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Chiefs vs. Chargers: 10 Stats to Know

Posted Sep 24, 2017

Here are some numbers to know for Chiefs-Chargers on Sunday, presented by DraftKings

The Kansas City Chiefs travel to take on the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday afternoon at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

The stadium is the permanent home of Major League Soccer’s L.A. Galaxy, but will host the Chargers for the next three years while their new facility—the Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park—is being built.

The Chargers will share the new stadium with the L.A. Rams, and it’s scheduled to be done by 2020.

The StubHub center sits just 27,000 people, so the game on Sunday will definitely have a different feel to it.

After two games this year, the Chargers are one of five AFC teams still searching for their first victory, while the Chiefs are one of 10 undefeated teams in the NFL right now. Although it should be noted that the Chargers have lost both of their games by a total of five points.

Just this week, both NFL.com and Sports Illustrated had the Chiefs at the No. 1 spot in their latest power rankings.

Here are 10 stats to know for Chiefs-Chargers on Sunday, presented by Draft Kings:

1. The Chiefs have been phenomenal against teams within the division

As of Sunday, it will have been 680 days since the Chiefs last lost a game against an AFC West opponent, which came at home against the Denver Broncos in Week 2 of 2015.

The streak, which is going on 12 games, is the longest current divisional winning streak in the NFL, and the second-longest in franchise history. A win Sunday would tie the Chiefs for the longest in franchise history (1994-96).

In the last 11 divisional games, the Chiefs have outscored their opponents by an average score of 28 to 15.

2. Sending extra guys at Alex Smith is a bad idea

One of the main reasons the Chiefs have gotten off to this hot start is the play of quarterback Alex Smith, who is off to the best start of his 13-year NFL career.

Smith, who is 5-1 against the Chargers since he came to the Chiefs in 2013, is completing 78 percent of his passes and averaging 310 yards passing per game with five touchdowns and no interceptions through the first two games.

In which area has Smith been particularly good? The blitz.

Smith is torching teams when they blitz him—accumulating a passer rating of 158.3, which is, in fact, perfect. That’s the highest number a quarterback can have in terms of passer rating.

According to Pro Football Focus, Smith is 14 of 17 (82.4 percent) for 218 yards with three touchdowns against the blitz.

He’s cool, calm and collected, and he’ll get the ball to his playmakers.

3. New year, same story. Kansas City is #SackCity

As a team, the Chiefs currently rank second in the NFL with nine sacks, and they’re the only team in the league with two players with at least three sacks.

Linebacker Justin Houston picked up his third sack of the year Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, while defensive lineman Chris Jones had a day to remember as all three of his sacks this season came against the Eagles.

In fact, Jones became the first player since the Pittsburgh Steelers’ James Harrison in 2004 against the Baltimore Ravens to have at least three sacks, two forced fumbles, and an interception in the same game.

Jones, who missed most of training camp coming back from offseason knee surgery, is just now getting right and back into the swing of it, and it looks like he’s taking it up another notch after a fantastic rookie season.

For the Chiefs on Sunday, it won’t be easy to add to that sack total against the Chargers as quarterback Philip Rivers has only been sacked twice in the first two games.

4. Rivers and Chargers’ offense make plays

Through two games, the 35-year-old Rivers is completing 74 percent of his passes for 523 yards with four touchdowns and an interception. He has led the Chargers’ offense to 28 plays of 10 yards or more, which ranks sixth in the NFL.

With a healthy Keenan Allen at receiver and other capable weapons around him, Rivers still has the ability to stand in the pocket and beat you in a number of ways.

In his career against the Chiefs, Rivers carries a 13-10 record and has thrown 32 touchdowns to 24 interceptions. He has lost six straight to the Chiefs.

5. The Chiefs currently have the most explosive offense in the NFL

If having the highest average yards per play in the NFL is indicative of an explosive offense, which seems like a good barometer for that kind of thing, then the Chiefs are the most dangerous offensive team in the league right now.

The Chiefs are averaging 7.59 yards per play, which ranks No. 1 the league.

To take it one step further, the Chiefs are averaging a whopping 10.14 yards per play on first down, which is on a whole other level.

It helps when you’ve had four plays of 50-plus yards through two games on first down (three vs. Patriots, one vs. Eagles), but it still shows the Chiefs have been forcing the action early in the drive or down.

This is no run-run-pass-punt offense.

As of right now, the Chiefs have the NFL’s top-scoring fantasy quarterback (Smith, 60), running back (Hunt, 65), and No. 3 receiver (Hill, 25), in standard scoring format.

The tight end is pretty good, too.

Kelce is Draft Kings’ No. 1-ranked tight end play this week. Read more about that here.

6. Yes. The Cheetah is still fast

This is absurd.

7. Key stats, red zone scoring

Here are a few key stats, which are important every week, but are particularly noteworthy this time around:

After finishing third-to-last in the league in red zone scoring efficiency last year—finding the end zone just 45.5 percent of the time, the Chiefs have been substantially better through a couple of games this year.

The Chiefs rank No. 2 in the league in red zone scoring efficiency right now at 83.3 percent.

For the Chargers, one of the areas they have struggled over the first couple of weeks on the offensive side is on third down.

It’s one of the “core four” stats, but the Chargers are converting just 25 percent of their third-down opportunities, which ranks 30th in the league.

If they want to keep the NFL’s top offense on the sidelines, they’ll need to convert at a better clip than once every four opportunities.

8. One of the Chiefs’ offensive lineman finds himself in rare company

9. The Chargers boast the NFL’s leading tackler

Through two games, Chargers’ middle linebacker Jatavis Brown leads the NFL with 26 tackles.

Brown, the active second-year player from Akron, finished with 79 tackles in 12 games last year as a rookie. He had 10 tackles in the two games against the Chiefs.

If the Chargers plan on slowing down the NFL’s leading rusher, rookie Kareem Hunt, Brown will have to be a big part of that plan.

10. Kareem Hunt keeps doing his thing

Less than a month into his NFL career, Hunt has already found himself on the cover of Sports Illustrated and is the top-scoring fantasy running back out there.

Overall, Hunt has carried the ball 30 times for 229 yards and three touchdowns, adding eight receptions for 128 yards and two touchdowns in the passing game as well.

According to Draft Kings, Hunt is the No. 2-ranked fantasy running back this week (PPR scoring).

Despite all the early success, Chiefs coach Andy Reid said he’s not worried about it getting into the head of his young running back.

“He’s got EB [Chiefs’ running backs’ coach Eric Bieniemy] in his back pocket, and he does a phenomenal job with him,” Reid explained. “He’s been there as a player, understands the challenges of that position. The challenges (for Hunt) are going to be answering the bell every week – physically and mentally.

“So, to have somebody like [Bieniemy] is an important part of this. So, I think with that and his makeup, he’s a pretty humble kid, I think he’ll be fine.”

The Chargers’ defense has allowed 251 yards rushing combined in their first two games. 

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