, Josh Palmer should have a solid opportunity share to himself against the Chiefs. In a game that projects to be somewhat of a shootout, Palmer is a great value at just $5,000.
TE - Gerald Everett ($4,800)
Gerald Everett was a solid performer last week and it looks like he’ll be on touchdown watch as long as he’s healthy. After supporting the ghost of Jared Cook last season, the Chargers may have found their solid tight end in Everett. Both of these teams are going to be putting up points in this matchup and Everett may be a beneficiary in the red zone. For a player that was on the field for 75 percent of the Chargers' offensive snaps last week, Gerald Everett could be a major receiving threat with Keenan Allen out for the game.
Jack Camenzind is a writer for FantasyData as well as RotoBaller but he spent time previously as a writer for 5th Down Fantasy. He is a recent graduate of Butler University who is currently residing in St. Louis, Missouri. His deep sports knowledge is primarily tied to the NFL but he’s still a massive fan of the MLB and NBA. He is also a huge St. Louis sports fan but his NFL loyalty is tied to the Denver Broncos, and not just because the Rams moved to Los Angeles. Outside of sports, Jack is a crime drama fan, a frequent runner, and an occasional gamer.