Second year QB Justin Herbert is off to a solid start, building on a successful rookie career. His completion percentage of 70.5% is 5.1% above expectation, per nextgenstats. He's averaging 7.7 yards per attempt and is 12th in the NFL in PFF grades (78.2). His big issue has been turnovers -- he's thrown 3 INTs in 2 games, and 4 of his passes have been deemed "turnover worthy," 3rd most in the league. Per usual, Keenan Allen will be operating out of the slot and will continue to be Herbert's favorite target, with Mike Williams, TE Jared Cook, and RB Austin Ekeler being the next options. Williams has strung together two solid games - Herbert has a 122 QB rating when targeting him. The offensive line is strong to the left -- Chargers fans should be happy with 2021 13th overall selection LT Rashawn Slater. The weaknesses are at RG (Oday Aboushi) and RT (Storm Norton), highlighted by RT Bryan Bulaga's presence on IR (groin, back). The defense is a wonderful combination of bad and injured. Joey Bosa (DE) and Justin Jones (DT) are the only two players worth writing about in the front 7. Bosa is very questionable (foot/ankle) after missing practice all week, and Jones is doubtful (calf). In the secondary, Chris Harris Jr is going to miss his second straight game with a shoulder injury. Switching to the one positive, as I physically can't write about the Chargers without mentioning Derwin James. James is essentially a position-less defensive back, able to line up wherever needed and excel at that position, whether it be safety, corner, or in the box to rush the passer. Last week, 45 of his 62 snaps were at slot corner, in week 1, it was just 19 of 55. That guy is everywhere, and if the Football Gods are a real thing, he'll finally stay healthy for an entire season.
After fading Kansas City last week, we're taking them this week. As a fan of money, I listen to the model no matter what, but as a fan of my own personal mental health, it's far easier to be betting on Kansas City. Despite the 6.5-point spread, at no point in this game will you feel we're dead lost. Mahomes and the Chiefs offense can put points on the board *extremely* quickly. Mahomes is off to a modest start, ranking 24th in PFF passing grades. He has just 1 "big time throw" (from PFF), and the lack of explosive plays is hurting his grade. That won't continue, and he's still been insanely efficient. Mahomes has completed 76.1% of his passes, which is 5.4% above expectation. The Chiefs are 1st in the league in dropback/EPA and Mahomes is gaining 10.1 yards per attempt (4th highest in the league). Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce continue to excel, with speedster Mecole Hardman emerging as the third receiving option. Clyde Edwards-Helaire should handle the bulk of the carries, assuming he isn't in the doghouse from fumbling last week. The offensive line has 5 solid starters, and even though Orlando Brown and Joe Thuney have underperformed, should be more than enough to keep Mahomes clean. On defense, Chris Jones is a pass rushing machine. Though typically an interior guy, the Chiefs have experimented with moving him to the outside to help an otherwise horrid defensive line. There is not a single starter in the front 7 outside of Jones who has a PFF grade above 55, and Frank Clark is expected to miss with a hamstring injury. The secondary has weaknesses as well -- the players to watch are second year corner L'Jarius Sneed and safety Tyron Mathieu.
A quick note on this one: it appears the consensus has shifted to Chiefs -7 since we recommended the bet. Get your damn bets in early, folks.