The LA Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs are going to be battling for AFC West supremacy in 2022. Not just with each other, but with a stacked division that also features the Denver Broncos. Sorry to Raiders fans, but your team is going to finish below .500.
For the first time in quite a long time the Chargers look better on paper than the Kansas City Chiefs. While paper does not play football games, it is nice to feel like the Bolts are not fighting an uphill battle when it comes to the talent on the field.
Both teams have elite quarterbacks and according to Mike Clay's unit grades, the Chargers have the better overall roster. In fact, the Bolts are the only team in the entire NFL to rank in the top five in both offense and defense, so that is saying something.
The biggest loss for the Chiefs this offseason was Tyreek Hill, who the team traded to the Miami Dolphins. While the Chiefs tried to replace Hill with numbers, it is impossible to truly replace one of the best receivers in the league, especially one with Hill's skill set.
Kansas City didn't really bring in a true number one receiver to replace Hill and the WR depth chart took a bigger hit for the team on Monday as well. ESPN's Field Yates reported that rookie receiver Justyn Ross is being placed on the IR and is out for the season.
Not exactly the news that the Chiefs want to hear at this point in the year.
How the Justyn Ross injury impacts the LA Chargers in 2022:
Justyn Ross was by no means a top-end wide receiver on the Chiefs' depth chart but he was going to be someone who offered a depth option for the Chiefs. Ross showed some potential in college at Clemson and was just unable to stay healthy. If there was ever a team and quarterback that could maximize him, it would have been the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes.
This injury only gives the team one more reliable option behind the top three receivers on the depth chart and it is a rookie in Skyy Moore. Moore is someone who a lot of people really liked out of college but at the end of the day, he is a rookie and there are a lot of unknowns.
Plus, it is not like the top three receivers are all that special, either. Juju Smith-Schuster has had just one good season, Montez Valdes-Scantling is not a viable WR2 and Mecole Hardman is fine but is not a game-changer.
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The Chiefs needed all the depth they could get if they were going to truly replace Hill's impact in numbers and that is going to be harder to do with Justyn Ross no longer in the fold. This does increase the Chargers' odds of winning the AFC West, albeit slightly.