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Chiefs vs. Chargers: Game and score predictions

Let’s see what Arrowhead Pride contributors — and our readers — think about Sunday’s game against the Chargers.

Los Angeles Chargers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

After turning in a solid prediction for the Kansas City Chiefs’ Week 1 game against the Cleveland Browns, the Arrowhead Pride staff did very poorly in predicting Week 2’s 36-35 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Everyone picked Kansas City to win; the composite prediction of a 35-23 Chiefs victory was way off the mark. 85% of our contributors thought the game would at least be an easy win for the Chiefs — but we weren’t alone. 78% of our readers thought the same thing — although 3% of our readers at least thought the Ravens would win a close game.

So like the Chiefs, we’ll all try to do better when the Los Angeles Chargers come to town.


Tom Childs (@tomchilds56)

Sorry, Kansas City fans... but I think the Chiefs drop another one on Sunday. Under Reid in the past, we have seen that losses aren’t normally a single event. There is always some kind of hangover — and the fixes are never immediate. The Chargers should rightly fancy their chances of grabbing a win at a nervous Arrowhead Stadium. Chiefs 30 Chargers 33.

John Dixon (@Arrowheadphones)

I wish I thought that after their narrow loss in Baltimore, the Chiefs would come home to turn in an overwhelming victory against a division rival. But I think that Justin Herbert and the Chargers will keep this game closer than we’d like. The two defenses will keep it from becoming a full-fledged shootout between the two quarterbacks, but Mahomes will prevail. Chiefs 31, Chargers 27

Talon Graff (@CoachGraff34)

Second-year quarterback Justin Herbert had all the hype heading into 2021 — but during the first two weeks, it’s been hard to really gauge just how good the Chargers are. With Derwin James healthy, the Los Angeles pass defense has played well; Mahomes and his two biggest targets will need to be on their A-games. The Kansas City defense will be tested yet again, because the Chargers have plenty of playmakers — and veteran wide receiver Keenan Allen is off to a hot start. But so far, Los Angeles has struggled against the run — so it will be a good chance for Clyde Edwards-Helaire to bounce back. The AFC West is no gimme. Every win matters — especially one from an intra-division game. I expect a heavyweight bout between two teams that want to make a statement. Chiefs 38, Chargers 35

Mark Gunnels (@MarkAGunnels)

Everyone is panicking about the Chiefs' run defense — and for good reason. To be fair, however, they have literally faced football’s top two rushing attacks. The Chargers are completely different; they depend on Justin Herbert’s big arm. Facing a more typical NFL offense should bode well for Chris Jones and Kansas City’s struggling defensive line. Both teams will score points, but I don’t think the game will be as high-scoring as most assume. Both teams know each other well — and with each team coming off tough losses, I expect this to be a very physical matchup. Chiefs 27, Chargers 23

Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp)

After playing two run-heavy teams with relatively unique schemes, the Chiefs will finally face a more representative modern offense. The Chargers won’t be focused on pounding the rock. Instead, they’ll rely on Justin Herbert to drop back a lot; he has the NFL’s third-most passing attempts. I believe that will help the Chiefs’ defense play more comfortably than they have in the first two games. So far this season, the Chargers’ lack of a running game has hurt them on early downs and in the red zone; they’ve scored just 18.5 points per game. They’re so talented that I still think they’ll put up points — but I don’t think they’ll score more than the Chiefs. In a bounce-back win, Clyde Edwards-Helaire has his most productive game of the season. Chiefs 34, Chargers 29

Rocky Magaña (@RockyMagana)

The Chiefs enter this game with more questions than answers — but one question that was answered in the Baltimore game is that Patrick Mahomes can be very effective utilizing a committee approach for the team’s second wide receiver. The Chiefs have struggled to win at the line of scrimmage this year, so this needs to be a statement game for the defense — and luckily, the Chargers utilize their running backs more in the passing game than in the running game. To win, the Chiefs need to hold Justin Herbert to under 300 yards passing and limit Austin Ekeler to under 100 yards from scrimmage. If the defensive line can win their matchups — putting pressure on Herbert — then I think the Chiefs will walk out of this one on top. But we are in for another close game. Chiefs 34, Chargers 31

Kramer Sansone (@KramerTalks)

This is a hard game to pick. In Week 2, both teams were shocked with losses. Both teams will be motivated to win. I am concerned about the Chiefs’ front seven getting to Justin Herbert; if they couldn’t get past a beat-up offensive line to affect Lamar Jackson, then I don’t see them applying any sort of pressure to Herbert. Kansas City has clear disadvantages at linebacker, so there will be pass-coverage holes for Austin Ekeler, Jared Cook and a streaking Keenan Allen across the short middle of the field. At the end, the Chargers win with a late Tristan Vizcaino field goal. Chargers 34, Chiefs 31

Jared Sapp (@TrumanChief)

With both teams coming off disappointing losses — and both the Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders likely to reach 3-0 this weekend — Sunday’s game has much more of a big-game feel than I thought it might. It looks like both teams will have key defenders either missing or limited, which will lead to a shootout. Running backs Antonio Gibson of the Washington Football Team and Tony Pollard of the Dallas Cowboys combined for 248 scrimmage yards against the Chargers during their first two games, exposing a weakness that Andy Reid could exploit. So look for Clyde Edwards-Helaire to get a chance to redeem himself after Week 2’s costly fumble — and finally be a focal point of the offense. Ultimately, Mahomes and company will outlast Herbert and the Chargers in a game that will test the limits of both defenses — and the patience of both fan bases. Chiefs 37, Chargers 34.

Stephen Serda (@StephenSerda)

One thing we know without a doubt: the Chiefs' offense is excellent. It’s been this way for quite a while — and it’s not going to change anytime soon. Still, I’m a little worried this game won’t be the jump-start for the Chiefs’ season we’re hoping to see; the Chargers are one of the few NFL teams that can truly sling it with the Chiefs. With defensive injuries potentially affecting both squads, it sets up to be another Kansas City shootout. While explosive, the Chargers have struggled to score touchdowns — but through two games, the Kansas City defense has shown it could be is the perfect matchup for Los Angeles to get that figured out. This just doesn’t feel like the game where the Chiefs’ defense gets right — but I still have faith that Patrick Mahomes can do enough to carry the team to victory. Chiefs 38, Chargers 27

Matt Stagner (@stagdsp)

After the loss in Baltimore, perspectives on the Chiefs’ season are all over the place. But the Chiefs were never going 20-0 — and they aren’t going to be out of first place for long, either. The Chargers present entirely different challenges than the Ravens — so on Sunday, the narratives will be flipped on their heads. The Chiefs should get back on track, but it might happen in unexpected ways — like Clyde Edwards-Helaire having a breakout game as a receiver, the Kansas City defense getting after the quarterback or Juan Thornhill making an impact with increased snaps. It won’t be easy, but the Chiefs still have the best quarterback, coach, wide receiver and tight end combination in the league. They’ll come through. Chiefs 42, Chargers 28

Bryan Stewart (@BryanStewart_)

Both teams enter Sunday’s matchup coming off heartbreaking losses. Both rosters are littered with top-level talent. But the Chiefs being at home will be a difference-maker: Justin Herbert will be playing his first game in a real Arrowhead environment. Early on, the Chiefs’ offense will need to take a patient approach, containing Los Angeles defensive end Joey Bosa so that he does not wreck their plans in the passing game. I can see this one being a major bounce-back for the Chiefs — or a super-tight game that comes down to the final possession. I’ll take the latter. Chiefs 31, Chargers 24

Pete Sweeney (@pgsween)

Until they prove otherwise, we have to go into each game prepared for the Chiefs’ defense to surrender north of 28 points. Even when that is the case, however, it seems that quarterback Patrick Mahomes can find a way to prevail; had it not been for Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s fumble, he would have done so in Baltimore. Something tells me Edwards-Helaire finds his get-right game — but the defense does not. Justin Herbert shows why he can go toe-to-toe with Mahomes, but comes up just short in an Arrowhead Stadium shootout. Reminiscent of last year’s Week 2 matchup, Harrison Butker walks off with the win. Chiefs 41, Chargers 38

Ethan Willinger (@ecwillinger)

The Chiefs and Chargers should be highly motivated after suffering losses in winnable Week 2 games. Plus, the Broncos and Raiders — both widely projected to finish in the bottom half of the AFC West — are well-positioned to advance to 3-0 this weekend. So unquestionably, Kansas City and Los Angeles will be looking to round into form. The Chiefs have not been able to stop the run, while the Chargers have been prone to stalling and turning the ball over on offense — and in this game, I think it’s more likely that the Chiefs will capitalize on the Chargers’ early-season weaknesses. The Arrowhead advantage, a few big plays on defense — and Kansas City’s offensive firepower — make the difference. Chiefs 31, Chargers 27

Poll

Which team wins Chargers (1-1) at Chiefs (1-1)?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    Chiefs in a blowout (14 or more points)
    (96 votes)
  • 19%
    Chiefs in an easy win (8-13 points)
    (230 votes)
  • 52%
    Chiefs in a close game (7 or fewer points)
    (628 votes)
  • 15%
    Chargers in a close game
    (191 votes)
  • 3%
    Chargers in an easy win
    (38 votes)
  • 1%
    Chargers in a blowout
    (15 votes)
1198 votes total Vote Now

2021 Standings

Rnk LW Staffer W L Pct Error
1 3 John Dixon 1 1 0.5000 12.0
2 3 Stephen Serda 1 1 0.5000 15.0
3 6 Jared Sapp 1 1 0.5000 17.0
4 1 Rocky Magaña 1 1 0.5000 18.0
4 3 Ethan Willinger 1 1 0.5000 18.0
4 7 Talon Graff 1 1 0.5000 18.0
7 1 Ron Kopp Jr. 1 1 0.5000 21.0
8 8 Matt Stagner 1 1 0.5000 22.0
9 12 Tom Childs 1 1 0.5000 28.0
10 8 Bryan Stewart 1 1 0.5000 29.0
11 8 Pete Sweeney 1 1 0.5000 30.0
12 8 Mark Gunnels 1 1 0.5000 32.0
13 13 Kramer Sansone 0 2 0.0000 23.0

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.

There’s not a lot of glory in making the least-wrong prediction — but that’s what John Dixon did. His call for a 31-27 Chiefs victory had 18 points of error in a week where one contributor turned in a pick with 44 points of error. Talon Graff took second with a 38-28 prognostication that had 22 points of error. It was enough to move both of them up in the standings — and John to the top. Jared Sapp — who the third least-wrong pick in Week 2 — moved into the top three.

2021 Predictions

Game Writers Madden Final
Browns 36-27
Chiefs
33-20
Chiefs
33-29
Chiefs
@Ravens 35-23
Chiefs
34-20
Chiefs
36-35
Ravens
Chargers 34-30
Chiefs
27-24
Chiefs
???