You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone (fan or pundit) who thought the first “Thursday Night Football” game of the season on Amazon would be for sole possession of first place in the AFC West.
But here we are, thanks to the Chiefs’ rout of the Cardinals, the Broncos’ loss at Seattle and the Chargers’ win over the Raiders.
The Chiefs, 1-0, face the Chargers, 1-0, and the winner will control their destiny for taking the division. OK, that’s a little much since there will be 15 games remaining for each team after Thursday’s contest.
But for LA, a victory in Kansas City would give it two straight division wins to start the season. That’d be a nice feather in the Chargers’ cap.
Who will win Thursday? Here is what 41 national experts are saying about the game, which kicks off at 7:15 pm and will be broadcast on KSHB (Ch. 41) and Amazon.
A 32-27 Chiefs win is the prediction from Bill Bender of the Sporting News. Here is a snippet from his story: “The road team has won the last four meetings. … Six different Kansas City players scored TDs in Week 1. The Chargers need to get a running game going behind Justin Herbert, who might be without Keenan Allen (hamstring). The home team breaks through here.”
The Pro Football Network’s BJ Ruddell sees the Chiefs winning and covering the spread. This is part of what he wrote: “Kansas City looked locked in on the road against Arizona, while LA racked up only 48 yards in their final five offensive drives versus the Raiders. The Chargers need a nearly flawless performance to push past KC on the road. I’m not seeing it.”
A 27-24 Chiefs win is the forecast from FanSided’s Matt Verderame. He wrote in part: “The Chiefs and Chargers will battle for the AFC West every year. If Kansas City wins, it’s an early lead and a great win. If Los Angeles wins, the Chargers take their toughest road game of the year.”
Each of the 10 Athletic writers predicted a Chiefs win: Jay Morrison, Josh Kendall, Michael-Shawn Dugar, Tashan Reed, Ben Standig, Larry Holder, Mark Kaboly, Zack Berman, Austin Mock and Nick Kosminder. Adam Gretz wrote about the matchup. Here is a passage from his story: “NFL Week 2 starts with an absolute monster of an AFC West game on Thursday night with arguably the best quarterback matchup in the league. Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs host Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chiefs are favored by more than a field goal.”
Five of seven writers at CBS Sports see the Chiefs getting the win: Pete Prisco, Will Brinson, Jared Dubin, John Breech and Dave Richard. PIcking the Chargers: Ryan Wilson and Jamey Eisenberg. Prisco predicts a 31-30 Chiefs win. Here is part of what he wrote: “This is the game of the week with Justin Herbert against Patrick Mahomes. That is a treat anytime they meet, and Arrowhead will be rocking on Thursday night. The Chiefs rolled against the Cardinals with Mahomes lighting things up. But the Chargers can rush the passer with Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa.”
A 34-31 Chiefs win is the call from Yardbarker’s Chris Mueller. Here is an excerpt: “The Chiefs quelled fears of what life will be like post-Tyreek Hill, with Patrick Mahomes tossing five touchdowns to four different targets. He also wasn’t touched by Arizona’s defense, something that probably won’t hold true again in this game. What’s that I hear? The possibility of a Thursday night shootout? Sign me up.”
The Chiefs will win, says ProFootballTalk’s Michael David Smith and Mike Florio. Smith called at 28-17 final. He wrote: “The Chiefs were my preseason pick to win the Super Bowl, and nothing I saw in Week One changed my mind.” Florio sees a 31-20 score. He wrote in part: “While LA may not blitz quarterback Patrick Mahomes nearly as much as the Cardinals did (54 percent of drop backs), Mahomes and the Chiefs are ready to run the offense to perfection.”
Four of the five Audacy reporters predicted a Chiefs victory.
Three of five staff members at Sports Illustrated see the Chiefs winning: Albert Breer, Mitch Goldich and Gary Grammling, The picks for the Chargers: Conor Orr and John Pluym.
All eight of the pundits at ESPN see the Chiefs winning: Matt Bowen, Mike Clay, Jeremy Fowler, Domonique Foxworth, Dan Graziano, Jason Reid, Laura Rutledge and Seth Wickersham.