The Kansas City Chiefs will try to increase their winning streak to six when they host the Los Angeles Chargers in an AFC West division rivalry matchup Sunday afternoon.
Kansas City (5-1) is coming off a 19-8 victory at home against the Denver Broncos in Week 6.
Despite the Chiefs’ first-place status, quarterback Patrick Mahomes is not satisfied. He wants to see improvement from himself and his teammates against the Chargers.
“It’s just the little stuff that we’re not executing at a high enough level,” Mahomes said. “It’s different people every single play, including myself. In this league, in order to have these sustained drives and score touchdowns, get in the red zone and score against good defenses, you have to execute.”
“We have the talent and we have the play calls, so let’s just continue to get better and better.”
The Chargers (2-3) also are focused on self-improvement after losing by a field goal to the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night. Los Angeles tried to mount a game-winning drive, but quarterback Justin Herbert threw an interception in the final 90 seconds to seal the 20-17 outcome.
Chargers linebacker Eric Kendricks said the team could not afford to dwell on the narrow loss.
“We’ve got to roll with it,” Kendricks said. “We’re going to Kansas City. We need this big win. We need to band together (and have) a good week of practice.
“Let’s (freaking) go. It’s the NFL. It’s fun.”
It certainly shouldn’t be boring, given the number of playmakers on both sides of the ball.
Mahomes’ top target on offense is tight end Travis Kelce, who leads the team with 36 catches for 346 yards and three touchdowns through five games. (He missed the season opener with a knee injury.) Isiah Pacheco has contributed a team-high 387 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
Los Angeles’ defense will try to limit the Chiefs’ offense, which brought back a familiar face Wednesday when it acquired wideout Mecole Hardman Jr. from the New York Jets. He signed with the Jets in the offseason after spending his first four seasons with Kansas City.
Outside linebacker Khalil Mack leads the Chargers with seven sacks — tied for third most in the NFL. Defensive lineman Morgan Fox is next with five sacks, and outside linebacker Joey Bosa has three. Bosa revealed Friday that he fractured his left big toe in Week 3.
“They’ve got a lot of guys,” Mahomes said. “Their record doesn’t reflect it this year, but we understand how good this football team is. They’re a playoff football team, a team that we play to one score, it seems like, every single game.”
“You’ve got (Mack on one side) and Joey Bosa on the other side,” Mahomes said. “Those are two of the best pass rushers in the league.”
The Chargers also have the ability to create big plays on offense. Herbert has thrown for nine touchdowns and two interceptions this year, and top wideout Keenan Allen has hauled in 42 passes for 519 yards and four touchdowns.
Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones will try to lead the effort to stymie Herbert and the rest of the Chargers offense. Jones leads Kansas City with 5 1/2 sacks this season.
Kansas City also expects to welcome back defensive end Charles Omenihu. He served a six-game suspension to start the season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
“He’s another one that can play inside and outside, and it gives you flexibility there,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said.
The Chargers ruled out safety Alohi Gilman (heel) and cornerback Deane Leonard (hamstring). Safety Derwin James Jr. (ankle) and linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga (groin) are questionable.
Wide receiver Justin Watson (elbow) will sit out for the Chiefs. Cornerback Jaylen Watson (thigh) is questionable.