Chargers +3.5 at Kansas City — 2 units
Joining the minority here betting on the Chargers and going against the Chiefs 9 game win streak against them.
A couple of things are different now than during that 9 game run (aside from Pat Mahomes’ arm) – the Chiefs defense was dominant for years, now they’re 32nd in the league in passing yards allowed and 27th in points allowed. The defense is terrible. Patrick Mahomes obviously is a huge upgrade over what Alex Smith brought to the table for years, but no Watkins, Hunt or Ware is big for this one specific game. Derwin James likely will be the difference in this game because he can limit Travis Kelce and make Tyreek Hill the only big weapon for the Chiefs. Kansas City’s starting LG Cam Erving is out after an injury vs the Ravens.
Austin Ekeler is out and Melvin Gordon is a game-time-decision, but the Chargers backup RB Justin Jackson had the go-ahead touchdown against the Steelers after touching the ball 8 times for 63 yards. 4th string RB Detrez Newson also has talent.
The pre-2018 Chargers would’ve lost to the Steelers in primetime but they pulled out a big win on the road (although had a little luck). A win like that gives them confidence for a night like tonight. The second half adjustments were impressive on defense and Anthony Lynn/Gus Bradley have to get some credit for that. Keenan Allen will win his matchup. Eric Berry is returning tonight for KC but will likely have some rust and won’t be enough to overcome a bad defense going against an explosive offense. Joey Bosa will win his matchup and the Chargers will take advantage of the Chiefs LG being out.
The Chargers have another trend going against them that road teams on Thursday Night Football are just 2-11 (2-9-2 ATS) this year, but Kansas City has definitely been in better situations before after coming off an emotional OT win just a few days ago.
This should be a close game that gets decided by a long Chargers drive and/or one Mahomes mistake. Mahomes is the MVP of the league so far but he is human and had turnovers against New England, LA, and Baltimore that kept those games close.
Derwin James will be mentioned a lot tonight. Chargers by a field goal.
Side note: Chargers on opening day in 2016 were 7 points underdogs at Arrowhead. They were up 21 points in the first half before Keenan Allen tore his ACL. San Diego was shook after that and they ended up losing in OT 33-27. The year before they lost to the Chiefs 10-3 on a dropped touchdown as the clock expired. Another year, they lost a meaningless Week 17 game to the Chiefs. Bottom line, there were a couple of games the pre-2018 Chargers were right there and had chances to win against KC.