Keys to victory: Chiefs edition
Oh the matchup between the division rival juggernaut Kansas City Chiefs is upon us. This makes the win in week 1 all the more important because otherwise things could of quickly turned to a 0-2 start. Now the Chargers always seem to play the Chiefs really close in recent years despite everyone always assuming the Cheifs will win by a landslide. Now the odds seem to be even more against the Bolts as they have a change over at quarterback and they seem to be still finding they’re identity on that side of the ball. However with our defense we can always have a chance and if they can get a steady run game going then it’s anyone’s game in my opinion. I say this because Kansas City is very much an offensive driven team and on the defensive side of things they are below average, it’s very much their offense that just wears teams down and controls the clock. Here are my keys to the game that will likely determine how the game plays out.
Kelechi Osemele vs Justin Jones/ Jerry Tillery
On paper it seems the Chargers defensive line is superior to the Cheifs offensive line, yet matchups arnt won on paper. While Bosa will have the upper hand against Schwartz , Ingram should have his work cut out for him against Eric Fisher. I have faith that Linval will no doubt be able to occupy the center and right guard by plugging the number two gap. That means ultimately the battle of the trenches comes down to left guard Kelechi Osemele vs the likes of Justin Jones and Jerry Tillery. Osemele is a very physical run blocker and very much had his way with the Houston defense. Even though technically he only graded out with a 72.6 overall blocking grade his skill set is better than this number reflects. I would personally like to see more Justin Jones in this match up than Tillery even though they will mix and match. I mentioned in my week 1 recap that Tillery may have had 2 sacks last week but struggled in the run defense department with just a 54.5 run D grade. It’s still very early in the season and would like to see how Tillery progresses in this department however Jones had a 70.0 overall grade and seems to be the stronger of the two. This will very much be a key match up to watch during week 2.
Sammy Watkins vs Michael Davis
Now Tyreek Hill may be the Kansas City wide out who gets most the attention from both fans a defenses alike but I think Watkins holds the keys in this one as to how successful this vertical attack will be. I think Hayward will do enough to keep Hill in check for the most part so the consistency for Mahomes vertical targets comes down to Michael Davis. Davis has been up and down in his young career but had a solid week 1 and hopes to have a strong bounce back season. Davis who played 60 snaps last week which equals out to be 88% of defensive plays racked up a 72.8 coverage grade against the Bengals. This week he will have his work cut out for him against the likes of Sammy Watkins who possesses 4.3 speed. If Davis can keep Watkins in check and not let him blow up the stat sheet then the defense can keep them in the game single handedly. Not just that but if he can do so this will theoretically bring Davis a big confidence booster for the rest of the season. As Dion Sanders would say, confidence makes you feel good and if you feel good you play good!
Finding a rhythm for the offense:
The offense came under fire last week for having stalled most of the game. Some complained about the play calling, some about Tyrod’s accuracy, and some because they weren’t getting the star players involved more. You have to take what the defense is giving you first of all. Do not try to get one particular player involved if he is having trouble getting things going, one player is not bigger than the team’s success. Secondly the play calling will have to find a better semblance in which they call certain plays. Every play should not be just called randomly if the team has not set that play up for success on either previous plays and or drives. The offensive coordinator must not forget the art of deception. If they want to run certain formations and schemes such as RPO and pistol formation they must be successfully set up by making the defense respect the run or short passing game. This means do not be discouraged by a failed play because you are still showing the defense a certain look so that you can set them up later. For instance you can run a run play to the left side out of an RPO formation twice on a certain drive then run a completely different play then come right back to another RPO look but instead bluff and do a quick throw on a slant. This is obviously one example but the same goes for almost every other type of play. If the offense can control the clock and keep KC’s offense on the sideline they certainly have a chance to pull off an upset.