Editor’s note: As we head into Sunday’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers we welcome Michael Peterson of Bolts from the Blue — our sister SB Nation site covering the Los Angeles Chargers — for Five Questions with the Enemy.
1) How have you felt the season has gone so far for the Chargers?
This season has definitely been up and down, but that’s not surprising two weeks in with a 1-1 record. Week one was up, week two was down. Both games were stained by a horrendous officiating call against the Chargers and they were unfortunately only able to overcome the 15-yard fumble-pass against Washington and not the “in-the-grasp” sack against the Cowboys.
The offense has been just fine as they’re one of just nine teams to be averaging over 400.0 yards of offense per game. However, they’re the only team to not average at least 24.5 points per outing at the same time. The craziest part? They’re averaging just 18.5 points over the first two weeks. That’s almost a full touchdown less than all the other top offenses. That simply won’t do. Chargers fans are hoping this game will be a good opportunity to get right on that side of the ball.
2) I’ve seen a lot of talk about Keenan Allen so far this year. Has he been as good as advertised or is this simply who he has always been?
Allen has been the same old Slayer. He’s a walking 10-and-100 stat line every time he steps on the field. The chemistry between him and Herbert has been quite strong since his very first start and it’s only gotten better. Save for one drop against Washington, this combination has been near-flawless.
If you’re wondering if he’s any better this season as opposed to past seasons, I’d say he’s pretty much the same guy in that the catches and yards will flow but the touchdowns will be hard to come by. Allen posted six touchdowns in three-straight seasons from 2017-2019 and then tied a career-high with eight scores. He hadn’t touched that number since his rookie season and most believe he has a chance to break that mark with an extra game on the schedule.
3) Derwin James vs. Travis Kelce. Who is winning that matchup?
The bias in me says that Derwin James will win this matchup. In Derwin’s first game in the NFL, Travis Kelce finished with one catch for six yards. In their second meeting during that 2018 season, Kelce caught seven passes for 61 yards. Over any two-game span, that’s quite the mitigation job on the league’s best tight end.
But it’s been quite some time since then and Kelce has only shown that he’s getting better and better with each season. This matchup is going to have a spotlight on it from the very first whistle and I expect both players to make their fair share of plays but my money is on James. He’s waited so long for this moment and I expect him to seize it.
4) Where do the Chargers match up badly with the Chiefs?
I think no matter what team the Chiefs are playing, the opponent is going to have a rough time with Tyreek Hill. The Chargers’ fastest defensive back is Michael Davis and while he’s got speed, I don’t think he’s got the start/stop ability to really stick close to Hill for most of the game. Derwin James showed he could potentially run with Hill deep but when it comes to horizontal movement, I’ll always give the nod to Hill and the Chiefs.
I should also note that the interior of the Chargers’ defensive line is not all that sturdy. If you watched the Cowboys matchup, the center and guards had a day against Linval Joseph and Jerry Tillery. When those two get displaced as much as they did, young linebackers in Kenneth Murray and Kyzir White really struggle sifting through trash to make the tackle. I’d expect a pretty decent day for CEH on the ground.
5) How does this one play out?
I think both teams have a day on offense. With two games into the season in the new offense, it’s about time he stops throwing head-scratching interceptions and starts throwing touchdowns. Patrick Mahomes is still going to get his. I expect both quarterbacks to make numerous plays outside of the pocket and by the end of this one, both fan bases will have had their minds blown once or twice over. Similar to last year’s week two tilt, I think this one comes down to a last-second field goal because it just wouldn’t be a Chargers football game without one. My final score prediction is 33-30 Chiefs. I’m giving the edge to the Chiefs here and will continue to do so until the Chargers prove me wrong.
Be sure to check out the answers I gave to their questions by clicking here.