Happy New Year, Bolts From The Blue!
The Chargers’ 2023 season comes to a close in Week 18 when they host a Kansas City Chiefs team that has already wrapped up their eighth AFC West division title in a row. DraftKings Sportsbook have opened their books with the Bolts as narrow favorites against a Chiefs team that will likely be resting all of their starters as they can’t improve their playoff seeding as they are locked into the number three spot heading into the postseason.
The Bolts lost their fourth game in a row when they fell to the Denver Broncos in Week 17 to sink to 5-11. Giff Smith’s tenure as interim head coach remains winless since he took over from Brandon Staley less than three weeks ago. This latest loss rang in the New Year with Kellen Moore’s offense, led by Easton Stick, failing to score a touchdown as they were held to three Cameron Dicker field goals. A slew of late season receiver injuries to Joshua Palmer and Keenan Allen restricted the passing attack to relying on Quinten Johnston and Alex Erickson meaning the Broncos could send pressure without fear. Derrick Ansley’s defense fared slightly better holding Sean Payton’s team to 313 total yards however some poor tackling allowed Lil’jordan Humphrey to score the game’s only touchdown on a 54 yard catch and run play across the middle.
Andy Reid’s Chiefs have had the type of season that will be completely alien to any Chiefs fan that joined the bandwagon since 2017. Not even the elite play of Patrick Mahomes has been enough to overcome the Chiefs’ faults as they have managed to win just 10 games which will be their lowest total since Mahomes’ debut regardless of the outcome. Their offense has looked human for the first time in years with their receiving options being very disappointing to say the least. Steve Spagnuolo’s defense has actually been the unit that has kept them in games all season long including their Week 17 lucky escape against the Cincinnati Bengals.
This game will ultimately be meaningless to either teams’ 2023 season however for the players that do play, whether they are normally starters or backups, games like this still matter a great deal. We have all seen momentum carry over from games like this and a win for the Bolts, whilst damaging their draft position, could give hope for the 2024 season.
Can the Bolts end the season on a high or will they go out with a whimper allowing their division record to read a wretched 1-5?