on sunday the Kansas City Chiefs face the Los Angeles Chargers. According to DraftKings Sports Betting, Kansas City is the favorite to win. we welcome michael peterson of blue bolts — our sister SBNation site covering the Chargers — for Five questions with the enemy.
1. An offseason full of promise has yet to materialize in results. What happened?
injuries. Lots and lots of injuries. Honestly, it’s gotten comical at this point. For fun, let’s run through a quick list of what the Chargers have been missing for part, if not all, of this season:
WR1, WR2, WR4, TE1, TE2, LT1, RT1, RB2, DT1a, DT3, DT4, EDGE1, EDGE3, CB1, K1, K2
In all, by the end of the 49ers game, the Chargers didn’t have nine starts and six other legitimate role players. I don’t know how many teams wouldn’t just collapse after all these losses, but it’s a testament to the Chargers that they’ve managed to even go 5-4.
I also feel like I would be wrong not to add more context here, especially when it comes to JC Jackson’s play prior to his injury. I don’t know who was NOT surprised, but Jackson coming on and being one of the team’s worst defenders in his first season in the light blue uniform was not on my radar at all. After 17 interceptions over the past two seasons, he couldn’t catch one before the injury and also only had two breakups. He allowed multiple touchdowns and was on pace to have his worst season by a mile if he’d lasted all 17 games. It really was a train wreck, but I sincerely hope the time off allows him to recuperate and figure out why his first season away from the Patriots was so different from what he was used to in New England.
2. I’ve seen rumors about the offense and how it doesn’t help Justin Herbert. Do you share those concerns? What would you like to see changed?
I would say both yes and no. The offense and what it’s trying to accomplish with the current state of the roster doesn’t fit what Justin Herbert wants to do. But that’s out of Herbert’s control. Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi makes his fair share of questionable decisions on a weekly basis, but he’s working with a group of wide receivers from the practice squad and recently told the media that the offense has zero velocity right now. They can’t stretch the field at all, which limits the playbook quite a bit. We’re all tired of seeing offense run a dozen variations of Stick, but that’s as far as they can run well enough. The offensive line isn’t holding up well enough and I think this is a misunderstanding to many outside of the Chargers fan base. They may employ one of the best centers in the NFL, but the Chargers’ offensive line has been below average for most of the season. So overall, Herbert has had one of the worst supporting casts in the league this year and when you consider that WAR is lost to injuries, the Bolts are blowing everyone out of the water.
3. There will be a lot of teams looking for playoff spots. How many wins do you think the Chargers need to get in? Will they get there?
I think, at a minimum, the Chargers need to get to 9-8 to have a chance. However, I think 10-7 is the magic number to secure a spot. Oddly enough, I think both records are within reach, especially if the current roster can win just one, maybe two more games, to ensure that once reinforcements from injured reserve arrive, they’ll be able to hit the ground running. the last month of the season.
The way I see it, if the Chargers lose this week to the Chiefs and fall to 5-5, they would have to go 5-2 in the last seven games to get to 10-7. A 4-3 record sounds much more realistic, but the last seven games are really winnable out of the contest against Miami. Either way, a 9-8 or 10-7 record is terribly admirable, especially after the long list of injuries this team has suffered this season.
4. With Mike Williams and Keenan Allen still on the disabled list, what pass catcher can fill the void and potentially get a touchdown?
If Allen and Williams stay out for another week, Joshua Palmer is truly the only real NFL wide receiver who will be on the field for the Chargers. Michael Bandy and Jason Moore have been almost non-existent in recent weeks and one of the guys he signed on the street, Keelan Doss, was inactive in Week 10. The Bolts were more than happy to play with just three wide receivers against the Niners. and if anyone has the ability to lower a score, it’s Palmer.
I’ll add tight end Gerald Everett as another potential option to find the end zone, but he’s currently dealing with a groin injury that sidelined him for the 49ers before he even got to halfway. He’s currently on the day-to-day and he may not be available against the Chiefs either.
5. The Chiefs are 6.5-point favorites. Is that a fair line? Let’s have your score prediction.
I think it’s more than a fair line. After losing three of their top four defensive tackles in the past 10 days, the Chargers will be forced to sign several new street players to compete there before this Sunday’s game. If they can’t find enough reinforcements, it won’t matter if the secondary can limit Mahomes through the air, they’ll just be able to run him at will all day. Even with the potential for Allen/Williams to return this week, the offense hasn’t been efficient enough to keep up with almost everyone, however, the Chiefs. This could be another tough outing that could finally send the Chargers back to .500 on the year.