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Free Pick: Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City 9/26/21
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Free Pick: Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City 9/26/21

The Chargers come into Arrowhead with a 1-1 record for this important AFC West division matchup with the 1-1 Chiefs. Kansas City hasn’t been bad the first two weeks, but they haven’t played like Super Bowl contenders. Will this be the week that they start hitting on all cylinders?

Scouting the Chargers: So far, Justin Herbert has followed his rookie season with a strong beginning in year 2. He has completed 62 of 88 passes for 675 yards but only 2 touchdowns against 3 interceptions. The 88 pass attempts is alarming and that points to a lack of a running game. Austin Ekeler is the leading rusher with 24 carries netting 111 yards. In fact, they only have 185 yards rushing total for the first two games. Receivers, Mike Williams and Keenan Allen have combined for 28 catches and 371 yards as they have been reliable receivers for Herbert to get the ball to. On defense, they have given up 324 yards on the ground and have not played very well upfront. Linebackers, Kenneth Murray and Kyzir White have combined for 26 tackles and Derwin James and Nasir Adderley have been solid in the secondary.

Scouting the Chiefs: Kansas City has definitely put up enough points to be 2-0, yet there is some cause for concern because of an inconsistent running game. Patrick Mahomes has been great, as usual, and Travis Kelce is the best there is. But, is Mahomes being asked to be the savior every week? Clyde Edwards-Helaire is the team’s leading rusher with only 89 yards in the first two games. Look for the Chiefs to focus on getting that ground game fixed for this week. Mahomes has completed 76% of his passes and has done his part along with Tyreek Hill (14 receptions for 211 yards) and Kelce (13 for 175). Of course, most of the Chiefs’ early problems center around their defense, particularly their run defense. In 2 games, they have allowed 404 rushing yards and teams are averaging 6 yards a carry on them. This is causing deep concerns in Kansas City. They have only 1 sack recorded in the first two games. On the plus side, they have come up with three interceptions.

This is a very interesting game to analyze. The Chargers’ weakness on defense is defending the run and running the ball is Kansas City’s weakness on offense. The Chiefs’ defense can’t stop the run but the Chargers haven’t shown they can run the ball in their two games. The bottom line is Kansas City is the better team and the oddsmakers agree making them a 6.5 favorite.


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