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We’ve got a short week on our hands, as the Kansas City Chiefs host the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday night in Kansas City.
If the Chiefs win, they will clinch the AFC West division title and a first-round bye in the playoffs. If the Chiefs lose, the Chargers will have an outside chance down the stretch.
Needless to say, this is a huge game for both teams.
Shawn Barber, Chiefs 35-33
This week’s prediction is all about securing the bag.
Keys to the Game
1. The Chiefs’ great offense continues to evolve. Without Kareem Hunt or Sammy Watkins, we get to see the growth of both the Williamses, Chris Conley, Demarcus Robinson and the addition of Kelvin Benjamin.
2. The Chiefs defense needs to account for wide receiver Keenan Allen on every snap. He is a dangerously talented game=-changer.
3. The kicking game can be the difference. The “Butt Kicker” against “Shaky” Michael Bagley. Chargers are on their third placekicker of the season.
4. Set the tone. Arrowhead Stadium needs to be a playoff atmosphere with a nationally-televised game.
The Sea of Red needs to be loud and proud.
”Losers focus on winners, and winners focus on winning.”
Aaron Borgmann, Chiefs 35-27
Name one thing that the Chargers are better at than the Chiefs, I’ll wait and listen for your argument. There isn’t anything that matters when it comes to wins and losses. This Chiefs team continues to find ways to win and there is no logical reason this game changes that. Short weeks favor the home team, and the stats prove this. Doesn’t matter to me, I would pick the Chiefs on normal rest, in LA, with every starter healthy for the Chargers. Why? Chargers gonna Charger.
I have a child that has never seen the Chiefs lose to the Chargers, and that won’t change on Thursday. Andy Reid officially owns this team. Going to be a shootout, but who doesn’t take the Chiefs at home even under those circumstances?
John Dixon, Chiefs 41-21
It’s a division game... blah blah blah. Joey Bosa didn’t play in Week 1 against the Chiefs... blah blah blah. The Chargers have their backs against the wall... blah blah blah. Short week with Chiefs players banged up... blah blah blah. I’m tired of being the guy who brings up all the bad stuff and predicts a close game. Besides... I don’t think that will happen. Not this time, anyway. There’s nothing wrong with Patrick Mahomes or Travis Kelce or Dee Ford or Chris Jones, and if there’s one thing we learned on Sunday, you should never count out Justin Houston. Order your AFC West Champs gear now!
Matt Lane, Chiefs 34-24
The Chargers and the Chiefs meet again this year with both teams still “peaking” down the home stretch. It’s no secret the Chargers have struggled mightily against the Chiefs since Andy Reid and Bob Sutton have arrived in KC. Both teams are drastically different than the first time they met from natural progression and from player injuries and returns.
When the Chargers have the ball a ton will depend on the health and ability of Melvin Gordon. If he can be 80 percent of his normal self, the Chiefs have to focus on stopping Gordon both as a runner and receiver. If Gordon is unable to go or is severely limited, along with Austin Eckler out, the Chiefs can change their focus onto Phillip Rivers and pressuring him into mistakes. If you land pressure home on Rivers he can get rattled and make questionable decisions that his arm can’t cash in on. Defending Keenan Allen and Mike Williams will be difficult for the Chiefs but the play of Dee Ford, Chris Jones, and Justin Houston should be able to provide the pressure needed to get Rivers off his game.
When the Chiefs have the ball, the Chargers will likely try to remove Tyreek Hill from the game given the nightmares they must have after Week 1. They still run the same Cover 3 defense so expect plenty of vertical zone beating concepts stressing a third of the field with multiple routes. The Chiefs will also work to flood underneath zones with crosses and stick routes picking apart the four defenders tasked with defending the whole field underneath. The Chiefs will need to block the Chargers edge rushers better than they did the Ravens’ last week in order to get into rhythm.
Until the Chargers prove they can play with the Chiefs under this coaching staff, there is no reason to pick them to win. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense continues to roll while the Chiefs defense is able to take advantage of Rivers late in the game again.
Gary McKenzie, Chiefs 35-27
I’ll believe the Chargers can beat the Chiefs in a meaningful game when I see it.
Until then, I’m just going to wait for Phillip Rivers to commit an ill-timed mistake and cost his team the game, much like he does every time against the Chiefs.
Matt Stagner, Chiefs 42-31
This one will be fun. Everything on the line, prime time, division rival at home, red-on-red, Eric Berry returns... the rise of Mahomes and the fall of Rivers might just be cemented on national television. Mahomes proved clutch against a great defense last week. I’m not sure what else we need to see from him, but I have a feeling we’re going to witness something extraordinary, yet again.
Craig Stout, Chiefs 35-17
Rivers hasn’t been great against the Chiefs defense in the Bob Sutton era, but he’s been even worse in Arrowhead. The last time he threw multiple touchdowns in KC was 2013— Sutton’s first year as a DC. Since then, Rivers has thrown two touchdowns and six interceptions in four appearances.
Couple that with a short week? In December?! Potentially missing the starting two running backs?!?!?
If you can’t take the air out of the ball or score 40-plus, you’re not beating Kansas City, especially in Arrowhead on the day Eric Berry comes back.
Kent Swanson, Chiefs 30-24
Both teams have 100 hours or less to get rested and prepared for a game with major implications. The Chiefs can position themselves beautifully for the last two weeks of the regular season with a win at home. A win on Thursday locks up the AFC West. I don’t think the Chiefs want to be in a must-win situation in Seattle, even if they get 10 days to prepare. If the Chiefs win on Thursday, Seattle is house money where a win allows rest for vets and reps for young players in Week 17.
The health of Melvin Gordon is a significant factor in this game. He won’t be 100 percent if he plays. I expect the Chiefs to win on a hat-and-T-shirt day.
Pete Sweeney, Chiefs 35-24
The Los Angeles Chargers come into Arrowhead Stadium Thursday night in a must-win situation if they hope to have any chance to win the AFC West (they would need to defeat the Chiefs and get some help the last two weeks). To do so, they may have to beat the Chiefs with one running back on their roster—Justin Jackson—as Melvin Gordon is unlikely to play and Austin Ekeler is out. I like the Chargers defense, and between Derwin James, Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa, it should provide the Chiefs with a challenge, but no one—not even the No. 1 defense in the Ravens—has kept Patrick Mahomes from winning a football game this season (for you “yeah, but” people out there, I’m giving Mahomes a pass with the 40 and 51-point outputs in the Chiefs’ losses). The Chargers have one legitimate weapon the Chiefs need to worry about in this game, and that’s Keenan Allen. The Chiefs defense should be boosted both emotionally thanks to the return of Eric Berry, and I see it doing enough in another shootout to curb Philip Rivers and company. The Chargers are in it in the first half, but Mahomes slams the door on their division hopes in the second. I can’t fathom why this spread is 3.5 in favor of LA.
Joel Thorman, 31-27 Chiefs
The Chargers are a good matchup for the Chiefs. They can pressure Mahomes and put up points which is what you need to beat the Chiefs. If I didn’t see Mahomes perform so well against the top defense last week, I might go with the Chargers this week. But 377 yards and two touchdowns last week has me confident Mahomes can continue propelling the Chiefs offense to new ground.
Aly Trost, Chiefs 31-17
The Chiefs and Chargers both had little time to prepare in the short week, but thankfully, the Chargers have to travel and the Chiefs do not. The Chiefs come in with a bit of an emotional advantage here. Pulling together for a huge overtime win over the Ravens and now getting Eric Berry back on defense will undoubtedly add some momentum for Kansas City. The Chargers will also likely be starting rookie RBs Justin Jackson and Detrez Newsome in the places of Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler (hello, Chiefs defense and Eric Berry). If the defense can capitalize on Rivers having to find two rookie running backs and make some stops early, then Mahomes will continue to pull the Chiefs ahead for the W.
Dane Van Why, Chiefs 30-24
The Chiefs look to build off the momentum from an exciting finish just four days prior and Arrowhead Stadium is going to be a madhouse come Thursday night. Having this game with such a quick turnaround can result in either a complete blowout or a tightly contested matchup. I’m thinking it’ll be the latter. The Chargers are coming off a hot couple of weeks but I’m expecting them to struggle with the short week and long travel from LA. Keenan Allen will be a definite factor this week so if the Chiefs can slow him and Philip Rivers down, they’ll be able to pull this one out.
Everyone picked the Chiefs over the Ravens last week, so there is no movement in the standings as compared to last week.
|Dane Van Why||12-1|
Who wins on Thursday night in Kansas City?
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