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10 Insights Entering Week 1 vs. KC

090618_Week1Insights

Below are 10 quick-hitting insights entering the Chargers' Week 1 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs:

1.    Despite losing the last eight games to the Chiefs, quarterback Philip Rivers' career record against Kansas City is still 13-12. There was a stretch from 2007-13 where Rivers beat the Chiefs 11 of 13 times.

2.    For the Chargers, ROKiT Field at StubHub Center is home sweet home. Los Angeles won their last five home games of 2017 by a combined 19.4 points.

3.    Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was six days short of his 11th birthday when Rivers made his first career NFL start on Sept. 11, 2006 – a 27-0 win against the Raiders. It was a season in which Rivers, now 36, would lead the team to a 14-2 regular season record. On Sunday, Rivers will make his 193rd career start to Mahomes' second.

4.    The last Kansas City quarterback not named Alex Smith to start an NFL opener was Matt Cassel in 2012. Since 2006, Rivers has gone head-to-head against seven different Chiefs starting quarterbacks. Mahomes makes No. 8 on Sunday.

5.    The key to beating Kansas City starts with slowing second-year running back Kareem Hunt. Last season, Hunt's two biggest rushing performances – a total of 327 yards – came against the Chargers. He also added a combined 62 receiving yards and three total touchdowns.

6.    Taking care of the football will also be vital for Los Angeles. Rivers threw for 27 touchdowns and just four interceptions last season against every opponent except the Chiefs. Against Kansas City, he threw one touchdown and six picks. Five of those six interceptions were made by cornerbacks who are no longer on the Chiefs' roster – Marcus Peters (3) and Terrance Mitchell (2).

7.    The Chargers faced two of the Chiefs' top cornerbacks last season, just on different teams. Kendall Fuller visited StubHub Center as a member of the Redskins – a 30-13 Chargers victory. Orlando Scandrick was a starter for the Cowboys when Los Angeles beat Dallas, 28-6, on Thanksgiving Day.

8.    Chiefs Pro Bowl tight end Travis Kelce was relatively quiet in two games against the Chargers in 2017. In the first matchup at StubHub Center, Kelce had just one catch for one yard on one target. Later in Kansas City, Kelce caught six passes on seven targets for 46 yards.

9.    Kansas City wide receiver Tyreek Hill, though, was not quiet. Hill caught a 30- and a 64-yard touchdown last year in two games against the Chargers. During the preseason, Mahomes hit Hill for a 69-yard touchdown strike.

10. Chiefs Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy played his first four NFL seasons as a running back for the Chargers (1991-94). He and Head Coach Anthony Lynn's playing career overlapped by six seasons. Lynn, too, played running back in the AFC West – four seasons with the Broncos.

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