Let’s see what Arrowhead Pride contributors — and our readers — think about Thursday’s game against the Chargers
In the season opener against the Arizona Cardinals, all of Arrowhead Pride’s contributors called for the Kansas City Chiefs to notch their eighth consecutive Week 1 victory. Our composite prediction of a 33-20 Chiefs win carried 22 points of error when compared to the 44-21 final score. Our readers were similarly confident in a victory. 97% called for a Chiefs win, but they were more convinced a blowout was coming. 57% thought the Chiefs would win by at least two touchdowns — compared to 29% of the staff.
Let’s see what the staff — and our readers — think about the matchup.
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Tom Childs (@tomchilds56)
Now, I might be wrong — but I think Chargers head coach Brandon Staley has been saving his aggressiveness for this game. Against the Las Vegas Raiders, we saw a fairly pedestrian performance from the Los Angeles offense. Don’t get me wrong: quarterback Justin Herbert made some unbelievable plays, but the coaching come across as slightly vanilla. So against the Chiefs, I expect the Chargers coaching team to flip that on its head and come out with all guns blazing. Why do I expect that? Because that is exactly what we’ve seen in the past. My hope is that Chiefs head coach Andy Reid recognizes this, fighting fire with fire. . If he does, then I’ll always back the team with Patrick Mahomes at quarterback — despite my admiration for Herbert.
Chiefs 38, Chargers 35
John Dixon (@Arrowheadphones)
If you like, you can downgrade Kansas City’s big win over the Cardinals because Arizona was so banged-up. And the Chargers’ five-sack performance against the Raiders should certainly make us nervous — although it was against a Las Vegas team that is picking up the pieces from a disastrous regime. But what Week 1’s results told me was that the Chiefs’ plan for this season seems to be working as we hoped — and while Los Angeles may be more competitive within the division, there’s still every reason to think that in this home game — even on a short week — Mahomes (and a surprising Kansas City defense) will take care of business.
Chiefs 31, Chargers 24
Talon Graff (@CoachGraff34)
Two of the AFC’s best square off on Thursday night — and it just so happens they are bitter AFC West rivals. GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium will be rocking for the home opener — and as they usually are, the crowd will be a factor. Patrick Mahomes will be dealing with an injured left wrist — but against the Cardinals, it didn’t appear to affect him much. He is coming off a five-touchdown performance and the offense has been clicking since the first preseason game. But right guard Trey Smith is questionable after going down with an ankle injury in Week 1. The defense will be without first-round rookie cornerback Trent McDuffie, who was placed on injured reserve. But the other first-round rookie — defensive end George Karlaftis — will be looking for his first career sack. Justin Herbert provides a different kind of playmaker at quarterback than Kyler Murray did, but expect the secondary to be tested much more in Week 2. Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen is most likely going to miss the game — which is a positive for Kansas City. The last four meetings have all ended in one-possession scores — and this one should be another classic.
Chiefs 41, Chargers 38
Mark Gunnels (@MarkAGunnels)
Yes, Kansas City’s season started Sunday in Arizona against the Cardinals. But Thursday night in Arrowhead against the Chargers feels like the real start of the 2022 campaign. Most people believe these two teams are the class of the AFC West. On one side you have Patrick Mahomes. On the other side you have Justin Herbert. Both quarterbacks are among the elite of the elite — but Herbert will be without his favorite target: Keenan Allen. The Chargers still have enough weapons to be productive, but that’s still a big loss. When you factor that in — along with the fact that it’s the home opener — I’m leaning Chiefs.
Chiefs 34, Chargers 24
Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp)
Arrowhead Stadium has seen plenty of big, primetime games in the regular season — but this might rival any of them as the most anticipated. Each team knows how important it is to get a leg up on each other. Both have likely spent more of the offseason preparing for this game than they’ll publicly admit. That’s why I believe we’ll see the best of what the new Chiefs’ offense has to offer — things that we may not have seen in Week 1. Each team will be pulling out all the stops, but one side has the quarterback, coaching, and home-field advantage — and because of those things, it will emerge as the winner.
Chiefs 30, Chargers 23
Aaron Ladd (aaronladd0)
Wow. Andy Reid and his players made an emphatic statement in the desert. Kansas City cruised past a confused Cardinals crew and looked very comfortable doing so. Turning the page to Thursday, however, will likely be uncomfortable. Missing Pro Bowl kicker Harrison Butker (ankle) stings, but losing rookie cornerback Trent McDuffie (hamstring) for at least the next four games stings a bit more. On a short week, I expect Kansas City to be challenged defensively against Herbert and the high-flying Chargers. To me, this one feels like whichever team has the ball last will win.
Chiefs 31, Chargers 28
Rocky Magaña (@RockyMagana)
This is a tough one to call. Along with the Buffalo Bills and the Chiefs, I think the Chargers round out the top three teams in the AFC. If you play this game ten times, I think each team wins 4.5 times — with the tenth being a toss-up. With Kansas City players Trent McDuffie, Trey Smith and Harrison Butker injured — and stars Keenan Allen and J.C. Jackson hurt for Los Angeles — this is a game that could be decided by players who are not on the field. Last Sunday, the Chargers did a good job of keeping Justin Herbert upright. If they want to win this game, that’s something that the Chiefs will have to overcome. Despite the game being billed as two big-armed gunslingers throwing the ball all over the yard, I think the key for both teams will be to take away yards after the catch. In 2021 Kansas City ranked just 29th in air yards per completion, but second in total yards after the catch. (The Chargers ranked fifth). This is a trend that continued in the season opener against Arizona, where 192 of Mahomes’ 360 yards in passing came after the receiver caught the ball. With both teams missing players in the secondary, look for Andy Reid and Brandon Staley to get the ball to their playmakers in space. I foresee Austin Eckeler and Clyde Edwards-Helaire both being featuring prominently in their teams’ passing attacks. If Willie Gay Jr. and Nick Bolton can sniff out the passes underneath (and limit Eckeler’s damage), then I think the Arrowhead crowd will be the deciding factor as the Chiefs squeak out an offensive slugfest at home.
Chiefs 31, Chargers 30
Kramer Sansone (@KramerTalks)
It’s the game of the week — and it’s on Thursday night — so it can’t get any better than this. I believe the Chargers’ pass rush will get to Patrick Mahomes a handful of times. But I think we will see Mahomes find the defensive holes that will help the Chiefs to pull this one out. With Keenan Allen out, I bet we see a big game from Mike Williams — but it won’t be enough to eclipse the Chiefs. Expect this game to be back-and-forth until the fourth quarter.
Chiefs 31, Chargers 27
Jared Sapp (@TrumanChief)
All three meetings between Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert have been decided by less than a touchdown — and I expect that streak to continue. With such a fast turnaround from opening week, I expect to see two visibly tired teams and a lower-than-expected score. The Chargers’ pass rush is for real, but I think the Chiefs will be able to beat it with the short passing game and running backs out of backfield — just as we initially saw against Arizona. Even though the game will be relatively sloppy on both sides, the Chiefs will benefit from a lack of film on their new weapons — and outlast the Chargers.
Chiefs 26, Chargers 20
Nick Schwerdt (@nick_schwerdt)
This is going to be fun. There still exists a feeling that “the Chargers are the Chargers,” and they will always put themselves in the way of reaching their full potential (see Week 18 of last season). Still, this time around, Justin Herbert makes things feel a bit different. Say what you will about the franchise; this kid is the real deal. In the AFC West, he’s the closest that Patrick Mahomes has had as a contemporary — and I think this is the year that he proves his worth. That said, Herbert and the Chargers are coming to Arrowhead on short rest to face the Chiefs in their home opener on primetime television. I don’t think Los Angeles will make life as easy for Kansas City as the Arizona Cardinals did in Week 1, but ultimately I believe the Chiefs will rise to the challenge — simply because history suggests that’s what they do. This will be a tight one, but I’ll side with the history and experience — plus the rowdy Kansas City faithful.
Chiefs 37, Chargers 35
Stephen Serda (@StephenSerda)
Picking a short-turnaround game in Week 2 between two of what are likely to be the AFC’s top 3 teams? Yeah… this isn’t something I’d say I feel confident about. In different ways, both teams looked impressive in Week 1. The Chargers’ pass rush is going to be a big problem — and the Chief’s offensive line did give up a decent amount of pressure against a subpar Cardinals pass rush. The Los Angeles offense left some things on the table in a game they should have won by a lot more. Meanwhile, Patrick Mahomes absolutely decimated the Arizona defense. Mahomes and Herbert should put on a show. And while the Chargers’ pass rush is worrisome, I ultimately think Mahomes finds a way to get it done on the big stage — just like he did in last season’s mid-December matchup.
Chiefs 35, Chargers 28
Matt Stagner (@stagdsp)
The short week puts both teams in a tough spot heading into a massive divisional showdown. So here’s the question: which team will respond better? Will it be the perennial preseason-champion Chargers or the new-look Chiefs? Both teams have injury concerns—Los Angeles may be without both Keenan Allen and J.C. Jackson, while Kansas City will be missing Trent McDuffie and Harrison Butker. Justin Herbert will make his plays, fitting in throws that have no business being completed — but Mahomes will make plenty of his own. The Chiefs have a ton of confidence after the Arizona win, where just about everything clicked on both sides of the ball. On Thursday night, things won’t be so easy — so it’s another chance to reveal the next part of the story: to see what this team is really made of. I think they rise to the occasion and move to 2-0. Mahomes, Kelce and Clyde Edwards-Helaire all have big days — and Skyy Moore bursts onto the scene.
Chiefs 42, Chargers 35
Bryan Stewart (@BryanStewart_)
We are in for another instant classic between the Chargers and Chiefs on Thursday Night Football — this time in Kansas City. Both teams are dealing with some fairly significant injuries. Two of the best quarterbacks in the game will be in a battle that most likely will be determined by which of them plays best. I think Kansas City is catching Los Angeles at just the right place and time. Since they lack a true home-field advantage, the Chargers are usually a better team on the road than they are at home — but unfortunately for them, they have to travel to Kansas City on very short rest and face the Chiefs in their home opener. The crowd will be full of contagious energy. It also helps that the Chiefs play the Chargers in just their second game with the new-look offense. It will prove to be not enough tape (or time) for Los Angeles to overcome.
Chiefs 31, Chargers 27
Pete Sweeney (@pgsween)
This might not be the most popular opinion — especially in Kansas City (and Buffalo and Tampa and Cincinnati) — but my belief is that Thursday night’s game between the Chiefs and Chargers features the top two quarterbacks in the NFL going at each other for the early division lead. Both teams enter the game a bit banged up, with Kansas City missing rookie first-round cornerback Trent McDuffie and kicker Harrison Butker — while Los Angeles is without wide receiver Keenan Allen. The recent tilts between these two clubs have been close, and what could tip the scale is the performance of their replacements: Jaylen Watson and Matt Ammendola (for the Chiefs) and Joshua Palmer (for the Chargers). The Chiefs’ offensive line will be up for a challenge in preventing the likes of Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack from ruining the game, but I don’t think even those talented pass-rushers can stop the new-look Chiefs offense we saw last week. I like an early offensive slugfest that sees the Chiefs pull away in the second half.
Chiefs 36, Chargers 24
Which team wins Chargers (1-0) at Chiefs (1-0)?
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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.
For the Cardinals game, Kramer Sansone’s call for a 40-20 Kansas City victory was the closest to the game’s result, carrying just eight points of error. Pete Sweeney’s 37-14 prediction was second with 14 points of error.