All of Arrowhead Pride’s contributors were confident that the Kansas City Chiefs would defeat the Atlanta Falcons in Week 16. In fact, they were a bit too confident. Our aggregate prediction of a 35.6-21.8 Chiefs victory didn’t anticipate that both offenses would be unable to get into rhythm — or the close outcome. In contrast, our readers definitely saw the victory coming — 96% called for a win — but 41% thought it would be a close game.
So let’s see what the staff — and our readers — think about Sunday’s final regular-season game: the Chiefs against the Los Angeles Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium.
Tom Childs (@tomchilds56)
This is probably the hardest game of the year to predict. The Chiefs players on the field will have something to prove, whilst the Chargers players will probably be more talented than their opponents — but won’t be as motivated. Coaching will probably be the difference here. How much time has Andy Reid spent on the game plan for this contest? Probably not a lot. Nonetheless, he is a much better coach than Anthony Lynn — and that will shine through on Sunday afternoon. Chiefs 19, Chargers 17
John Dixon (@Arrowheadphones)
I expect a spirited game. The Chargers would love some payback for their overtime loss in Week 2 — and the young Kansas City players getting a chance to play will be motivated to show what they can do. I think the Chargers will see an opportunity for rookie quarterback Justin Herbert to out-duel Chad Henne, but I think the Chiefs defense — and Henne himself — will be up to the challenge. Chiefs 27, Chargers 24
Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp)
I’m excited to watch this game: a low-stress, fun contest in which Chiefs fans will learn about the young players that could be the future of the franchise. It will be good to see players like Willie Gay Jr., Martinas Rankin, Byron Pringle and Deandre Baker with more opportunities. That being said, the other team is going to come in on a three-game winning streak — and will be determined to end the year with four. I believe it will be a down-to-the-wire contest, but the Chiefs drop a meaningless game to their AFC West foes. Chargers 24, Chiefs 20
Matt Lane (@ChiefinCarolina)
This is a game in which both teams are going to be playing a lot of young players — but for entirely different reasons. With the Chargers looking to end the season on a high note — and showcase what their 2021 season is going to look like — I’m afraid they’re going to come out with a higher energy level across the board. With a lot of guys potentially out until the playoffs, the Chiefs may struggle to match that effort. Plenty of the younger Kansas City players who will be active have been getting playing time throughout the season, so getting up for this game could be difficult. Add on the fact that in quarterback Justin Herbert, the Chargers may have the best player in the game — or at least when L’Jarius Sneed gets to rest — and as Chiefs fans, we know what that means. Chargers 27, Chiefs 17
Matt Stagner (@stagdsp)
This will be one of the more enjoyable Chiefs games we’ve watched this season. Seriously. Mahomes and company will be cheering from the sidelines. So with no risk of major injuries and nothing to lose, Kansas City’s future supporting cast will have their chance to shine. Sure... without the MVP and the (potential) OPOY, the offense won’t be as exciting, but there will be plenty of intriguing players trying to show what they can do. We may get a better look at Willie Gay, Jr, BoPete Keyes, Deandre Baker and Tim Ward on defense. Byron Pringle and Mecole Hardman could get more targets on offense. In a similar situation against the Denver Broncos three years ago, a young Patrick Mahomes impressed us. While we can’t really expect that kind of debut, it will be fun to see what some of these guys can do. The outcome isn’t important — but it would be awesome to see the Chiefs B team take down a division rival. Chiefs 24, Chargers 21
Craig Stout (@barleyhop)
The Chiefs will likely rest most of their starters, while the Chargers are missing two of their best weapons — and their best pass rusher. I expect a somewhat sloppy affair with many backups playing key roles in a mostly meaningless game for both teams. The Chiefs’ front office gets a look at some of their depth players in a preseason-free season, and the game is close for most of the day. Justin Herbert scores a late touchdown to put the Chargers ahead, and the Chiefs escape without any major injuries. Chargers 23, Chiefs 17
Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson)
Under Andy Reid, the Chiefs have a history of keeping meaningless Week 17 games interesting. Some of the young players on the roster will be eager to show their progress and use this game as a springboard for 2021. Despite a talent depletion, I expect the Chiefs to keep it close. The young guys will play with some pride in their showcase but will fall late. Chargers 20, Chiefs 17
Pete Sweeney (@pgsween)
Ever since learning my lesson in September of 2018 — when I picked the Pittsburgh Steelers in Patrick Mahomes’ third career start — I have stayed rather consistent in picking the Chiefs. For me, it always comes back to the quarterback matchup. Regardless of whatever else is happening on a given Sunday (or this year, a Monday, Tuesday, Wendesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday) it is difficult for me to pick another quarterback over Mahomes. This week’s quarterback matchup features Justin Herbert — the likely offensive rookie of the year — against veteran Chad Henne. With that in mind, I like Herbert and the Chargers to prevent the Chiefs from getting to 15-1, as general manager Brett Veach gets some good tape of his young players in a real NFL situation. Chargers 28, Chiefs 20
Which team wins Chargers (6-9) at Chiefs (14-1)?
This poll is closed
Chiefs in a blowout
Chiefs in a close game
Chargers in a close game
Chargers in a blowout
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.
Among our writers, Matt Stagner turned in the best prediction of Week 16. His call for a 28-17 Chiefs win had 22 points of error. It was his second win of the season. Kent Swanson’s 31-24 pick was off by 28 points, but was good for second place. There was no movement in the standings.