Heading into Sunday night time’s contest at SoFi Stadium, the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs discover themselves within the uncommon place of holding a two-game lead over the Los Angeles Chargers. If the Chiefs win, it’ll stretch their lead within the AFC West to a few video games as they transfer down the stretch — making it practically unimaginable for Los Angeles to catch them as they work towards their objective of a seventh straight division championship.
Whereas the Chargers have not regarded just like the Tremendous Bowl contenders many analysts have been hoping for, they’re nonetheless an excellent crew that is misplaced numerous gamers to accidents. Two of these gamers are vast receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, who say they’ve an excellent likelihood of taking part in within the sunday night time soccer confrontation.
Within the first matchup of 2022 between these groups, Williams went off towards what was – on the time – a really younger and inexperienced Kansas Metropolis secondary, scoring eight catches for 113 yards and a landing.
However since then, these younger quarterbacks have performed seven extra video games, gaining essential replays and expertise. In the course of the first sport, the Chiefs have been additionally with out their first-round choose: cornerback Trent McDuffie. On Wednesday, the rookie spoke concerning the significance of limiting the Chargers’ offense, which is powered by their very own quarterback Justin Herbert and working again Austin Ekeler.
In a respectful nod to his counterpart, Kansas Metropolis quarterback Patrick Mahomes echoed McDuffie’s sentiments, acknowledging that Herbert possesses elite arm expertise — and like him, has the flexibility to make standout pictures at any second.
“He is a particular expertise on the arm,” famous Mahomes. “He makes some passes that I do not assume anyone can do on this league – and that features me. He has a cannon for an arm. There are some bids [where] you simply shake your head as a result of they’re so particular.
“I perceive it will likely be an enormous problem for us as a crew to face the Chargers – and the expertise they’ve there. How can we match that depth, how can we match that expertise – and go on the market and win a soccer sport – is what we’ve got to give attention to.”
If he does come again into the sport, the 6-foot-1 Williams may once more current a matchup drawback. However McDuffie mentioned he and his teammates perceive the problem.
“You need to know they’re huge our bodies,” he famous. “They are going to be robust. So it’s a must to combat stress with stress – and make a play when the ball is within the air.”
At 5ft 11, McDuffie is not the largest cornerback within the league – however he mentioned competing towards larger gamers was by no means a difficulty.
“There are some receivers I performed towards that have been larger than me,” recalled McDuffie, “however when you watch the film—and as soon as you discover out what they’re good at; [their] strengths and weaknesses – you form of create this sport plan the place you may combat sure issues that you recognize they are going to do. You form of simply need to go on the market and be a ballplayer.
However no matter who’s (or shouldn’t be) out there for Los Angeles on Sunday, Mahomes mentioned the last word duty for the Chiefs’ victory rests with the Kansas Metropolis gamers.
“Anybody can beat anybody on any day,” he emphasised. “Didn’t move [the Chargers’] method in a few of these video games – these video games performed and performed. However we perceive how good the Chargers are. We’re not desirous about being three video games too lengthy – or no matter. We’re what we are able to do to win immediately – so we are able to win on Sunday. So we perceive it will likely be a giant problem – and we’re going to play our greatest soccer if we wish to win.”
Chiefs coach Andy Reid greatest summed up the crew’s mission in Week 11.
“As these video games stand,” Reid mentioned, “[they are] so, so vital. It is vital for the Chargers; it is vital to us.
“So that is the time of yr you are at — and you must ensure you shut these hatches, man: element your work and do not go away something uncovered.”