Analysis

Week 17: Chiefs vs Chargers predictions

The final week of the regular season is upon us, so here are your predictions for this Week 17’s rivalry matchup against the Los Angles Chargers:

After last Sunday’s 17-14 win against the Atlanta Falcons, the Chiefs have officially secured the #1 seed in the AFC playoff race and will receive a first-round bye along with it. They will now finish out the regular season at home against the Los Angeles Chargers. While this game means absolutely nothing for the Chiefs, the Chargers at least want to finish the season at 7-9 and rebuild during the 2021 offseason.

Since this game means nothing for the Chiefs, it has been confirmed that Patrick Mahomes will sit out this week. Chad Henne, the true QB that Chiefs’ fans have always dreamed for, will be starting in his face (that was sarcasm by the way). It will be his first start since 2014. Others’ll probably sit out as well to not risk injury, but with that said, let’s predict what will happen in the Chiefs’ last regular-season game of the 2020-21 NFL season!

Chad Henne will throw for over 225 yards

As stated beforehand, this will be Henne’s first start in six years. so I don’t expect much from the 11-year veteran; however, he’ll surely throw for more than 225 yards. While the Chargers pass defense is ranked 9th in the league, they still allow 224 passing yards per game and 262.7 yards in the last three. Reid will be able to put schemes, routes, and plays together to reign the skies in this game; they were able to do it with Matt Moore last year, they will be able to do it with Henne as well.

Henne will also have a motherload of help to surpass 225 yards as well. Some definite starters that we will see on the field include Hardman, one of the fastest players in the league, Demarcus Robinson, a solid depth piece for the Chiefs receiving core, and Byron Pringle, a young wideout who has made his fair share of plays for the Chiefs. Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill have been ruled out for Sunday’s matchup, so it’ll be interesting to see what Henne can do without the Chiefs’ main receivers.

Kelce could help bolster Henne’s stats as well, but his status of playing is 50/50 in my eyes. The Chiefs will probably keep him out to make sure he isn’t injured for their upcoming playoff bout, but they may play him so he has a chance to become the first tight end since 1965 (Dave Parks) to lead the league in receiving yards this year.

Chargers defensive back Casey Heyward and safety Rayshawn Jenkins have been ruled out for this game, which will wound the Chargers’ pass defense significantly. This gives Henne more of an opportunity to shine in his first start in six years.

Darrell Williams totals over 65 rushing yards

To no one’s surprise, Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been ruled out for Sunday’s game and Le’Veon Bell has been ruled as questionable as well. Bell will probably sit the game to rest up, so Darrell Williams will be front-and-center in the backfield with Darwin Thompson backing him up. Williams may be able to feast this week against a battered Chargers rush defense.

Their rush defense is among the bottom half of the league, ranked 21st as they allow 124.4 rushing yards per game. Also, Joey Bosa, the Chargers lead player on the defensive line, has been ruled out due to a concussion and linebacker Malik Jefferson is out as well. This indeed will put a strain on the Chargers defense, and it will show; Bosa is one of the best in the league at plugging up rushing lanes. With Williams probably receiving the start, we could see a great game out of him.

The Chiefs’ will hold Herbert to under 250 yards passing

It looks as though a majority of the Chiefs’ starting on Sunday (aside from possibly Jones, Clark, and Mathieu), but even if they’re all sitting out, they could still hold Herbert to under 250 yards passing. Aside from allowing only 233 passing yards per game, there is one player in particular that could hold Herbert to this; that player is L’Jarius Sneed.

I’ve been high on Sneed ever since Week 1 versus the Texans, and he has shown himself to be an absolute tank on the field. In only nine games this season, he has 41 combined tackles, two sacks, seven passes deflected, and three interceptions (T-14th in the league, T-2nd among rookies). In his last appearance against the Chargers, he had seven tackles, a pass deflection, and an interception (Herbert’s first career INT). He has improved upon his game (which I discussed here) after the broken collarbone he suffered in Week 3 and is a force to be reckoned with in the secondary. He will have a lot of say-so on whether or not the passing attack will be effective for the Chargers’ offense.

Besides Sneed, Keenan Allen won’t be playing this week as well because he contracted COVID-19 (get well soon). Allen is the leading receiver for the Chargers this season with 992 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. This will negatively affect the offense’s performance as he has a key part in keeping the game close against the Chiefs last time (he had seven catches for 96 yards). None of the receivers on that roster can amount to Allen’s skillset, so Herbert may have a tougher time than last time he played them.

With those three predictions out of the way, here’s my short and sweet score prediction:

Score Prediction: Chiefs – 24 ; Chargers – 23

This game is clearly a toss-up and it will come down to whoever could construct their final drive better than the other side, but I believe Henne will lead the Chiefs to promise land of 15-1. What are your predictions for Sunday’s game? Leave a comment down below with yours. Thanks for reading, and have a pleasant day.

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