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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 Los Angeles.

Kansas City Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

In Week 10, Arrowhead Pride’s contributors turned in their best predictions of the season for the Kansas City Chiefs’ 27-17 home victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. While 44% of our staff thought Kansas City would collect a blowout, our composite prediction of a 32-20 victory carried only 10 points of error. To their credit, our readers were less convinced a blowout was the way. 45% thought the Chiefs would do just what they did: notch an easy win.

In Week 11, the Chiefs are on the road to face the Los Angeles Chargers. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Kansas City is favored by 5.5 points.

Let’s see what the staff — and our readers — think about the matchup.

Price Carter (@priceacarter)

For the Chargers, this is a classic “kitchen sink” game. Expect trick plays, aggressive play-calling and classic Brandon Staley fourth downs. In the last meeting between these teams, the Chargers’ biggest advantage was their pass rush — but injuries to Joey Bosa (and others) have neutralized that threat. Kansas City is going to have to be able to commit to the run, tempting Los Angeles to get Derwin James involved in the run defense. This game is all about pass-catchers not named Travis Kelce stepping up. The defense is the most athletic it has been in the Patrick Mahomes era. I like its ability to rally to the ball and limit Austin Ekeler. As long as it can control the running game, I think the Chiefs’ pass rush (and youthful secondary) can limit the Chargers.

Chiefs 33, Chargers 28

Tom Childs (@tomchilds56)

I’ll not lie: as the hours go on, I'm becoming slightly more nervous about this game. I think my nervousness comes from the news regarding the two squads’ receivers. The Chiefs will be without JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman, while the Chargers will be welcoming the return of Mike Williams and Keenan Allen. I’m hoping that Kansas City commits to the run — because this season, the Chargers have stunk while defending against it. If the Chiefs can do that, then they should be able to keep the Chargers at arm’s length.

Chiefs 27, Chargers 17

Nate Christensen (@natech32)

Look, it’s a divisional game. The Las Vegas Raiders game this year is a good example. The Raiders are a bad football team — but when a team like the Chiefs Kansas City dominates your division for that long, you’ll play extra hard and bring out an elite game plan. These AFC West teams do that every time — and on Sunday night, I expect nothing different. If the Chargers lose this game, they’ll also lose their best chance to stay in the AFC West race — and their playoff chances will reduce significantly. So for Los Angeles, it will be a “kitchen sink” game — one that I expect will be a tough and well-fought. Still, the Chiefs are better. They have the better quarterback and coach. When healthy, the rosters were interesting to compare — but with Joey Bosa, Rashawn Slater, and J.C. Jackson already out (and all their other injuries), there’s no debate about which team is more talented. When you have all three of these advantages, there’s not much the other team can do.

Chiefs 30, Chargers 24

John Dixon (@Arrowheadphones)

I think it’s fair to be worried about players such as Mecole Hardman and JuJu Smith-Schuster being out for this game — but objectively, the Chargers’ roster is even more riddled with absences. I don’t think, however, that this means that the Chiefs will win this one going away; I never think that about a game against Los Angeles. But until they prove otherwise, Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes have demonstrated they are worth our confidence in these kinds of matchups.

Chiefs 31, Chargers 27

Maurice Elston (@recenickelz)

The Chargers come into this game with a 5-4 record. All the pressure is on them to win. I fully expect them to be aggressive early and often, going for it on fourth down and pushing the ball downfield. While the Chiefs will be without wide receivers Smith-Schuster and Hardman, Los Angeles will likely have its top two targets — Williams and Allen — back on the field; both players will be game-time decisions. In the past, Williams in particular has had big games against the Chiefs’ secondary. Missing Smith-Schuster and Hardman may cause the Chiefs to run more often — which should work in their favor since the Chargers have been having their share of struggles against the run. But as always, this game will come down to the quarterbacks — and I have to side with Mahomes. I expect the Chiefs to be in control most of this game— and for the Chargers to make a late push that will make it look closer than it really was. Chiefs win!

Chiefs 31, Chargers 21

Talon Graff (@CoachGraff34)

It is Round 2 of Mahomes vs. Herbert — one of the league's marquee quarterback rivalries. With a win, the Chiefs will extend their AFC West lead to three games. Meanwhile, the Chargers are on the outside looking in; they can’t afford many more losses to stay in the playoff race. In Week 2, Kansas City held off a Los Angeles comeback, nothing a narrow three-point victory. This should be another good game that comes down to the wire.

Chiefs 31, Chargers 27

Mark Gunnels (@MarkAGunnels)

Here we go again. Every time Mahomes and Herbert face off, you can expect the game to come down to the wire. The Chiefs will be without Smith-Schuster and Hardman — while the Chargers could be getting Allen and Williams back. But with the ability to essentially wrap up the AFC West in this game, I believe Kansas City will make enough plays down the stretch to pull it out. Expect a big game from Kadarius Toney.

Chiefs 31, Chargers 23

Zach Gunter (@ZachGunter08)

With both Smith-Schuster and Hardman out, the Chiefs' wide receiver corps is damaged. But I still believe that Kansas City will pull away with a win. Kadarius Toney is really good — and the Chargers are badly beaten up. It's a division game, so expect heart attacks. But the Chiefs will do Chiefs things.

Chiefs 30, Chargers 21

Conner Helm (@ArrowheadConner)

This is a classic AFC West showdown at SoFi Stadium. The Chargers’ offense is as healthy as it’s been since Week 1 — and I expect them to have a very good showing against this Kansas City defense. If Keenan Allen plays, watch for him to have a good game; he’ll primarily be matched up against the banged-up L’Jarius Sneed in the slot. On offense, I think this is the week that running back Isiah Pacheco introduces himself to the world. On the defensive interior, Los Angeles is down to practice-squad players — so I expect the Chiefs to pound the rock. This game will come down to execution in the fourth quarter — which is when Mahomes will cement his MVP case with a comeback win against the Chargers.

Chiefs 30, Chargers 28

Ashley Justice (@Justice_Paur88)

Divisional games always provide the extra ante. With the Chiefs holding a two-game lead in the AFC West, a victory would extend it to an almost insurmountable three-game lead — and remove much of the pressure on a team that is experiencing a few injuries. The Chargers also have their fair share of injuries to key players on both sides of the ball. With Williams and Allen questionable for the game, I expect Los Angeles to rely heavily on Ekeler in the running game. This will also be Kansas City rookie cornerback Trent McDuffie’s first go against the Chargers. Depending on the availability of the Los Angeles wide receivers, it should be an interesting matchup.

Chiefs 33, Chargers 21

Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp)

Because of all the injuries, it’s amazing how much different the Chargers’ roster will look compared to Week 2. I think the absences of Joey Bosa and Rashawn Slater are enormous — and will help the Chiefs improve their pass rush and pass protection. I think we’ll see both Allen and Williams play. So I think this will be a more high-scoring, back-and-forth affair than the first game — but the Chiefs will again emerge as the victor.

Chiefs 30, Chargers 27

Aaron Ladd (aaronladd0)

It seems like all the Chiefs and Chargers do is face off in close games. The good news for the Kingdom is they’ve come out on top in recent contests. Kansas City has won seven of its last 10 against Los Angeles; Reid and Mahomes are virtually golden in division play. This one, however, feels different. With the Chiefs banged up at key skill positions, new faces must contribute in primetime. A win puts the Chiefs in firm control of the division — and the conference’s top seed — but I’m smelling upset.

Chargers 35, Chiefs 28

Rocky Magaña (@RockyMagana)

Chiefs vs. Chargers: a Haiku

The autumn leaves change,
The over-hyped Chargers fade,
Chiefs Kingdom stands tall.

In recent weeks, the Los Angeles run defense has been a saloon door. I fully expect Kansas City running backs Isiah Pacheco, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerrick McKinnon to gash the Chargers on the ground, leaving battered bodies in their wake. This should open up the play-action game for Mahomes, allowing him to beat Los Angeles over the top. This game is the funeral for the Chargers' hopes and dreams in 2022.

Chiefs 28, Chargers 10

Ricko Mendoza (@ricko_mendoza_)

The Chiefs have won two straight games against the Chargers — including their Week 2 Thursday Night Football matchup by a score of 27-24. It feels like games between these two division rivals are always close — which makes sense, because Mahomes and Herbert are two of the league’s most talented quarterbacks. While Kansas City’s Smith-Schuster and Hardman will miss the game, Los Angeles wideouts — headlined by Keenan Allen and Mike Williams — are getting healthier; both are likely to play on Sunday night. So the Chargers’ offense could prove to be more dangerous than it may seem; the Chiefs would be wise not to underestimate it. It will be close, but Kansas City is playing its best football of the season right now — and should come away with the win.

Chiefs 28, Chargers 25

Stan Nelson (@chiefsfanstan)

Throw away the injury reports and all of the on-paper comparisons that we have seen for this game. While both teams have their own injury concerns, this is still a divisional game. It’s going to be just like these games always have been: gritty and tough — and most likely competitive down to the wire. While any game has a chance to have one team run away with the lead, this one is likely to be another hard-fought match in which both teams will leave everything on the field. In such circumstances, I will always go with the best coach/quarterback combination — and in this game, that comparison isn’t even close.

Chiefs 34, Chargers 21

Tom Ruprecht (@truprecht)

I’d say I’m worried about the Smith-Schuster and Hardman injuries — but considering how badly beaten up the Chargers are, their fans don’t want to hear it. Kadarius Toney looked great last Sunday, but can we really assume he’s comfortable enough with the offense to pick up an increased workload? I trust the Chiefs will survive by spreading out the weapons. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Jerick McKinnon and Isiah Pacheco will have strong games as Kansas City takes care of business.

Chiefs 31, Chargers 21

Kramer Sansone (@KramerTalks)

This game will be interesting, because we don’t know which Chargers offense will show up. If it’s not the banged-up version, the possibility exists for a shootout. All season, the Chiefs' offense has seemed to be able to respond when truly needs to do so — even when the team is hurt. I am expecting a back-and-forth affair in which the turnover battle will ultimately dictate the winner. Late in the game, Harrison Butker will hit the game-winning field goal.

Chiefs 38, Chargers 35

Jared Sapp (@TrumanChief)

With the apparent return of the Chargers’ Allen and Williams, it is tempting to predict a shootout — but it’s hard to know exactly what kind of players Los Angeles will be getting back. I expect the Chiefs to go for the low-hanging fruit, actually committing to run the ball against what might be the league’s worst rush defense. Mahomes might not put up huge stats, but he will make the timely throws in a game the Chiefs should control. Chiefs 28, Chargers 20

Nick Schwerdt (@nick_schwerdt)

There’s something about getting away from Arrowhead that seems to bring the best out of the Chiefs’ offense. Kansas City has scored at least 40 points in three of its four road games this season — the lone exception being the head-scratching loss to the Colts. I do think Smith-Schuster’s loss is significant; there’s nobody else at his position who can replicate what he does. I think it’s another win for the Chiefs in Los Angeles. But should we temper our expectations for the offense?

Chiefs 27, Chargers 24

Stephen Serda (@StephenSerda)

The Chargers tend to give the Chiefs some problems defensively — but I’m just struggling to see a situation where they can put it all together on Sunday night. Assuming Allen and Williams play — which definitely upgrades the Chargers' offense — I think Kansas City’s defense is up to the task on a big stage. Mahomes will continue his MVP trajectory and find a way to get it done against this banged-up Chargers team.

Chiefs 31, Chargers 24

Matt Stagner (@stagdsp)

Division games are never easy — and this one won’t be an exception. The Chiefs and Chargers are both a bit shorthanded, so it will be a test of each team’s depth. Luckily, Kansas City has prepared for this moment by stacking wide receivers seven deep. Without Smith-Schuster and Hardman, Mahomes will still have Kadarius Toney, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Justin Watson — each of whom is capable of huge plays. Watch to see if the Chiefs still try to get Skyy Moore involved. If it doesn’t happen this week, then it will be time to look forward to what he can do in 2023. This is also the week where the offense should be at its most balanced. The Los Angeles defense can be beaten on the ground — and the Chiefs have hungry rookie Isiah Pacheco and well-rested veteran Clyde Edwards-Helaire ready to make this happen Sunday night. If it can stay balanced, the offense will roll. If that happens — and even if Mike Williams and Keenan Allen get some big plays against the young Kansas City secondary — it won’t be enough. The Chiefs win, salting away the division faster than anyone expected.

Chiefs 42, Chargers 33

Bryan Stewart (@BryanStewart_)

Time and time again, I’ve hoped for easy, stress-free games against the Chargers. These days, it just never seems to come to fruition. Therefore, I won’t expect anything to be different. Kansas City is down some wide receivers, while Los Angeles could be getting back two of its very best wideouts. Either way, the Chiefs will win this game by running the football in a manner they haven’t been able to display against he Chargers in recent seasons. This will be Isiah Pacheco’s coming-out party.

Chiefs 30, Chargers 23

Pete Sweeney (@pgsween)

Heading into this game, much of the attention has been on the health of skill players. JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman have already been ruled out — and Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are both questionable to play. So it boils down to Mahomes vs. Herbert with a slightly different cast of characters. But while the weapons missing on both sides are important, I think the key absence in this game will be that of pass rusher Joey Bosa, who registered three tackles, two quarterback hits and a tackle for loss in Week 2. Without Bosa on the field, Mahomes will remain comfortable on the game’s big stage — once again outdueling Herbert.

Chiefs 31, Chargers 21

Dakota Watson (@dwatson_56)

History suggests that I should not be as confident in this game as I am. Every matchup between these two teams comes down to the wire — and the Chargers always elevate their play against the Chiefs. Both teams come into the game with injuries, and the Chiefs receiving corps will surely be challenged as a result. I fully expect Los Angeles to play well, but it won’t be enough. Kansas City will take advantage of the poor Los Angeles run defense, Mahomes will continue to spread the ball to his available weapons — and the Chiefs will essentially cement their seventh consecutive AFC West crown.

Chiefs 34, Chargers 21


Which team wins Chiefs (7-2) at Chargers (5-4)?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    Chiefs in a blowout (14 or more points)
    (59 votes)
  • 30%
    Chiefs in an easy win (8-13 points)
    (222 votes)
  • 49%
    Chiefs in a close game (7 or fewer points)
    (364 votes)
  • 11%
    Chargers in a close game
    (83 votes)
  • 1%
    Chargers in an easy win
    (8 votes)
  • 0%
    Chargers in a blowout
    (3 votes)
739 votes total Vote Now

2022 Standings

TW LW Staffer W L Pct Err
1 1 Pete Sweeney 8 1 0.8889 21.1
2 2 Nate Christensen 8 1 0.8889 22.0
3 3 Aaron Ladd 8 1 0.8889 26.2
4 4 Dakota Watson 8 1 0.8889 26.7
5 8 Ashley Justice 8 1 0.8889 27.6
6 5 Rocky Magaña 8 1 0.8889 28.2
8 6 Mark Gunnels 8 1 0.8889 29.3
7 9 Matt Stagner 8 1 0.8889 29.6
9 7 Stephen Serda 8 1 0.8889 30.4
10 10 John Dixon 7 2 0.7778 22.9
11 12 Price Carter 7 2 0.7778 23.3
12 11 Bryan Stewart 7 2 0.7778 23.3
13 13 Jared Sapp 7 2 0.7778 24.0
14 14 Maurice Elston 7 2 0.7778 26.0
15 16 Talon Graff 7 2 0.7778 28.0
18 19 Tom Ruprecht 7 2 0.7778 28.7
19 17 Nick Schwerdt 7 2 0.7778 29.1
16 18 Tom Childs 7 2 0.7778 29.8
16 15 Ricko Mendoza 7 2 0.7778 31.1
20 21 Zach Gunter 7 2 0.7778 31.1
21 20 Stan Nelson 7 2 0.7778 33.1
22 22 Kramer Sansone 6 3 0.6667 21.6
23 23 Conner Helm 6 3 0.6667 26.9
24 24 Ron Kopp Jr. 6 3 0.6667 29.3

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.

Here’s something we’ve never seen before: in Week 10, two staffers correctly predicted the score of the game. Maurice Elston and Tom Ruprecht both said it would be a 27-17 win for Kansas City. Two other contributors had only two points of error in their picks: Talon Graff and Nick Schwerdt both predicted a 27-18 Chiefs victory. Six others had 12 or fewer points of error in their prognostications, while five more had only 14.

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