Keys to a Chargers’ victory over Chiefs and a prediction

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On Thursday evening, the Chargers are set to face off against the Chiefs, looking to sit atop the AFC West again and be able to control their destiny the rest of the way out.

There are a few key things that Los Angeles will need to do to secure a victory.

Against the Chiefs, the best defense is offense, which means the Chargers will have to score early and often, and they can’t afford to trade touchdowns for field goals.

It all starts up front where the offensive line, without rookie sensation Rashawn Slater, must minimize Kansas City’s pass-rush.

While not an ideal scenario, Los Angeles can mask his absence and make life simpler for Slater’s fill-in, Trey Pipkins, with RPOs, extra blockers, moving the pocket, and quick passes.

Furthermore, the Bolts need to establish early-down efficiency and tempo to wear down the Chiefs.

The other side of the ball starts with containing Patrick Mahomes in the pocket because on top of being an assassin with his arm, he can be just as effective with his legs.

Therefore, the interior needs to get some push and control its gaps, while the edge defenders must generate some pressure without working too far up the field to avoid leaving clear lanes for him.

Next up is preventing explosive pass plays. In conjunction with the guys in the trenches are those in the secondary. Key pieces, Derwin James and Asante Samuel Jr., are game-time decisions.

If they’re active, their presences are crucial, considering when they played earlier this season in Week 3, the Chargers held Mahomes to 5.9 pass yards per attempt.

If Samuel can’t go, Michael Davis needs to replicate his best performance last weekend. Tevaughn Campbell needs to step up opposite Davis. Chris Harris Jr. will need to keep up with the speed of Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman. And, the safeties can’t let anything get behind them.

Finally, winning the turnover battle is critical. In Week 3, Los Angeles produced four takeaways.

Prediction

This game is one of the most pivotal for both teams, as the battle for possession of first place in the AFC West is on the line. The Chargers and Chiefs are playing great football, which is why you should anticipate this being a close game. However, Primetime Herbert is undefeated, and I expect that not to change. Los Angeles wins in a high-scoring affair.

Chargers 30, Chiefs 27.