There were a few of us who picked the Kansas City Chiefs to defeat the San Diego Chargers last Sunday, but I don’t think any of us would have predicted that the Chargers would jump out to a 21-3 lead in Arrowhead.
Hopefully, we can draw enough positives from that first half to believe that the Chargers can be an improved team this year. This week, they entertain in their home opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars are a team that many analysts feel are ready to take the next step toward becoming a contender, and a road win over the Chargers would be a great place to start.
So, what do the writers of Bolt Beat think about this game? Most importantly, who is going to win? Here’s what some of them had to say. The win-loss record for each writer is in parenthesis, based on their picks this season.
Sean Begler (1-0): “This game will be a battle between 2 proven offenses. Last Sunday the Chiefs found the soft spot of the Chargers defense, picking up passing yards against slow linebackers. The Jaguars will be eyeing that soft spot ferociously. The Chargers need to find a way to seal up that massive hole. Hopefully a solid rotation of Jatavis Brown and Dexter McCoil is established to help with that very problem. The Chargers offense on the other hand will rely on Whisenhunt’s creativity. Without Keenan Allen in the mix, the offense has to change its game plan, especially when faced with 3rd down situations. Chargers should implement more 12 personnel formations. Look for Hunter Henry and Tyrell Williams to be more involved in the passing game. With all that said, I have to give the edge to the Jaguars. Jacksonville beats San Diego 27-20.”
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Conor Denton (0-1): “I don’t know if there is such a thing as a “must win” game going into week 2, but it sure does feel like it. Rivers owns the Jags, expect him to have a solid outing. Melvin Gordon will build off his first week and find the end zone again. Blake “Garbage Time God” Bortles will turn it over early as San Diego builds another first half lead. The difference maker this time, McCoy keeps feeding Gordon and the Chargers escape with a 31-24 win in their home opener.”
Louis Gorini (1-0): “The Chargers have won the last 5 meetings against the Jaguars and I don’t see why that streak will end come Sunday. Rivers and company beat Jacksonville last year without Keenan Allen and they will do so again. Look for the Chargers to implement more 12 personnel (2 tight end sets) and try and grind it out on the ground with Gordon. Chargers 24 Jaguars 20.”
John Burress (0-1): “Actually, kind of a tough game to predict, seems like the Jaguars have improved a bit since last year. Also, with Bosa apparently out and Allen on IR, I’m not sure where the Bolts stand. Are they angry or disappointed over the KC loss? Their mind set will have lots to do with how they play. Will Ramsey play lights out as the Chargers passed on him? Anyway, Chargers by 7, still a little better talent wise and Rivers will make the difference.”
Derek Anselmo (0-0): “The lack of protection and run game for The Jaguars will make them one- dimensional. Chargers CBs will capitalize on a Bortles mistake or two. Chargers – 31 Jaguars 21.”
Matt Pagels (1-0): “The Jaguars fell just short of beating a tough Packers team in Week 1. They are stacked on offense with QB Blake Bortles and WR Allen Robinson leading the way, and their defense is vastly improved. After a devastating loss to the Chiefs, the Chargers head home for the first time. Both teams have young talent, but veteran QB Philip Rivers leads his team to a victory (with Mike McCoy finally learning to be aggressive).”
Travis Wakeman (1-0): “I’ll be quite frank here. I’m going to pick the Chargers, but only because of the fact they’re at home and I see a young Jaguars team that hasn’t learned to win games like this…. yet. However, for that to happen, several things need to be different than they were last week. Melvin Gordon needs to be fed the rock a minimum of 20 times. Mike McCoy needs to be much more aggressive in his decision making. The defense needs to create big plays at crucial times. If not, the Jags are more than capable of winning this game. Chargers 20, Jaguars 19.”