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NFL: Los Angeles Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs preview

Two teams that impressed in Week 1 will go at it in a wild AFC West battle between the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday night.

The Chiefs enjoyed a blowout win at the Arizona Cardinals as Patrick Mahomes threw for five touchdowns and the defence held Kyler Murray largely in check until the game was beyond the hosts' reach in the fourth quarter.

The Chargers flew out of the gate with a 24-19 win in their home opener against the Las Vegas Raiders, sacking Derek Carr five times and picking off three of his passes while Justin Herbert enjoyed a clean and precise afternoon under center for them.

Last season's series between these two was split as the Chiefs avenged September's defeat at Arrowhead when Travis Kelce scored off a Mahomes pass deep in overtime during the last meeting in December.

WhatLos Angeles Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs
WhereArrowhead Stadium, Kansas City
When8:15 p.m. ET/5:15 pm PT Thursday, September 15th 2022
How to watchAmazon Prime Video
OddsLA Chargers +167, KC Chiefs -192

High points potential

Two of the past four meetings between the division rivals have been tied after four quarters, illustrating how closely the teams match up even if the Chiefs have been the dominant force in the AFC West for six years in a row.

There tends to be a lot of points put on the board too, which makes sense given the explosive offenses each team possesses, with four of the last five clashes seeing at least 52 points scored.

Even with an over/under line at 54.5 for this game - the highest of any Week 2 matchup - there's a chance that the scoring potential of both teams has been underestimated.

The Bolts believe they have a quarterback who can hang with Mahomes in a prospective shoot-out, but they are different players with Herbert a classic pocket passer while the Chiefs star moves around and makes off-platform throws.

Chiefs QB spreads it out

Mahomes, +105 to have over 2.5 passing TDs, spread the ball around well against the Cardinals with Kelce, Clyde Edwards-Helaire (two), Jody Fortson and Mecole Hardman each scoring TDs.

It must have been a relief to Chiefs fans to see the passing game function so seamlessly after the offseason loss of Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, who suited up for the Chiefs for the first time since his arrival from the Pittsburgh Steelers, had six catches for 79 yards. But he fumbled twice, losing one, and is now a doubt for the Chargers game with a shoulder injury.

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Allen absence could hurt Herbert and co

Herbert's receiving corps could be reduced on Thursday too - and in a big way - after primary target Keenan Allen sustained a hamstring injury on Sunday.

He began well with four catches for 66 yards, including a 42-yard reception that helped set up a touchdown in the second quarter that gave the Chargers a 10-3 lead.

But, worryingly for the Bolts, Los Angeles racked up only 48 yards in their final five offensive drives versus the Raiders without him on the field.

The Chargers rushed for just 2.5 yards per carry - with RB1 Austin Ekeler finishing with 14 carries for just 36 yards - and will need a much more balanced offense to succeed in Missouri.

Defense on top in Week 1

However, there is a chance cornerback J.C. Jackson, who was inactive on Sunday, could return in time for this game, according to coach Brandon Staley.

Jackson underwent ankle surgery last month and was given a two-to-four-week timeline to return, but worked out with his Chargers teammates during pregame warm-ups at SoFi Stadium.

The Bolts' D was as impressive as previously advertised on Sunday with new signing Khalil Mack going to town on his former team, finishing with three sacks, six tackles, three tackles for a loss, four quarterback hits and a forced fumble.

He will need to be in peak form again to quieten a Chiefs' attack that will come at Los Angeles from all angles.

Kansas City's defence did a great job of limiting the Cardinals' offense to scraps for the most part on Sunday, until Kyler Murray led two garbage-time TD drives to give the scoreline some semblance of respectability.

Turnover battle will be key

With little to choose between the teams going into this early-season skirmish, the outcome will probably rest on which one wins the turnover battle.

The Chargers are +3 for turnovers while the Chiefs are -1 after one game.

It may be too early to reach any firm conclusions, but Los Angeles have loaded up on defensive playmakers that will create takeaways while the Chiefs have lost a couple from their defensive backfield.

Los Angeles gave the ball away three fewer times than the Chiefs across the 2021 regular season, so could have the edge on ball security for this clash too.

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