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Chiefs at Chargers: Game and score predictions

Let’s see how the staff sees the Week 2 matchup between AFC West rivals.

Kansas City Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Before the season opener against the Houston Texans a week ago Thursday, every Arrowhead Pride contributor picked the Kansas City Chiefs. As a group, our staffers predicted 38.6-23.4 win — a hefty 15.3 point spread. Our readers largely agreed. 97% called for a Chiefs win — and 56% thought it would be a blowout. It turned out everybody was right, as the the Chiefs cruised to a 34-20 win.

Let’s see what the staff (and our readers) think about the Week 2 road matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers.


Tom Childs (@tomchilds56)

I think this one plays out in a very similar fashion to the Texans game. The Chargers will try and go down the same route: attempting to limit Patrick Mahomes' impact. But that’s a tactic that the 2020 version of the Chiefs is more than comfortable with. Once again, the analytics community will go crazy when Andy Reid takes the ball out of Patrick Mahomes' hands and gives it to Clyde Edwards-Helaire — but I'm sure Chiefs fans won't mind when the Chiefs are winning with ease. Chiefs 27 Chargers 13.

John Dixon (@Arrowheadphones)

You always have to worry about an AFC West rival, so I always do. But it’s sure starting to seem like a pointless exercise — especially since Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers decamped to the Indianapolis Colts in the offseason. He was always the one Chargers player who could single-handedly wreck a division game. For all the respect that Andy Reid has for their new quarterback Tyrod Taylor, I just can’t see the game in the same way. Chiefs 34, Chargers 19.

Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp)

This contest may not be any more exciting than the Chiefs’ Week 1 victory. The Chargers defense is familiar with Kansas City — but Andy Reid is also familiar with them. He’ll use the 10 days of preparation to develop a game plan that takes advantage of Los Angeles’ depleted linebacker group. You can expect a big performance from tight end Travis Kelce, and Edwards-Helaire will show off his receiving skills for the first time. On the other side, Chiefs’ pass rushers will tee off, wreaking havoc on the Chargers passing offense. Chiefs 37, Chargers 14.

Matt Lane (@ChiefinCarolina)

I hesitate to make NFL games open and shut cases, because every team is incredibly talented and anything can happen on any given day. That being said, the path for the Chargers to stay competitive with the Chiefs is so incredibly thin, I struggle to even see it without a ton of injuries. When the Chargers have the football, an already poor offensive line that is now beaten up will struggle with a Chiefs defensive line that is very good — and a QB who struggles to identify disguised coverages and pressures will be up against Steve Spagnuolo’s rather exotic defense. When the Chiefs are on offense, they will have their hands full with the Chargers’ excellent defensive line and their quality cornerbacks. But with the injuries to Drue Tranquill and Derwin James, the middle of the field is quite soft for the Chargers — and the Chiefs excel in attacking that area. Division games are often hard to predict, but I anticipate another dominant performance by the Chiefs. Chiefs 31, Chargers 17

Matt Stagner (@stagdsp)

I think we all agree that division games are unpredictable. Strange things happen. Blowouts are rare — and ultimately, scores and stats just don’t matter. It’s just about getting the win this week and winning the division as a stepping stone to each team’s larger goals. For all that’s changed with the Chargers organization (moving to Los Angeles, replacing Rivers with Taylor, etc.) a lot has stayed the same. They’re still talented, people still pick them to win the division every offseason, they still have a ton of injuries — and they still aren’t on the same level as the Chiefs. Mahomes and Edwards-Helaire were relatively quiet in the passing game last week — but this time, they’ll show other dimensions of the offense. CEH might have more yards through the air than on the ground, as the Chiefs show there isn’t anything this offense can’t do. Chiefs 38, Chargers 20

Craig Stout (@barleyhop)

The Chiefs are coming off of a dominant victory over the Texans. The Chargers needed a late field goal miss to beat a rookie quarterback leading the Bengals. Andy Reid has been absolutely dominant in the AFC West — and even more so off a bye or mini-bye. Chiefs offense and defense click, winning handily against an overmatched Chargers squad. Chiefs 31, Chargers 13.

Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson)

It will be another ho-hum, dominant victory for the Chiefs. The Chargers are another team focused on taking explosive plays away from Mahomes and forcing them to sustain drives. Edwards-Helaire will be more involved in the passing game as the Chargers’ Cover 3-heavy defense carries for depth — and is forced to rally their underneath defenders on a rookie running back who is as dynamic in space as anyone in the league. A garbage-time score makes this look closer that it is — and the Chiefs get a divisional win before what could possibly be the biggest game of the regular season: against the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football. Chiefs 37, Chargers 13.

Pete Sweeney (@pgsween)

Understanding the transitive property isn’t full-proof in football — and more specifically, the NFL — I still have my concerns about the Chargers’ offense, which only managed to score 16 points against a Cincinnati Bengals team that surrendered 35 to the Cleveland Browns on Thursday Night Football. It’s another year, another full injury list for Los Angeles. They are without their starting safety and center for the season — and their best player, Joey Bosa, has been limited this week with a triceps injury. Meanwhile, the Chiefs continue to re-invent themselves on offense — and in Week 1, the defense looked stronger than expected with young contributors. It’s two teams going in opposite directions — and that means the second consecutive convincing win for the Chiefs. Chiefs 34, Chargers 10

Poll

Which team wins the Chiefs-Chargers game?

This poll is closed

  • 74%
    Chiefs in a blowout
    (1018 votes)
  • 22%
    Chiefs in a close game
    (308 votes)
  • 2%
    Chargers in a close game
    (32 votes)
  • 0%
    Chargers in a blowout
    (13 votes)
1371 votes total Vote Now

2020 Standings

Rnk LW Staffer W L Pct Error
1 - Matt Lane 1 0 1.0000 2.0
1 - Kent Swanson 1 0 1.0000 2.0
3 - John Dixon 1 0 1.0000 6.0
4 - Craig Stout 1 0 1.0000 8.0
5 - Tom Childs 1 0 1.0000 26.0
6 - Ron Kopp 1 0 1.0000 28.0
6 - Matt Stagner 1 0 1.0000 28.0
6 - Pete Sweeney 1 0 1.0000 28.0

Ties in the standings are broken with prediction points error — how much each prediction misses the actual point spread and the number of points scored by each team.

After Week 1, AP Nerd Squad members Matt Lane and Kent Swanson lead the pack. Their 34-21 and 35-20 predictions for the Texans game each carried just two points of error. Both were remarkably precise prognostications for a Week 1 game. John Dixon starts in third place with just six points of error in his 31-19 pick. Most of the rest of the writers were looking for an even more lopsided Chiefs win.