First things first -- I recorded a podcast preview for tonight's second game with Joel Thorman of ArrowheadPride.com and Kansas City SB Nation . Give it a listen now and go and Subscribe via iTunes to the award-winning* CBS Sports Football Podcast.
If you can't view the podcast, click here to download .
Now, onto what we'll be watching for in the second matchup:
1. Left Tackle Loss
Two of the biggest weapons for San Diego -- Vincent Jackson and Marcus McNeill -- will be absent Monday night. The latter is far more concerning, because the Bolts can't just plug-and-play a Pro Bowl offensive lineman, though. If Philip Rivers' blindside gets, um, blindsided against the Chiefs, it's only going to be tougher for San Diego to maintain their stance that McNeill should sign his (now lowered) tender.
2. Jack of All Trades
Dexter McCluster is primed for a big year. I'd be willing to bet not-so-hard-earned money on it. Even if he doesn't catch a ton of passes or rush the ball like crazy or lead the league in return yards, he'll do enough of everything in route to sparking the Chiefs' offense to draw rave reviews. That needs to start tonight, though.
Matt Cassel had a monster year for the Patriots when Tom Brady went down, and then he got straight paid. Unfortunately, he hasn't done much to justify that pay day since -- a lot of people, myself included, think Charle Weis joining Cassel in KC can result in a big year. He gets to start justifying his contract tonight.
4. D-Line Redemption
The Chiefs (still) hope that Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey can become the anchors of a dominant defensive line. Jackson's time obviously isn't running as short as Dorsey's, but they'd still like to see a significant uptick in production for their 2009 investment. If both guys can produce, the Chiefs can really be dangerous.
5. Replacing LT
Ryan Mathews has some serious hype heading into 2010 -- there's no question that he can succeed at this level, but can he adequately replace LaDainian Tomlinson? No, not the 2009 LdT -- the one who became a Hall of Famer in San Diego.
*My mother said it was awesome.