Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) directs a teammate in the second half of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) The Los Angeles Chargers' long wait for a shiny new home ends on Sunday when they play their first game in SoFi Stadium. Their first guest though could dampen the housewarming.
The defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs have won 11 of the past 12 in the series and have taken the past six as the road team. Kansas City also looks primed for a repeat run after a convincing 34-20 victory over the Houston Texans in its opener.
The Chiefs have also won 10 straight overall, going back to last season. Coincidentally, their winning streak began with a 24-17 victory over the Chargers in Mexico City.
''They have weapons everywhere,'' said Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward. ''They have the best QB in the league. They have too many weapons over there but we have weapons too. We know they are big-play hunting so we have to eliminate those.''
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The Chargers' defense has contained Patrick Mahomes at times, but it hasn't translated to wins. As much as Mahomes has dominated the league in his first two years as a starter, he has been even better in September. He has won all seven of his starts the first month of the season with 26 touchdowns and no interceptions. He has thrown for more than 300 yards in all but one game and has three-plus TDs in all seven.
Trying to get an upper hand over Kansas City is why Los Angeles signed defensive tackle Linval Joseph and cornerback Chris Harris as well as trading up into the first round to take linebacker Kenneth Murray.
''They played us really well last year, that defense, holding us to some low numbers, stuff that we had been trending on getting better numbers, better scores, and all of that different type of stuff,'' Mahomes said. ''They have a really good defense and a really good scheme. We have to do our best job of being within ourselves and finding a way to put points on the board.''
The Chargers, who are coming off a 16-13 win at Cincinnati, have had a couple of walk-through practices at SoFi Stadium. Coach Anthony Lynn said he thinks they have a familiarity of their new surroundings, which hopefully will help early.
''It seems like the waiting time has gone fast,'' said Lynn, who is hoping to direct the Bolts to their first 2-0 start in eight years.
Someone else eager to see the new venue is Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who is a Los Angeles native.
''I think it is great for the City of Angels. I'm happy for them to have a beautiful stadium like that,'' he said. ''The Coliseum is great in their own right, but this one here is a modern day deal and it looks beautiful.''
Los Angeles has a minus-15 turnover differential in its past six games against Kansas City. The Chargers have committed 17 turnovers in those games with the Chiefs converting those into 58 points (seven touchdowns, three field goals).
''It's ridiculous how many times we have given it away and we have only taken it away twice,'' Lynn said. ''You're just not gonna beat this team that way. So that's, that's been our primary focus.''
Chiefs rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire became the youngest player to rush for 130 or more yards and a TD last week.
Running backs coach Deland McCullough said he expects the first-round pick to take even bigger steps this week.
''It's just the amount of growth that happens from your first full game to your second one, so that's the part that I'm excited about, that we're all excited about is,'' McCullough said. ''I mean, he's really grown a lot. You're talking about just from last game to the next practice that we had a few days ago just learning and being able to see on tape.''
Chargers defensive lineman Uchenna Nwosu said Edwards-Helaire has excellent jump-cutting ability, but is also aided by running behind a veteran offensive line.
Chargers QB Tyrod Taylor had a league-low 53.3 percent completion rate last week, but he didn't commit any turnovers. The points of emphasis this week have been on trying to be more productive on first and second downs in order to stay ahead of the chains.
''They're going to do a number of different things. But it's up to us to stay focused on the things that we're practicing throughout this week and staying true to our game plan,'' he said.
The Chiefs will be without their top two cornerbacks to match up against Chargers receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. Bashaud Breeland is serving a four-game suspension for off-field issues and Charvarius Ward broke his hand in the opener.
Rashad Fenton, who is in his second season, is in line for his first start after playing in 12 games last season while fourth-round pick L'Jarius Sneed had an interception in his NFL debut.
Allen has 61 receptions against the Chiefs, which is his second-most against an opponent. Williams has been a matchup problem for Kansas City in the past and is averaging 16.9 yards per catch.
Besides preaching turnovers, the Chargers have been stressing trying to apply consistent pressure on Mahomes.
According to Statradar, Mahomes was blitzed nearly 40% of the time by Houston but the Texans were only able to apply pressure on 12% of his dropbacks. Los Angeles got three sacks against Cincinnati's Joe Burrow last week but all of those came in the first half as the Bengals went to a shorter passing game.
That could be a problem again this week as Mahomes has one of the quickest releases in the league.
Five Waiver Wire Adds: Week 7
Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram II's (ankle) MRI exam showed a mid- to high-ankle sprain that isn't considered serious, according to a source. With the Ravens on bye this week, head coach John Harbaugh said on Monday that Ingram will likely be back on Nov. 1 for the Week 8 game against the Steelers. Those types of ankle sprains can often sideline players for multiple weeks, so we wouldn't consider it a lock that the 30-year-old veteran will be ready for the Week 8 showdown with Pittsburgh. Rookie J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards would see more work in the backfield if Ingram is limited or out in Week 8, making them worth waiver wire pickups if you're looking two weeks into the future. Ingram has rushed the ball 50 times for 225 yards (4.5 yards per carry) and two touchdowns in six games in 2020.
Buffalo Bills WR John Brown (knee) wasn't 100 percent recovered from injury against the Kansas City Chiefs Monday, Oct. 19, according to head coach Sean McDermott.
Fantasy Spin: It may help to explain Brown's disappointing catch-less performance. He scored a touchdown in each of the first two games of the season but has clearly taken a backseat to Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley. He'll be a risky FLEX play in Week 7, even against the New York Jets.
Los Angeles Rams PK Kai Forbath was placed on the Exempt/Commissioner Permission list Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Dallas Cowboys DE Randy Gregory was activated from the Exempt/Commissioner Permission list Tuesday, Oct. 20.
New Orleans Saints tight end Jared Cook was Drew Brees primary red zone threat while Michael Thomas remained sidelined, but with the All-Pro wideout expected back Sunday versus Carolina, Cooks time as a TE1 in season-long formats may have passed. While Cook managed to receive seven targets Week 1 when Thomas was alongside him, the veteran has been a touchdown-dependent option since then. In addition, the Panthers Defense has been stout against opposing tight ends this season, allowing just 221 yards and two touchdowns across six games. With a plethora of options at Brees disposal, Cook remains an appealing play, albeit a tenuous one that carries sizable risk.
New York Jets QB Mike White was designated as a protected practice squad player for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Pittsburgh Steelers WR Deon Cain, RB Trey Edmunds, DE Henry Mondeaux and RB Wendell Smallwood were chosen as protected practice squad players for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers PK Greg Joseph and DT Jeremiah Ledbetter were protected from selection off the practice squad for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Tennessee Titans LB Daren Bates, PK Tucker McCann, G David Quessenberry and QB Trevor Siemian were designated as protected practice squad players for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was given a vote of confidence from head coach Mike McCarthy on Tuesday, confirming that the star running back would be the starter for Sundays contest against Washington. Elliott lost two fumbles Monday versus the Cardinals, ceding way to Tony Pollard at times, but with Andy Dalton once again to likely receive the start, Elliott will need to be relied upon for Dallas to have success offensively. Unfortunately for Elliott, the teams offensive line is heavily banged up due to injuries. Factoring that in on top of his fumble woes (five in 2020, four of which have been lost), DFS fantasy managers may want to look elsewhere Sunday, especially considering his price tag. Season-long managers can continue to role Elliott out and bank on his perpetual upside paying off.
Jacksonville Jaguars TE Ben Ellefson, LB Joe Giles-Harris, DB Doug Middleton and TE Eric Saubert were protected from selection off the practice squad for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Las Vegas Raiders PK Dominik Eberle, DE David Irving, DB Dylan Mabin and DE Chris Smith were chosen as the team's protected practice squad players for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has made each of the five defenses that he has faced 2020 look rather pedestrian on his way to becoming the favorite to claim the NFLs MVP trophy this season. On paper, his matchup Sunday versus Arizona should be another such instance, which is backed up by his gaudy DFS price tag. But gleaning his numbers against the Cardinals over the past two seasons tells a different story; over their last four matchups, he has exceeded the 200-yard passing threshold just once and has not rushed for a touchdown in any of those outings. The Cardinals Defense ranks in the top half of the league in passing yards allowed per game this season (226.5), another notch in the belt of why DFS fantasy managers may want to consider other QB options during Week 7.
Cleveland Browns RB John Kelly, QB Kyle Lauletta, DE Cameron Malveaux and PK Matthew McCrane were chosen as protected practice squad players for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Denver Broncos LB Nigel Bradham, WR Fred Brown, RB Jeremy Cox and C Patrick Morris were designated as protected practice squad players for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Houston Texans DT Corey Liuget and C Greg Mancz were chosen as protected practice squad players for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (back) was last seen dealing with back spasms when he took the field versus the Saints last Monday. Despite that, head coach Anthony Lynn has reiterated that Allen will not be hampered come Sunday versus Jacksonville, a matchup that is set to work in Allens favor due to the 270.7 passing yards per game that the Jaguars Defense is allowing. With the emergence of Justin Herbert as both a downfield threat and consistent pocket passer, Allens season-long fantasy outlook is only on the rise after having averaged 12 targets through his first four games. His recent injury should give DFS fantasy managers pause, but so long as he is given the green light to suit up, season-long managers should consider starting him in most formats where he is rostered.
Atlanta Falcons QB Kurt Benkert, DE Austin Edwards, LB Edmond Robinson and WR Chris Rowland were designated as the team's four protected practice squad players for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Chicago Bears QB Tyler Bray was protected from selection off the practice squad for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson should continue to see an unimpeded path to RB1 duties this Sunday against the Cardinals with both Carlos Hyde (shoulder) and Rashaad Penny (knee) unlikely to suit up. Carson was limited to just eight carries in his most recent outing, but that was primarily due to the nature of the game flow; fantasy managers can expect to see him rack up his usual workload and then some against Arizona. Having amassed three rushing and three receiving scores so far this season, Carson has retained a considerable role in the Seattle offense, with Travis Homer a distant second to cutting into his workload. Carson is a must-start in season-long formats and should have some considerable DFS appeal.