Bolt Beat Week 11 Staff Picks: Can Chargers take out visiting Bills?

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 23: A helmet is shown before a game between the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on November 23, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 23: A helmet is shown before a game between the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on November 23, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Chargers return to StubHub Center for a crucial matchup with the Buffalo Bills.

If the Chargers (3-6) are to have any chance at continuing their postseason dreams, a win over the Bills (5-4) on Sunday is paramount. The same can be said for the Bills, a team searching for its first postseason berth since the 1998 season.

That means this game will be highly competitive. The Bills are starting rookie Nathan Peterman for the first time this season. The Chargers’ defense should be salivating over the fact they get to face him after the Bills make a cross-country trip to L.A.

After a disappointing loss last week on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the margin for error will be slim. The Bills are tied for second in the NFL with 18 takeaways on the season. They’re also No.1 in turnover margin with a +11.

Philip Rivers self reported concussion symptoms earlier in the week and his status for this game was up in the air, as was his consecutive starts streak. However, Rivers has been given the green light and will play in this game.

With all of that in mind, let’s hear what the staff here at Bolt Beat thinks in regards to how this one will go down.

Alexander Insdorf (5-4): “The Chargers find themselves in what is a must-win situation here vs. Wild Card contender Buffalo. They lost a game in inexcusable fashion vs. The Jags last week to put themselves in this position. The Buffalo offense and defense are huge question marks. Starting with the offense, there’s new rookie starter Nathan Peterman coming in for now benched Tyrod Taylor. This makes the rest of the offense completely unpredictable in terms of projecting how they’ll do, with so much dependent on the QB. The defense has also traded pieces like Ronald Darby, Stephon Gilmore and Marcell Dareus. They also are dealing with some key injuries. Based on how unpredictable both units are and with the defense riddled with injuries, I’ll give this game to the Chargers. If Tyrod Taylor was starting, I may think differently. LAC 24-BUF 16.”

Scott Iger (3-6): “In this week’s matchup with the Bills, the Chargers are essentially in a must-win situation. If they win this week, they put themselves one spot out of a playoff position, but if they lose their chances are essentially zero. While last week was very disappointing, I am still optimistic about the Chargers’ chances considering they have been in every game so far. I think the Bolts pull out a crucial win against a rookie quarterback, 21-10.”

Anthony Totri (5-4): “With the quarterback change, I’ve got all I need to pick the Chargers. The rookie gunslinger for the Bills doesn’t impress me enough to rattle this elite Bolts’ defense. Chargers 34 – Bills 17.”

Tanner Wrape (0-2): “This is how I envision this game going..The Chargers will play good enough to win. They will make mistakes here and there throughout the game but their defense will keep them in it. Then, almost like clockwork, something catastrophic is going to happen. A blocked kick, a safety on a punt return, an interception into triple coverage, a fumble with less than 2 minutes to go. It is going to happen. This team has proven time and time again that they cannot close out games. Sunday will be no different. Bills take this one because that’s football. 24-21.”

More from Bolt Beat

Sean Kirk (1-1): “The Chargers will return home after a stretch of several away games. The Bills head in all the way from the east coast with a rookie QB making his debut. The Saints scored 40+ points last week against the Buffalo defense and I see the Chargers offense rebounding against an inconsistent defense. Peterman is going to struggle against Bosa and Ingram especially with their starting LT out. Chargers win 24-16.”

Kade Dohmen (2-7): “Chargers defense is playing great lately and the Bills are giving rookie Nathan Peterman his first career start. Defense wins this game. Chargers win 24-14.”

Matt Pagels (5-4): “I was spot on last week, which I’m not proud of. Now, the Chargers face another team who currently holds a Wild Card spot in the Buffalo Bills. The Bills replaced their starting QB with a rookie QB at an odd time. Philip Rivers is playing after clearing concussion protocol, and the Bolts’ defense should once again put on a show. But this time, the Chargers come away with the victory in what I believe won’t be a close game.”

Travis Wakeman (6-3): “I’m not sure why Buffalo made the switch at quarterback when they did. Though the Bolts don’t have much of a home-field advantage at StubHub, it’s not an ideal situation for a rookie quarterback. It’s a good thing Rivers is going to play, however, because there’s no way I’d pick the Chargers with Kellen Clemens playing QB. I think the Chargers get an impressive win here as the team will be clicking on both sides of the ball. Chargers 24, Bills 13.”

And as always, please let us know your predictions in the comment section.