A couple of big names will miss the much-anticipated AFC West match-up between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night.
The Chargers already ruled out wide receiver Keenan Allen and tight end Donald Parham Jr. with hamstring injuries while the Chiefs will be without kicker Harrison Butker, who suffered an ankle injury last week. Chargers cornerback J.C Jackson is questionable with an ankle injury after missing Week 1.
Allen left the Chargers' game against the Las Vegas Raiders last week after he pulled up on a route in the second quarter. He never returned to the game and didn't practice during the team's walkthrough session Tuesday. The Chargers believe they avoided a long-term injury with Allen, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, though coach Brandon Staley said on Tuesday that Allen is "going to take some time with his hamstring."
Losing Allen is a big blow for the Chargers against their divisional rivals. Allen caught all four of his targets in Week 1 for 66 yards prior to his early exit and has caught at least 100 passes or 1,000 receiving yards in each of the past five seasons. Justin Herbert will likely rely on Mike Williams a bit more now that Allen is out, but the Chargers quarterback spread the ball out a lot in Week 1. Seven different pass-catchers earned exactly four targets, including Allen, Williams and young wideouts Josh Palmer, Jalen Guyton and DeAndre Carter.
Though the offense lost Allen, the defense could see a major boost if Jackson can suit up. Jackson signed a lucrative five-year, $82.5 million deal to join Los Angeles and he would be tasked with stopping Patrick Mahomes, who just lit up the Arizona Cardinals for 360 passing yards and five touchdowns. Mahomes tallied 670 passing yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions in both oh his 2021 contests against the Chargers.
Despite safety Justin Reid kicking in Butker's place in Week 1, the Chiefs have found a short-term replacement for their injured kicker in journeyman Matt Ammendola. The ex-Jets kicker made 13-19 field goals and 14-15 extra points in 2021 before New York released him after Week 12. While it's unclear how long Butker will take to recover, Ammendola will be the man for the Chiefs in Week 2.