The Chargers earned a solid Week 1 win over the Raiders, but it came at a cost as Keenan Allen will miss this week’s game with a hamstring injury. Nine different players caught a pass and 11 were targeted, so everybody got into the act and the defense forced three interceptions during the victory.
Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (-4, 54)
This is far from an ideal spot for the Chargers. Their most reliable pass catcher is sidelined and they’ve got a long trek to Arrowhead Stadium to take on a Chiefs team that barely broke a sweat in blowing out the Arizona Cardinals last week. Patrick Mahomes was 30 for 39 for 360 yards and five touchdowns in his first regular-season game without Tyreek Hill, so it looks like the Chiefs aren’t going to miss a beat in the passing game.
This game should be all about the quarterbacks. While the Chiefs rushed for 128 yards on 27 carries, including a strong debut from rookie Isiah Pacheco with 62 yards on 12 attempts, the offense still goes through Mahomes and his weapons. Given that the Chargers had much less success running against a better Raiders front, Herbert will have to be ready to hold up his end of the bargain without his top possession receiver. Somebody like Josh Palmer for an anytime touchdown (+255 at DraftKings) might be a good prop bet.
The defense is what remains under the microscope for the Chargers. Newcomer Khalil Mack had three of their six sacks in Week 1 and Joey Bosa added 1½ sacks. Getting to Mahomes is a little different than getting to Derek Carr.
The teams split last season, with the Chargers winning 30-24 in Week 3 and the Chiefs winning in overtime 34-28 in Week 15 on a Thursday. Los Angeles forced six turnovers in those two games but also gave up 933 yards. Allen had 22 targets and 14 catches between the two games. His absence may be hard to replace, especially early in the season, so I lean toward the Chiefs to cover.
Pick: Chiefs -4
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