Bolt Beat: Week 1 staff picks vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Dec 13, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs nose tackle Jaye Howard (96) sacks San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) in the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City won the game 10-3. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 13, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs nose tackle Jaye Howard (96) sacks San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) in the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City won the game 10-3. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports /

We’re just about there! Week 1 in the NFL is here and the schedule has three games in which divisional opponents will open the season against one another. The San Diego Chargers are one of those teams, as they will take on their bitter rivals the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chiefs have won four games in a row against the Chargers and the two teams are coming off polar opposite seasons. While San Diego stumbled to a 4-12 finish in the AFC West, the Chiefs advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs and hung tough against the New England Patriots.

That said, the Chargers have an improved roster and more important, a 100 percent healthy roster. They didn’t have that in either meeting with Kansas City last year, so how does that change things for this Week 1 matchup?

Let’s see what the writers of Bolt Beat think.

Ernie Padaon

“Chargers. It is going to seem like a homer pick, but this team is way better than anyone gives them credit for! It is going to be tough to win in Kansas City, but I feel that the Chargers offense will do what it needs to get this win. Thank you Ken Whisenhunt for getting Melvin Gordon started. Chargers 24 – Chiefs 13.”

John Burress

“Picking between the Chiefs and Chargers, tough call. If I was betting huge amounts of money (above $2.00) I might go with the Chiefs but since I’m a homer, I’ll go with the Bolts and here’s why: 1. KC’s a little banged up, Charles probably won’t play and Houston’s out, Chargers are relatively healthy, not counting Bosa and early camp injuries (all teams have these). 2. If the Bolt’s “D” can keep Smith in the pocket, the improved D backs for SD will make their short passing game difficult to execute. 3. They play the Chiefs with a healthy and improved O-line. Gordon might just show he’s the real deal with the Wiz calling the plays. That’s it, Bolts by 4.”

Conor Denton

“San Diego wins 24-13. The defense shows out with Bosa on the sideline. MGIII has himself his first touchdown and 100 yard rushing game of the season. Rivers throws for two TDs and 300 yards. Drew Kaser consistently pins KC deep in their own territory and is named player of the game. #PuntersArePeopleToo”.

Sean Begler

Both teams have a solid secondary, so I find large clumps of passing yards to be highly unlikely. This game will be all about the run. With that said, the Chiefs have the upper hand. Jamaal Charles may be out but Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West still make up an impressive running back group. Even though Melvin Gordon has shown drastic improvement this offseason and Danny Woodhead is always reliable, I have to go with the proven running team. Chiefs take game 1.

Nick Dilorenzo

“Chargers 24 Cheifs 16. With the Cheifs banged up, San Diego wins a big game on the road to open the 2016 season. The Chargers lost both matchups against the Cheifs in 2015, but with a motivated, healthy roster, they make a statement with a big win in Arrowhead.”

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.”

Bill Burgin

“The keys to success for the Chargers in Kansas City is stopping the run. After reports that Joey Bosa may be held out of the contest, it is up to the short-staffed defensive line to pick up the slack. The Chargers need to force Alex Smith to beat them through the air, and if they do, the Chargers win 27-20. I think Melvin Gordon has his first 100-yard game, helping build his confidence going into the season.”

Dean Fioresi

“Bold prediction here: Chargers will win this one but by a close margin. An underrated passing game will surprise the Kansas City defense at the hands of the healthy Keenan Allen and Travis Benjamin. Melvin Gordon will also finally rush for his first NFL touchdown, which will be a huge turning point in the game. The SD defense will stifle Jamaal Charles forcing them to rely on their iffy passing game, resulting in a Chargers victory!”

Matthew Pagels

“The Chargers have lost four straight against the Chiefs. While I like what the Bolts did in the offseason and how the starters played in the preseason, the Chiefs D (even without Justin Houston) might be a little too much for the Bolts to handle, especially in a tough KC atmosphere. Plus, with a team that still looks inconsistent at stopping the run (and no Joey Bosa to help out), Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West could have a field day. A division game can always go either way, but the Chiefs win by a field goal in this one.”

Travis Wakeman

“I know all our readers want us to pick the Chargers, but if I’m going to predict a game, I’ll go off what I think will happen over what I want to happen every time. Simply put, Kansas City is the better team and frankly, I don’t think it’s all that close. Would I like to see the Chargers prove me wrong? Absolutely. I do think offseason additions like Ken Whisenhunt and Brandon Mebane helped close the gap between the Chargers and the Chiefs, but you’re not going to convince me they can win in Arrowhead right now. If the game were in San Diego, I might take the bait and call for the upset. Not here. I see the Chargers keeping it close for much of the way, willing to fight until the end. I think the team comes out of the loss with plenty of reason for optimism (an improved offensive line and a defense that can make plays). However, the Chiefs start the year 1-0 and San Diego starts the year 0-1. Chiefs 20-14.”

What do you think? Give us your prediction in the comments section below.