Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes had a very good Friday.
The Chiefs second-year quarterback will make his second NFL start on Sunday, his only other start was against the Denver Broncos in the final game of last season, and he got some very good news while he and his teammates were flying west for their Sunday opener against the Los Angeles Rams. It was on that flight that he learned that Joey Bosa would be missing from the Chargers game day lineup on Sunday. The American Football Conference team playing in Los Angeles has suffered a number of crippling injuries this summer, and the loss of Bosa removes one of the most explosive pass rushers from their opening day defensive front.
Perhaps no team in the National Football League was more anxious to get off to a good start this year than the Chargers. Los Angeles opened their 2017 campaign with four straight losses before making a valiant run to get into playoff contention in December. But, erasing another bad start requires a couple hurdles this Sunday for the Chargers. First, they have to do it without perhaps their best defensive player and second, they need to end an eight game losing streak against their AFC West rivals.
Kansas City has owned the Chargers over the past four seasons, but the Chargers are favored on the point spread for their opener on Sunday.
Two basic reasons, most ardent followers of football will contend that the Chiefs are down a notch from recent campaigns and the Chargers are significantly upgraded for the 2018 season.
The uncertainty in Kansas City revolves around their new quarterback. Mahomes was their first draft choice a year ago, the tenth player taken overall, and his acquisition was the beginning of the end for incumbent Alex Smith. The former Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers signal caller, Smith, is now starting for the Washington Redskins.
While Smith was successful in the regular season at both of his former NFL stops, his postseason record did not match his regular season stats. It was after a playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers two years ago that the Chiefs decided to trade up in the draft to grab Mahomes. Once he arrived in Kansas City, everyone in the organization knew that Smith’s time as the team’s starting quarterback was ticking away.
Still, Smith held his starting job last year and while guiding the Chiefs to five wins in their first five games, which included a victory over the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots on opening night, Mahomes appeared locked in as a backup in his rookie year. But, the Chiefs quick start melted away with only one win in their next seven games, and by the time Mahomes got his first start on the final day of the regular season the Chiefs had dropped out of playoff contention.
Out with Smith, in with Mahomes.
The Chiefs new quarterback offers Kansas CIty a slinger with a stronger arm and his character on and off the field seem to promise great things to come. But, does that equate to a road win on opening day against a division rival that is looking for revenge for both their eight straight losses to Kansas City and poor start last season?
I think Mahomes flight into Los Angeles is going to prove to be a lot happier than the one back to Kansas City.
Qoxhi Picks: Los Angeles Chargers (-3½) over Kansas City Chiefs