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Chiefs-Chargers Week 18 predictions from Arrowhead Pride

Let’s see what AP staffers (and readers) think about Sunday’s game between Kansas City and Los Angeles.

NFL: NOV 20 Chiefs at Chargers Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Before the Kansas City Chiefs hosted the Cincinnati Bengals on New Year’s Eve, all but one member of our contributor panel picked the Chiefs to win. Our aggregate prediction for a 20-16 Kansas City win was only 10 points removed from the 25-17 final. John Dixon, Ron Kopp and Matt Stagner all made predictions with just 10 points of error to lead the group. Our readers were much less confident in a Kansas City victory. 43% thought the Bengals would win.

In Week 18, the Chiefs are on the road to face the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Los Angeles is favored by 3.5 points.

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

Nate Christensen (@natech32)

I think there’s a case to be made that the Chiefs’ backups will be better than whatever players the Chargers put on the field. On top of that, Los Angeles has zero incentive. The team’s entire staff will probably be gone after Monday — and most of its roster is likely to be turned over. Individual players might want to play for something, but I think the Chiefs’ young players will show out — and pull off the win.

Chiefs 20, Chargers 10

John Dixon (@Arrowheadphones)

Even if both teams have their depth players on the field, I would expect Kansas City to be a better team than the Chargers — except for quarterback Blaine Gabbert. If Justin Herbert was available for this game, I’d be pretty confident that the Chargers would win it. But since he isn’t, this one could go either way. Just the same, I’m calling for the good guys to come home with a narrow win.

Chiefs 17, Chargers 14

Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp)

The Chiefs need Week 18 to be a time when their starters can rest — and for the players who do take the field to stay healthy. I’m looking forward to seeing Justyn Ross get an opportunity to prove the starting offense should use him in the red zone — and I want to see if Felix Anudike-Uzomah can create pressure on his own. I see Blaine Gabbert slinging it around to outscore Los Angeles.

Chiefs 23, Chargers 20

Rocky Magaña (@RockyMagana)

In this game, the biggest thing on the line is whether Travis Kelce will get the 16 yards he needs to extend his streak of 1,000-yard receiving seasons. Head coach Andy Reid will do his best to rest as many starters as possible. This is an opportunity for players like Justyn Ross to prove that they deserve more snaps in 2024 — if not in the playoffs. While the Chargers will be playing most of their starters, they are extremely banged-up; they’re missing stars like quarterback Justin Herbert. So in this game, each team is only going as far as its backup quarterback can take it. I think that for both teams, that’s not going to be very far. I think Austin Eckeler gets a touchdown — and that will be the difference.

Chargers 10, Chiefs 9

Jared Sapp (@TrumanChief)

In a game where both teams will be playing lots of backups, I’m not going to overthink this. With a new regime arriving soon, the Chargers’ players who do take the field will be motivated to put up the best film they can. For Kansas City’s reserves, the first priority will be to stay healthy for the playoffs. In the moments where players must put their bodies on the line for a tackle — or to fight for extra yards — I think it will be obvious which squad is more willing. I am sure the Chiefs would love to see what players like Justyn Ross can do with more snaps, but Andy Reid’s first priority is going to be keeping the clock running. That’s the easiest, fastest and safest way to get past this game — and transition into planning for the Wild Card opponent.

Chargers 17, Chiefs 10

Stephen Serda (@StephenSerda)

In this meaningless Week 18 matchup, I’m not expecting much from either team. The Chiefs’ headlines seem to be whether Travis Kelce will keep his 1,000-yard streak alive and whether Chris Jones can hit his 10-sack contract incentive. We’ll see if Andy Reid allows them to get reps — but really, all we should take away from this game is how the team’s unfamiliar players perform. I’m willing to bet that the Chiefs' young players will step up to get Kansas City a win over quarterback Easton Stick and the Chargers.

Chiefs 20, Chargers 13

Matt Stagner (@stagdsp)

Welcome to the preseason for the postseason. The Chiefs are locked into their playoff position, so they’ll rest many of their veteran players. That might mean that this game will be a lot of fun to watch. There will be opportunities to check on the development of favorite longshots like B.J. Thompson and Justyn Ross. There may be chances for players like Travis Kelce, Chris Jones and Isiah Pacheco to hit key individual milestones — and opportunities for some other guys (like Marquez Valdes-Scantling) to get right. We should embrace this. We should simply enjoy watching the team that just won its eighth straight division title. In the Wild Card round, we can start worrying again.

Chiefs 24, Chargers 17

Pete Sweeney (@pgsween)

Given that most of the participating players haven’t seen many snaps this season, this is a tough game to predict. I think the Chiefs get to see what they have next year — while the quarterback who has played in a lot more recent games comes out ahead. Onto the postseason.

Chargers 28, Chiefs 17

Prop bets (from Pete Sweeney)

Head on over to DraftKings Sportsbook and take...

  • Over 13.5 points for the Chiefs (-142)


Which team wins Chiefs (10-6) at Chargers (5-11)?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Chiefs in a blowout (14 or more points)
    (22 votes)
  • 15%
    Chiefs in an easy win (8-13 points)
    (58 votes)
  • 54%
    Chiefs in a close game (8 or fewer points)
    (209 votes)
  • 17%
    Chargers in a close game
    (68 votes)
  • 6%
    Chargers in an easy win
    (24 votes)
  • 0%
    Chargers in a blowout
    (3 votes)
384 votes total Vote Now

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