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Scouting the Chiefs: Week 11


A primetime AFC West showdown is on tap.

The Bolts and Chiefs will meet Sunday night, with kickoff at 5:20 p.m. (PT) from SoFi Stadium.

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

Where's the biggest area the Chiefs have changed in since Week 2?

MM: I think the chemistry and experience is now there on both sides of the ball. For the offense, that's Patrick Mahomes' rapport with all of his new weapons in the passing game. He leads the NFL in passing yards and TDs, and in addition to that, a league-most 10 players have caught a TD for the Chiefs this year. The defense, meanwhile, has benefitted from the growth of numerous young players who have had the benefit of simply playing games.

Who's an under-the-radar player who has stepped up in recent weeks?

MM: I could go a number of directions with this answer, but I'd vote for Jerick McKinnon. In one way or another, he has consistently provided the Chiefs with a spark whenever they needed it. I can look at numerous games (the Raiders and 49ers come to mind) where he made one play that then seemed to ignite the entire offense.

Check out the best photos of the Chargers Thursday practice at Hoag Performance Center

Kansas City's defense has seemingly turned it on down the stretch in recent seasons ... is the same thing happening again?

MM: It absolutely is. This is a young defense that has seemed ahead of schedule all year long, and that continues to be the case. They've created a solid pass-rush and have been covering well on the backend. Since Week 7, this is the No. 6 scoring defense in the NFL.

What is the Chiefs biggest concern about the Bolts heading into Sunday night's matchup?

MM: Just speaking for myself, I think it has to be the arm of Justin Herbert. I understand that the numbers and stats haven't always been there this year, but it's obvious that he's a special player. If the Chiefs are to win on Sunday, they'll need to contain Herbert throughout.

Finally, how is KC viewing the division race with eight games to go? A Chargers win keeps them in it, but KC win could set them up nicely for another title.

MM: It's no doubt a great opportunity for the Chiefs on Sunday, but they're not taking anything for granted. I think they understand that this is going to be a battle for all 60 minutes. These matchups always seem to be memorable ones that come down to the end, and whoever wins this division will be the team that was able to make the necessary plays in crunch time.

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