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Scouting the Chiefs: Week 2

The Los Angeles Chargers play the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, September 26, 2021 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO.
The Los Angeles Chargers play the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, September 26, 2021 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. [FINAL SCORE: LAC 30 - KC 24]

The Chargers will play their second straight AFC West game in Week 2.

The Bolts and Chiefs will meet in Kansas City on Thursday night, with kickoff at 5:15 p.m. (PT).

We chatted with Matt McMullen, who covers the Chiefs for, to get a preview of the game.

The Chiefs offense was humming in Arizona. What clicked early on for that group? Is it as simple as having No. 15 at quarterback?

MM: I really believe that the Chiefs' ability to integrate so many new players into their offense so seamlessly on Sunday gets back to the unofficial workouts that Patrick Mahomes hosted in Texas way back in April. The entire offense worked together pretty relentlessly outside of just the standard offseason training program for months, and the fruits of that labor were evident against the Cardinals. Mahomes found nine different pass-catchers in the game while leading the offense to 33 first downs and 488 total yards. They averaged 7.4 yards-per-play and were six-for-six in the red zone. The Chiefs haven't had depth like this at pass-catcher in a long time, and with so many weapons now available at Mahomes' disposal, it's much more difficult to identify where the ball is headed.

Which Chiefs defensive player stood out to you in Week 1?

MM: Several players had noteworthy games, but I'll go with rookie defensive end George Karlaftis. He recorded six pressures in the game and seemed to be around Kyler Murray all day long. In fact, Karlaftis was one of three Chiefs to tally at least six pressures against the Cardinals, joining Chris Jones and Mike Danna.

Check out some photos of the Chargers on the practice field before the trip to KC for Thursday Night Football

Who on the Chargers roster are the Chiefs most wary of for Thursday night?

MM: Speaking for myself, I think the obvious answer has to be Justin Herbert. He and Mahomes have had some great battles over the last few years, and there's no reason to suspect Thursday will be any different. Coach Reid pointed out on Tuesday that Herbert has seemed to get better every year, which is what you hope transpires with a talented young quarterback. The Chiefs' young secondary was impressive on Sunday against Kyler Murray, and they'll try to keep it going against Herbert this week.

What's the status of kicker Harrison Butker? If he can't go, how much will that affect KC's special teams?

MM: The latest update from Coach Reid on Tuesday was that Butker has a sprained ankle and that he's dealing with some swelling. As of now, he's day-to-day and we'll just have to see how he feels come game-time. The Chiefs signed kicker Matt Ammendola to the practice squad on Tuesday, so if Butker can't go, I suspect Ammendola would be the guy. In a pinch, safety Justin Reid also demonstrated that he could handle kickoffs and extra points against Arizona.

(Note: Butter was ruled OUT in the final Injury Report).

Finally, it's only Week 2, but how pivotal do you think this game will end up being for playoff implications?

MM: I don't want to put too much stock into a Week 2 game, but this will certainly set the tone for the early portion of the season. The AFC is as competitive as ever, and while it's a long season, every one of these games – especially divisional matchups – counts. Whoever is able to escape with the victory on Thursday will be doing themselves a major service in pursuit of the division title, even though it's early.

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