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Five things to watch as the Chiefs face the Chargers on Sunday

Carefully enumerated thoughts about the Week 1 matchup with the team largely favored to win the AFC West

1. Kent Swanson’s 45 Seconds on Patrick Mahomes

I bring this up first because this is something you’ll need to see before the game. If you haven’t watched Kent’s most recent 45 Seconds segment, do it right away. You’ll be smarter. You’ll be able to notice more as you watch the game. And you’ll enjoy the privilege of gazing upon Kent’s awesome hair.

2. How will the Chiefs’ left guard position do?

The Chiefs had second-year offensive lineman Andrew Wylie listed as their starting left guard when the team released their unofficial depth chart on Monday, but it seemed that plan began to shift as the week went on. Cam Erving signed a contract extension on Tuesday for what we thought at the time was a swing tackle role.

Head coach Andy Reid was asked about whether Wylie would start at left guard on Wednesday.

“There’s a pretty good chance,” Reid said. “Him and Cam (Erving) are working. By the way, congratulations to Cam on his new deal and it was well deserved. He did a nice job during camp and Cam we have kind of moved all over the place and tried to focus Andrew (Wylie) right in at that guard position. Both will get time on Sunday.”

Then, on Friday, Wylie told reporters that it would be Erving, not him, starting at the left guard position.

So what is the Chiefs’ plan here? Why does it keep changing? Are they splitting time?

We’ll find out more on Sunday.

3. Will the Chiefs really be better against the run?

With all the concern about the Chiefs secondary, it’s important to remember the positive changes on the Chiefs defensive roster since last season. With players like Xavier Williams, Anthony Hitchens and Derrick Nnadi now on the roster, the Chiefs should be more effective at stopping the run. Granted, the Chargers weren’t a particularly effective team on the ground last season, so they’d better be! And that leads us to...

4. Will the Chiefs be able to rattle Philip Rivers?

Justin Houston and Dee Ford are both healthy. If the revamped front seven can get more push up the middle, that should lead to more pressure on opposing quarterbacks. And as we have learned with long experience against the Chargers, getting Rivers rattled with constant pressure is a big key to beating him.

5. Will the Chargers be able to rattle Patrick Mahomes?

We’ve seen Mahomes play a bunch of preseason games — and one regular-season game that felt a lot like a preseason game. This is going to be different. It’s a division game against a talented team with a lot to prove. It’s going to get real — and we’re going to learn a lot about our young quarterback. Mahomes, I’ve been very impressed with your ability to learn how to be a pro quarterback, but this is where the real test begins. Go get ‘em, kid.

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