It’s Week 17 of the NFL season, the Chargers have already clinched the playoffs, and life is good.
Today’s game marks the first time since the 2018 season that the Rams and Chargers have met in the regular season. The Rams got the better of the Bolts back then 35-23, but it definitely didn’t hamper the Chargers en route to finishing the year 11-2 and beating the Ravens in the wild card round.
Since Baker Mayfield was signed by the Rams, they’ve scored 17, 12, and 51 points in the three games he’s played in. Now history probably dictates that they won’t score anywhere near 51 points today, but that total put up against the Broncos still shows that the offense can make some things happen if you don’t take them seriously.
Will that sway the minds of any of our writers in this week’s prediction? Let’s go ahead and see how they’re all feeling heading into this New Year’s Day matchup.
Michael Peterson: The Rams have been one of the worst offenses in the NFL this year, mainly due to a slew of injuries to impact players such as Cooper Kupp, Matthew Stafford, and Allen Robinson. However, the unit likely feels a bit revitalized after dropping 51 points on the Broncos this past weekend. If that tells us anything, it means the Chargers defense has to come correct for another week if they don’t wish to be on the wrong end of a similar outcome. Is it likely? No, probably not. History tells us the Rams are much more likely to score less than 20 points with Baker Mayfield (17 vs. Raiders, 12 vs. Packers) than more. So if Justin Herbert can get back to throwing touchdowns, I have a good feeling about this one.
Final Score: Chargers 24-20
Matthew Stanley: Chargers are winning the battle for LA this season. As we know, most casual fans, like the type both the Rams and Chargers are fighting for in LA have short term memories, and the Chargers are actually winning this season. They’ll cap that off with a win today over their roommates the Rams. Baker Mayfield is always an interesting quarterback to face off against but the Rams are just so bad this year, and the Chargers are getting healthy and playing with some renewed vigor, I think the Chargers win this game soundly. I also think, even in limited snaps, Joey Bosa gets a sack in his first game back.
Final Score: Chargers 27-17
Garrett Sisti: Off the top, the Chargers will win this one. This is the week the Chargers offense needs to get back on track: they’ve struggled to score touchdowns, have been having issues punching it in in the red zone and for ten consecutive weeks haven’t scored a third quarter touchdown. The Chargers need to win these next two weeks for their playoff seeding but also need to use it as a tune-up heading into the playoffs and that should be the goal for the offense to get them rolling. The Rams offense revolves around Cam Akers now with all the injuries, who ran for 118 and three TDs last week. It’ll be another week of having to stop the run first with Akers and the Chargers defense can do the rest. The Chargers may have clinched a playoff spot but they still have work to do and the take care of business in LA.
Final Score: Chargers 24-13