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    Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs: Who has the edge?
    • October 21, 2023

    CHARGERS (2-3) at CHIEFS (5-1)

    When: 1:25 p.m. Sunday

    Where: Arrowhead Stadium

    TV/Radio: Ch. 2; 98.7 FM; 105.5 FM/94.3 FM (Spanish)

    Line: Chiefs by 5½

    Notable injury designations

    Chargers: OUT: S Alohi Gilman (heel), WR Jalen Guyton (knee), DB Deane Leonard (hamstring), DL Otito Ogbonnia (knee). QUESTIONABLE: S Derwin James Jr. (ankle), LB Amen Ogbongbemiga (groin).

    Chiefs: OUT: WR Justin Watson (elbow), QUESTIONABLE: CB Jaylen Waton (thigh).

    What’s at stake: The Chargers need a victory to remain a viable playoff candidate. A loss would drop them to 2-4 with plenty of difficult games still to be played. Any chance of catching the AFC West-leading Chiefs would probably disappear if the Chargers were to lose. The Chargers have played nothing but close games this season, losing by two, three and three points and winning by four and seven points. So, another tight game shouldn’t faze them in the least.

    Who’s better: The Chiefs, led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, are the reigning Super Bowl champions and have won five consecutive after a season-opening defeat to the Detroit Lions. Kansas City defeated the Chargers by scores of 27-24 and 30-27 last season en route to a Super Bowl victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. The Chargers aren’t pleased by their record so far, but they aren’t in panic mode.

    Matchup to watch: The Chargers’ goal is to contain Mahomes and keep him within arm’s reach. If he scrambles away from the Chargers’ pressure and runs out of the pocket, that’s when he’s at his most dangerous. He’s among the NFL’s most creative quarterbacks when on the run. His pairing with tight end Travis Kelce is among the best in the league, one the Chargers must contend with if they hope to win. The Chargers’ secondary, bruised as it is, will be under pressure.

    Chargers win if: As in Monday night’s game against the Dallas Cowboys, the Chargers must play a flawless game if they expect to beat the Chiefs. The Chargers were far from perfect against the Cowboys, but still had a chance to win – or at least send the game into overtime – in the closing minutes. The Chargers’ two-minute drill failed and quarterback Justin Herbert’s second interception of the season sealed the deal for the Cowboys with a little more than a minute to play.

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    Fantasy sleeper: Herbert had two strong games last season against the Chiefs, throwing for 334 yards and three touchdowns in one game and 280 yards and two touchdowns in the other. So, keep close tabs on him as he attempts to drive a Chargers offense that’s been disappointing over the past six quarters, including the second half of their victory over the Raiders in Week 4. However, Herbert acknowledged the difficulty of holding the ball firmly during the Chargers’ loss to the Cowboys because of a fractured left middle finger on his non-throwing hand.

    Prediction: The Chiefs are favored to win and the Chargers are considered underdogs, which is just as it should be. The Chargers’ injury issues at the safety position should be of concern, with Gilman ruled out and James said to be questionable to play. Expect a 24-20 victory for the Chiefs.

    ​ Orange County Register