Chargers and Chiefs catch the eye in Week 1 of the 2018 NFL season

Chargers and Chiefs catch the eye in Week 1 of the 2018 NFL season

The NFL waits for no one. That’s why, to my thinking, the Kansas City Chiefs’ visit to the cozy StubHub Centre to take on division rival San Diego [still doing it] Los Angeles Chargers is the must-see game in the 2018 season’s opening week.

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The Chiefs won the AFC West and went to the playoffs in 2017. They lost a nailbiter to the Tennessee Titans in the wildcard. Fair or not, the defeat was the final nail in quarterback Alex Smith’s Arrowhead career coffin. The ex-49er completed 29/33 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns against the Titans, but his immobility hurt the team. He was sacked four times. His strength is the short-passing game, too. Kansas City couldn’t stretch the field in the second half.

On the other side of the ball, Marcus Mariota’s agility paid dividends. Rolling to his left, the Titan’s third-year signal-caller caught his own deflected pass then ran it in for a morale-crushing score. It’s little wonder the Chiefs traded Smith to the Washington Redskins and shoved all their chips in on sophomore QB Pat Mahomes’ bionic arm.

The Chargers finished second in the division but their 9-7 record didn’t rate a playoff berth. It’s a new season, however. Observers are lavishing crazy love on the Bolts in the early doors. CBS Sports rates Anthony Lynn’s squad far better than the Chiefs on both sides of the ball. Charlie Red, the man whose name graces the masthead at the top of this page, expects the Chargers “to do big things.

Phillip Rivers and the LA Chargers are trending up ahead of the 2018 NFL season.

Phillip Rivers and the LA Chargers are trending up ahead of the 2018 NFL season.

Phillip Rivers remains the man behind center. After missing out by three measly yards in 2016, Mel Gordon’s now officially a thousand-yard rusher after racking up 1,105 and eight TDs in 2017. He also contributed 476 receiving yards with another four scores for good measure. Gordon’s presence relieves pressure for the veteran QB who’s thrown for at least 4,000 yards in every season [excepting 2012] since 2008. His 26 touchdowns in the off-year were his worst over the same stretch, as well. When the Chargers’ ground game lags, though, the NC State alum’s interception rate goes through the roof.

Rivers must be licking his chops at the news that Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry’s doubtful with a heel injury for this game. Brandon Mebane and Isaac Rochel on the left side of the Chargers D-line have to be looking forward to testing Chiefs right guard Laurent Duvarney-Tardif, fresh from concussion protocol. Meanwhile, the Chiefs can exploit defensive end Joey Bosa’s absence.

Andy Reid’s a far more experienced coach than Anthony Lynn, which must count for something. Still, the younger man can rely on veteran coordinators Ken Whisenhunt and Gus Bradley, both former head coaches in the league. Reid has a seasoned defensive coordinator in Bob Sutton but is taking a gamble on Eric Bieniemy. The former University of Colorado star brings extensive experience as a running backs coach both with the Chiefs and Buffaloes, but just two seasons directing the entire offense in Boulder. A new quarterback and an untested coordinator don’t bode well for KC to start the campaign. Bieniemy at least has a 1,300-yd Pro Bowl rusher to take some pressure off the passing game.

Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy may ask who needs to throw the ball if the Chargers can't stop your Pro Bowl running back?

Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy may ask who needs to throw the ball if the Chargers can’t stop your Pro Bowl running back?

In 2017, the new Angelinos weren’t able to exploit their compact surroundings. After a season to acclimate and an off-season to improve, maybe they can surprise opponents with an outsized game. They’ll be getting after the Chiefs today, that much is certain. But Kansas City’s out to prove they don’t deserve to be written off so easily.

Enjoy.

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Martin Palazzotto is a freelance writer and author of strange bOUnce, a collection of sport fiction.

 

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After a durable finish, last season Chargers are looking to make a quantum leap.

Written by National Football League Expert Analyst Al Presto.

Charliessports.com produces it for Football Betting. NFL Weekly ATS Predictions are the best in the industry and will continue through the 2019 Super Bowl in February of 2019. A Future Hall of Fame quarterback plus talent on both sides of the football has Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn believing they don’t need a home field advantage to win. Starting 0-4 in 2017 and playing in the 30,000 seat StubHub Center didn’t precisely set the Chargers loyal fanbase into a frenzy but finishing the season with six of seven victories has them excited. Owner Alex Spanos understands it’s going to be difficult until the exotic facility, Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park opens their doors to accommodate fans. Until then the Chargers want to demonstrate how football is played on the field as opposed to the business aspect. They’ll have ample time to show how it’s done as training camp approaches.

Thirty-six-year-old signal-caller Philip Rivers and a current iron man at the most critical position in Football led Los Angeles to their first winning season since 2014. The former North Carolina State alumni have a total of 201 consecutive starts which tops all active quarterbacks. However, unlike Eli Manning, selected three picks before with two SuperBowl rings while Rivers has none. 276.9. Through the air and a number-one ranking is what the Chargers passing game produced last season with Rivers at the helm. Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt expects more of the same from the unit again this season; it’s a twenty-fourth ranked rushing attack which got addressed in the offseason. Former Miami Dolphins Center Mike Pouncey was signed in efforts to open holes for speedy running back Melvin Gordon (1,105) yards on the ground. The return of guard Forrest Lamp who missed his rookie campaign with a torn ACL along with 2x Pro Bowl selection Russell Okung should show immediate results. Tight End Antonio Gates retired, but a talented set of wide receivers led by Keenan Allen (1,393) yards receiving and Mike Williams is still intact. Specialist Travis Benjamin is dangerous on kick/punt returns. Watch out NFL the Chargers offense will be more explosive in 2018!

Defensively the Chargers ranked thirty first against the run last season, allowing opponents (131.1) yards per contest which is unacceptable with interior linemen Corey Liuget and Brandon Mebane. Second-year coordinator Gus Bradley expects his front-four will be among the best in the NFL with familiarity to a new system. Defensive end Melvin Ingram, and Joey Bosa have everything to takes to get to opposing quarterback, Bosa led the team with twelve and a half sacks in 2017. Training camp will allow inside linebackers Denzel Perryman and Hayes Pullard to compete for a starting job which is essential in Bradley’s defensive schemes. Cornerback  Casey Hayward, along with Desmond King can all play man to man coverage with confidence at critical moments. The Chargers pass defense was third in the NFL last season. 2018 first round draft pick safety Derwin James is a physical specimen, he intrigued Lynn a former defensive back so much that the organization passed on their needs to get the best available player. The Chargers defense will be able to stop the run, and it’ll be the difference in a division title. Bovada.Lv, list the Los Angeles Chargers at +175 to win the 2018-19 AFC West division title.

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Free Pick. The 2018-19 Los Angeles Chargers will go 11-5 in the regular season Also, Play Online Poker Plus Other Casino Games and enter some of the best  Tournaments on the World Wide Web.

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