The reality is that Falcons vs. Chargers could go in any number of ways, from blowouts to narrow losses and everything between. Both of these teams participate in plenty of weird games, of course, and the Falcons are also super banged up and down Julio Jones, James Carpenter, Kaleb McGary and Ricardo Allen. No outcome would truly surprise us.
That’s why our predictions run the gamut a bit this week, as you’ll see below. What are your expectations for the game ahead?
Falcons 13 - Chargers 17
I’m already having nightmares of Joey Bosa winning the seasonal sack total by single-handedly wracking up 10 sacks of Matt Ryan in this game. With Julio Jones out, Dirk Koetter will call a bunch of bubble screens and hitch routes. I think the defense will do its job once again but it won’t be enough to overcome the sheer incompetence of a man coaching in his last 4 games in Atlanta. Let’s hope Ryan is able to survive it. - David Walker
Falcons 15 - Chargers 17
We are in the middle of a particularly bad stretch of Bad Dirk™ and the Falcons are now missing Julio Jones. We know what this will look like: lazy routes that don’t create separation; no tempo; long-developing plays that kill the offensive line; Ryan getting smashed. Add that to a trip across the United States and I am not confident the bumbling Falcons can beat the even-more-bumbling Chargers. I will call it a moral win if Dirk can manage to not have a brain hemorrhage in the red zone and score a touchdown. - Matt Chambers
Falcons 30 - Chargers 28
I know better on like 15 different levels. The Falcons without Julio Jones have proven to be an anemic offense and the Chargers have been struggling mightily. Because that’s exactly what shouldn’t happen, though, I can see a high-scoring game, one that both defenses key with big stops and turnovers, and one where the margin proves to Atlanta’s superior special teams led by the leg of a revenge-minded Younghoe Koo. Stranger things have happened? - - Dave Choate
Falcons 20 - Chargers 37
This has the ingredients of being an ugly matchup from the opening kickoff. The Falcons are making a cross country trip, on the heels of a one-score defeat at the hands of their bitter rival, without their best player and two key members of their offensive line. Not to mention, the offense has hit a wall where consistency and rhythm is non-existent this late in the season. Doesn’t matter that they’re playing a young Chargers team that has struggled with closing out games and has trip themselves up numerous times this season. - Eric Robinson