With every team in the AFC West acquiring more weapons this offseason, the Chiefs will have some new key matchups in the division.
All three opposing teams in the AFC West have one thing in common heading into the 2020 season and that is a revamped offense. The Las Vegas Raiders have a newly remade receiving core. The Los Angeles Chargers are now without quarterback Philip Rivers and running back Melvin Gordon. The Denver Broncos stole Gordon in free agency from the Chargers and also added some new receivers for quarterback Drew Lock as well.
Given the changes, let’s take a look at three new matchups in the passing game that are going to be key for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Henry Ruggs III vs. Charvarius Ward
Starting with the Raiders, Las Vegas selected Henry Ruggs III with the 12th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Ruggs was the first wide receiver taken in one of the most stacked wide receiver draft classes of all time. This is a good signal that Ruggs will be heavily involved in the Raiders’ offense in his rookie season.
Ruggs ran a 4.27 second time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, making him a tough cover. More than likely, Charvarius Ward will be the guy to cover Ruggs. Ward ran a 4.44 second time in the 40-yard dash, making him significantly slower. However, it’s good news that Ward is used to covering Tyreek Hill in practice for the Chiefs.
Ward is coming off of a very underrated 2019 season. He started all 16 regular season games and allowed a 47.2% completion rate when targeted. He will also be the taller man in this matchup. At 6’1″ and 186 Ibs, Ward will have two inches in height over Ruggs, who weighs in at 5’11, 187 Ibs.
This matchup will be crucial for the Chiefs’ defense when playing the Raiders.