The Los Angeles Chargers head to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars for their first playoff game since 2018. Brandon Staley’s Chargers have been playing really good football lately and this feels like a team, that despite the Week 18 loss to the Broncos, is carrying some momentum with them into the postseason.
The team is however going to be doing so without wide receiver Mike Williams, who suffered a fracture in his back during that Week 18 game. Vegas doesn’t seem to think that will matter all that much as the line on the DraftKings Sportsbook moved from -1 to -2.5 for the Chargers over the course of the week and did not move back at all after the news on Williams being downgraded to “out” was released. Which means Vegas actually got more confident about the Chargers victory, despite Williams likely (and now for sure) not playing.
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: I absolutely cannot wait for this game. It’s packed to the brim with interesting storylines, budding young talent, and two quarterbacks who will be talked about for a long, long time after this game ends. This game looks like it could very well become a shootout given the right circumstances, but I predict a little more defense than that. To me, this will come down to which quarterback makes the fewest mistakes. One single interception at the worst time could easily swing this game heavily in one direction, and whichever team ends up snagging that turnover will have to capitalize immediately to keep the pressure on the other side.
The single worst piece of news, however? Mike Williams is officially OUT for this game and will miss any other games should the Chargers win due to a fracture in his back that was literally just found on Friday morning. You can’t make this up. If the Bolts want to make a run in playoffs, they’ll have to do it without Williams.
Final Score: Chargers 27-24
Matthew Stanley: The Chargers are going to have to make a lot of things go right to win this game, but I think this is a team that has learned how to do that over the course of the season. This isn’t the same team the Jaguars stomped 38-10 in Week 3. They’ll be without Mike Williams, however I think they still pull it off. This defense has been playing insane football the last quarter of the season and I expect that continues.
Final Score: Chargers 27-21
Garrett Sisti: The Chargers struggled to stop the run but are good in the passing game and the Jags are the opposite. Both teams have the offense to put up points and both have the ability on defense to make it tough for the other team. They matchup pretty even across the board, it’s gonna come down to who’s got the best gameplan and who’s gonna adjust the best. Doug Peterson coached circles around Staley in Week 3 but I think Staley has improved during this season. I think the Chargers take this one on the road, the Jags defense will pose an issue but I think Herbert has the pocket awareness to really negate a lot of the things the Jags try to do upfront. Look for a huge game from Joey Bosa.
Final Score: Chargers 24-20