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Chargers at Chiefs: Week 1 Staff Predictions

The BFTB Staff gives its predictions for Sunday’s game.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Woolley: The Chargers will force the closest game against the Chiefs since 2013. I say 14-13, Chiefs emerging victorious. I'd put my money on Gates having the touchdown. Even with the Charger's improved offense and much-improved defense, the Chiefs are still too good, even without Justin Houston and with Tamba Hali slowly returning from injury.

Ryan Doyle: A 21-17 Chiefs win. The Chargers play a good game but the weak San Diego run defense allows the chiefs to control the Time of possession. Rivers usually has a hard time against the Chiefs defense and I think that continues. I'm feeling a bit risky and I'm going to predict that Melvin Gordon rushes for his first NFL touchdown on Sunday.

Cody Young: Chiefs 27-Chargers 24. It will be a close game but one the Chargers lose. After San Diego ties it up late in the 4th quarter the Chiefs are able to effectively run the ball into Chargers territory where Cairo Santos kicks a last second field goal to give the Chiefs the win.

I think the corners have a solid outing overall but the linebackers and safeties struggle to cover receivers and tight ends over the middle. The run defense is improved but the Chiefs are still able to run at will. Rivers has himself a game and Keenan Allen and Antonio Gates find themselves in the end zone.

Louis Gorini: San Diego hasn't defeated Kansas City at Arrowhead in over 2 years. I don't see that streak changing this Sunday. The Chargers have improved but it won't be enough to overthrow a Kansas City team even when they are without Houston and Charles. The good news is San Diego will end their drought of not scoring a touchdown against Kansas City in over a year. San Diego 17 Kansas City 27

Jeff Siniard: Chiefs 24, Chargers 19. To be clear, I think this is a game the Chargers can win. The Chiefs are banged up, and more often than not, games between the Chargers and Chiefs at Arrowhead are close affairs where one big mistake / poor decision swings the game. I think Ken Whisenhunt gets the offense moving against the Chiefs defense, but I think Mike McCoy will settle for 1 or 2 FG too many. I also doubt John Pagano will force Andy Reid and Alex Smith to beat him by throwing vertically. I think the Chiefs will control the ball with their running game and Reid's plethora of tricks to get his receivers open on short routes for YAC, and edge out a win.

Nathan Graber-Lipperman: I'm going all the way back to 2013 to predict a similar game to Week 12, a game where both Houston and Hali didn't contribute much due to injuries early in the game. A 34-31 Chargers win with a late 2-minute drill ending with a Rivers TD pass to none other than Danny Woodhead. I know, it sounds crazy for a shootout against the Chiefs, but to me, this just feels like a game the Chargers shouldn't win, but will.

John Gennaro: Chiefs 20, Chargers 13. Unless I missed something, the red zone offense is still an issue for San Diego and the head coach doesn't mind kicking an FG on 4th and short near the end zone. I think that comes back to bite them in this one.

Tim Scott: Chargers 27, Chiefs 24. ... chargers struggle to stop the run but do just enough on defense. Rivers is able to get the ball out quickly and Lambo kicks a late FG

Ruben J. Gonzalez: The Chargers will win 27-16 against the Chiefs this Sunday. In somewhat surprising fashion, San Diego controls the pace and tempo from start to finish and keeps the raucous K.C crowd to audible levels. Its Rivers to Keenan at will and Melvin Gordon running upright and fast. Defensively Denzel and Manti make enough effort plays and the new 'bend but don't break' defense limits the Chiefs offense under 20 pts. Something we Chargers fans better get used to.

Jamie Hoyle: The Chargers come out running the ball, attacking the edges with Hali and Houston out, and have some success moving the ball against a depleted Chiefs defense early on. The two teams slug it out for three-plus quarters before Milquetoast opts for a long field goal, which Lambo misses, instead of going for the jugular on 4th and inches. As a result, he gives the Chiefs a short field only to see Alex Smith dink and dunk his way to a GW score. Chiefs 20, Chargers 16

Garrett Sisti: it'll only take Week 1 for this team to cause me to start drinking at 10am. Spencer Ware carves up the Chargers run D, Gates & Henry both have good games & 85 gets a TD. Lambo will hit 3 FGs but it won't be enough. Chiefs win 24-16.

John Crean: Chiefs 31, Chargers 16. Chiefs are just a much more balanced team, even with the injuries. Chiefs are able to run successfully against a Chargers front 7 that has shown no signs of improvement, and that opens up the Chiefs offense to let Alex Smith dink-and-dunk his way up and down the field, keeping control of the ball and the game. The Chargers will have some success moving the ball but will continue to struggle punching it into the endzone.

Daniel Farias: Chiefs 24 Chargers 21. The Chargers defense will bend not break giving Phillip Rivers and company a chance to take the lead late in the fourth but the Chargers come up just short. Kansas City gets the edge with coaching.

Matthew Stanley: Chargers 24, Chiefs 23. I do not know how to gauge this team yet. The last few years the Chargers have lost most of their games by 7 points or less and I think the games will continue to be close this year. The weapons this offense has to work with could be fun, but it depends on how the offensive line shows up, and they will get a good test vs KC's front 7 even with Houston out and Hali limited. I think Gordon gets his first regular season TD. As you can tell from my score prediction, a Chargers L wouldn't surprise me either. I just don't have a good gauge on the team yet based on the preseason.

Roger Hinojosa: 21-17 Chiefs. I'm being optimistic with the score but I believe in Rivers and the matchups they have against the Chiefs secondary. The lack of strong pass rush will only put more pressure on the secondary. Sure peters is a standout corner and a playmaker. He's high-risk high-reward. He'll take a chance at baiting or breaking on a ball for a pick but he's been toasted in the past. Andy Reid's still going to the ground and is going to gash our run D. If the Chargers can establish a run game, control the clock, and expose mismatches they stand a chance. Kansas City still wins this one 21-17.

Jamie Sewell: Chiefs 20-24 Chargers. The Chiefs are banged up right now, and that's huge for the Chargers. Spencer Ware is a good back, but he's not on the level of Jamaal Charles, and no Justin Houston at all and a limited Tamba Hali is great news for the Chargers, who might finally be able to give Rivers a pocket to throw from. The Chiefs secondary is a real concern for them, and Keenan Allen is going to absolutely tear that weakness apart. I don't expect the Chargers running game to do all that well, but Rivers will win us this one. Side note: Brandon Mebane will showcase why he was such an important signing for the Chargers.

SDNativeinTX: The Chiefs have a way of bringing out the worst in the Chargers during the PR era. Arrowhead especially has been a House of Horrors for the Chargers in the last few seasons. Yes, the Bolts catch a break with the Chiefs not having some vital players on either side of the ball. It won't matter that much in the end. Reid will have his team prepared and confident. KC 24-13 SD

Richard Wade: On paper, the Chiefs are a far superior team to the Chargers. And until I actually get to see these teams play meaningful football, that’s all I have to go on. Chiefs 31 – 10 Chargers