The Chiefs are resting starters this week against the Chargers. Our writers are mixed on who will win.
The Kansas City Chiefs secured the AFC’s only first-round bye last week when they beat the Atlanta Falcons. It was yet another game that the Chiefs won by less than a touchdown, as their win only came by three points. They are now getting ready to rest their starters for their matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Their win over the Falcons took some luck, as the Chiefs only managed to put up 17 points. In the low-scoring affair, neither team scored in the first or third quarter. The first score came in the second quarter, and it was the Falcons who took the lead. The Chiefs tied it up and the teams were then deadlocked until the third quarter.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes had another mediocre game where he completed 24/44 passes for 278 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Despite the win, this game hurts Mahomes’ chances at winning the NFL MVP award as it was another game without eye-popping numbers. The Chiefs pulled off a 17-14 win due to Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo missing a game-tying 39-yard field goal.
Meanwhile, the Chargers picked up an ugly win against the Denver Broncos in a game that didn’t mean much to either team. Rookie quarterback Justin Herbert had a solid day, completing 21/33 passes for 253 yards and 1 touchdown, but he has dropped off from his stellar numbers earlier this season.
With a good performance against the Chiefs this week, Herbert might be able to secure the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award. The Chargers picked up a 19-16 win over the Broncos and look to close the season on a high note against the Chiefs this week.
With the first-round bye locked up, the Chiefs have nothing on the line and are taking this opportunity to rest their starters and get healthy. Per the final injury report, wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins, running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, offensive lineman Mike Remmers, and linebacker Ben Niemann are all out. The team has already said that quarterback Patrick Mahomes would be resting as well. Running back Le’Veon Bell and defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi are questionable.
For the Chargers, star defensive end Joey Bosa, linebacker Malik Jefferson, cornerback Casey Hayward Jr., safety Rayshawn Jenkins, and offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga are all listed as out. Wide receiver Keenan Allen was placed on the COVID-19/reserve list as well, meaning he is out. Safety Jahleel Addae and offensive tackle Sam Tevi are questionable for the game.
With this game not being a very meaningful game, and the Chiefs resting their starters, our writers are mixed on who they think will win. Here are our full writer predictions:
Drew Brooks: Chargers 20, Chiefs 17
I think this will be a low-scoring affair that never has any real excitement. With Mahomes and company resting, I think Justin Herbert will have a solid game to cap off a solid rookie season. I think this is one that the Chiefs have a chance to win, but I ultimately think the Chargers will come out on top.
Matt Conner: Chargers 27, Chiefs 13
If we’ve learned any lesson in the Patrick Mahomes era, it’s that you always allow the quarterback battle to largely determine your prediction. Justin Herbert vs. Chad Henne forces my hand here. I think that Chargers have the real deal.
Bransen Gibson: Chiefs 24, Chargers 20
By securing the AFC’s top seed, the Chiefs not only clinched a first-round bye in the playoffs, but what is essentially an extra ‘week off’ against the Chargers. It won’t be K.C.’s strongest side on the field at Arrowhead, but they should still come away with the victory. I’m tipping the Chiefs to win.
Lyle Graversen: Chiefs 19, Chargers 17
I think this is going to be an ugly, sloppy, slug-fest between a team that is resting its top players and a team ready to pack it up and call it a season. In the end, I think the K.C. backups, while maybe less talented, will have more energy and motivation and Harrison Butker will be the MVP.
Ellen Mathis: Chargers 35, Chiefs 30
This week isn’t particularly exciting since important pieces of the chiefs are going to rest. However, it’s still a division game and sets up the Chargers for an interesting offseason with questions at the head coach position. It will be made even more interesting when the Chargers beat the Chiefs backups and head into the offseason on a win streak.
Byron Smith: Chargers 24, Chiefs 21
This game is a matter of who wants it more. K.C. doesn’t need this at all while the Chargers desperately want it. The latter’s coaching staff is on the hot seat, the players are tired of losing, and the organization is about fed up with being picked on as a little brother. Give them a close win that means nothing ultimately, but gives K.C. the kick in the pants they need, too.