Who is going to come out victorious?
Here is a look at the predictions from each of our writers at Chargers Wire:
As the Chargers attempt to finally dethrone the Chiefs as divisional champs, every game is vital, and Week 1 provides a tough challenge against a Dolphins team that will look to make it back in the playoffs. Los Angeles downed Miami last year with a dominant defensive performance. The only thing that’s different this year is they have more reinforcements, as they return J.C. Jackson, Joey Bosa and Austin Johnson. The unit will challenge Tua Tagovailoa to make some difficult throws. And I expect the Bolts’ offense to be as electric as it’s been under Kellen Moore.
Chargers 24, Dolphins 17
Last year’s game finished 23-17 between these two teams, with the Chargers coming out on top behind their best defensive performance of the season. Both teams have shown improved offenses in the preseason, however. The Dolphins have the ever-dangerous duo of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, but Brandon Staley’s defense will force Tua Tagovailoa to make throws outside the numbers, where he’s historically struggled. Without Jalen Ramsey, Nik Needham, and Keion Crossen, Miami will have either rookie Cam Smith or second-year pro Kader Kohou matched up with Keenan Allen or Mike Williams.
Chargers 27, Dolphins 20
I’m predicting a decently high scoring game this Sunday, coming in with a 28-21 final score with the Chargers taking the win. The Chargers proved themselves against the Dolphins in the 2022 season while missing key starters on all sides of the ball, yet they managed to keep up with Miami’s flashy offense and shut down QB Tua Tagovailoa for an entire half. The Chargers are starting off the season with an incredibly healthy group, which bodes well against the Dolphins who are struggling with a few injuries. Edge rushers Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa should be able to apply pressure pretty easily with OL Terron Armstead out for the Dolphins, and Miami’s cornerback room will struggle against the four healthy, big wide receivers that the Chargers will be rotating throughout the game. This will also be the first time that the league gets to see QB Justin Herbert in Kellen Moore’s new offense, which is nearly guaranteed to be more explosive and exciting than the scheme we saw in 2022.
Ultimately, I think this ends up being a close one, much like last year’s game. What it comes down to for me is that Brandon Staley’s gameplan from that matchup feels replicable. The Chargers will be able to get consistent pressure on Tua Tagovailoa as Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa face this Miami line sans Terron Armstead. I’d also be surprised if Miami was able to establish a good running game in this one given the circumstances.
The Chargers have Michael Davis on the outside to keep Tyreek Hill (relatively) in check. In the secondary they have more optionality than they had in the matchup last year with J.C. Jackson’s return. As we sit here pregame, I’m just not sure what actually gets in the way of the Chargers using largely the same defensive plan as last year to stifle the Dolphins’ offense.
On the other side of the ball, LA is as healthy as they’re going to be all year on offense. Jalen Ramsey’s absence looms for Miami in this one and it creates a rather big matchup advantage for the Chargers’ wideouts.
Chargers 26, Dolphins 23