Chiefs vs. Packers: Saturday Scoop

The Green Bay Packers have their first Monday Night Football game of the season as they welcome the Kansas City Chiefs to Lambeau Field.  These teams are no stranger to each other, with the most famous matchup coming in Super Bowl I.  The Packers have only beaten the Chiefs twice in the history of this rivalry and surprisinly, have never won in Green Bay.  The last time the Chiefs visited was back in 2003 when an undefeated Kansas City team, led by Dick Vermiel, came in and nearly saw their perfect season ruined by the Packers.  With Green Bay seemingly having the game in hand, Packers running back Ahman Green fumbled, allowing the Chiefs a chance to tie the game.  In the overtime period, Chiefs receiver Eddie Kennison streaked down the sideline on a long catch and run to give Kansas City the win.  

Ironically, that seems to be the last time a Chiefs wide receiver found the end zone with the ball.  Ok, so I exaggerated a bit, but the Chiefs haven't had passing touchdown to a receiver since the 2013 playoffs.  The Packers hope that trend continues this week.  Newly acquired Jeremy Maclin comes to town and has the ability to get behind defenses.  Travis Kelce is not a receiver, but he has had a good first two weeks of the season and is the type of pass catcher the Packers could have their share of struggles with.  The Green Bay secondary will have some work to do this week and that's just in the passing game. 

As far as the run game goes, the Chiefs feataure Jamaal Charles, one of the best running backs in the league.  His fumble ended last week's game against the Denver Broncos and Charles will be looking to atone for the gaffe.  The Packers took a step forward in defending the run against the Seattle Seahawks, allowing less than 50 yards to Marshawn Lynch.  Charles is a different type of runner and adds a speed element that the Packers have to be ready for.  Tackling has seemed to be a long-standing issue for the Packers defense and they'll need to be on top of their game this week.  Nose tackle B.J. Raji had one of his best games against Seattle and he'll be much needed against the Chiefs.  His role in clogging running lanes for Charles helps put the ball in the hands of Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith, which is a better predicament for Green Bay than dealing with Charles and 25-plus carries.  Smith is careful with the football and like Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, he does not turn the ball over much.  The key is getting pressure on Smith.  He's been sacked six times in two games so expect the Packers to come after him and try to create some mistakes and turnovers.  

Some are talking about this game being a let down or trap game, following the big win over the Seahawks.  While it's going to be a tough matchup, it's still in Green Bay and Rodgers is still Green Bay's quarterback.  Rodgers immediately praised the Chiefs after the Seattle win and seems to have moved on to preparing for this week's game.  At home, Monday Night Football, Rodgers isn't likely to let this team come out flat.  Since the loss in the NFC Championship game last season, Rodgers has seemed to have that sense of task to get his team back to that point and beyond in 2015.  They probably can't win every game this season, but this isn't one they want to let slip through their fingers.  The Packers have long had the goal of going undefeated at home and a win over the Chiefs would further establish Green Bay as a legitimate contender early on this season.

One of the big reasons for that would be the play of the Packers offensive line against a very active and tough Chiefs defensive front.  They're allowing just under 80 yards per game on the ground and the Packers may be without Eddie Lacy this week.  He continues to nurse an ankle injury so it may be James Starks in the backfield for a second week in a row.  It's foolish to think that the Packers are going to somehow run all over the Chiefs, but they stuck with it against Seattle even when it wasn't working and it seemed to allow some opportunities for the passing game to open up a bit. 

Those opportunities will be there Monday Night.  The question is how much time and space will Rodgers have to work with?  Green Bay will likely try to spread the Kansas City defense out a bit and hope the offensive line can hold up.  Don Barclay will hold down the right tackle spot for a second week in a row and that's where stud linebacker Justin Houston will be lined up.  Houston is a problem for the best tackles in the league so the Packers will need some help and a sound game plan to keep Houston out of the pocket.  Left tackle David Bakhtiari didn't have his best game last week either, allowing the speed rush to get the best of him.  Some of those issues were mechanics and fundamentals.  The rest were just Bakhtiari being what he is:  a good tackle, but not a great tackle.  He certainly doesn't invoke memories of Marshall Newhouse from 2011, but the left side is one to watch in this game.  Rodgers' mobility is going to be needed and important in this matchup.

Green Bay's passing game saw the emergence of Ty Montgomery last week after Davante Adams was hampered by an ankle injury.  Adams should be available this week, but won't likely be at 100%.  Randall Cobb continues to recover from his shoulder sprain while playing through it each week.  Montgomery will be an important piece of the passing game puzzle this week, as will James Jones and tight end Richard Rodgers.  The other Rodgers, Richard had a nice touchdown catch against the Seahawks to put the Packers ahead late.  R. Rodgers has clearly established himself as the team's number one tight end.

The coaching matchup could be a good one.  Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has been said to have a tendency to allow his teams to fall apart late in games and his decison-making has been questioned.  Packers head coach Mike McCarthy has had his fair share of second guessers in the past, but appears to be more in control of all aspects now that he's not calling the offense.  Green Bay burned through their timeouts very early on in the first half of the Seattle game and this is something that has plagued the Green Bay offense for years.  Too much time needed to get the next play in and Rodgers is forced to take a timeout to avoid a delay of game penalty.  The lack of timeouts also means less ability to challenge as well.  Both coaches will likely have their teams well-prepared and both are a few of the top offensive minds in the game.  Still, expect a lower-scoring game in the end.

In the end, these teams are unfamiliar with each other and both need a win for different reasons.  The Packers need to protect their home field advantage and avoid a letdown.  A win would keep them alone atop the division.  The Chiefs need to get back on track and make up some ground after a divisional loss last week.  The Packers could potentially move to 3-0 as they get ready to head to San Francisco the week following.  A loss wouldn't be the worst thing for Green Bay, but it's time to end the winless streak at home against this opponent.  How many other teams can say they're undefeated against the Packers at Lambeau Field?  After this week, there should be one less.

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Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Cheesehead TV Live, Pulse of the Pack and Pack A Day podcasts.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Comments (15)

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croatpackfan's picture

September 26, 2015 at 05:56 pm

Chiefs are excellent team, but I think Packers will win easier than lot of people think. And that does not mean that the score difference will be large... Just there will be no panic...

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Tundraboy's picture

September 26, 2015 at 07:12 pm

I just want to see our D play like last week. That and even an average game from AR means 3-0. In my heart I want to see Lacy, Montgomery, and JJ have great games.

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Ibleedgreenmore's picture

September 26, 2015 at 07:20 pm

Two weeks in a row would be great, that was a dominating game on the line.

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Tundraboy's picture

September 26, 2015 at 07:50 pm

Sure would!!

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Alfredo Martinez's picture

September 26, 2015 at 09:38 pm

packers win because AR loves to one up AS ever since 2005

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Allan Murphy's picture

September 27, 2015 at 12:32 am

We have to win all our home games if they want home field threw out the play offs ....................

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J0hn Denver's Gavel's picture

September 27, 2015 at 03:32 am

wood bee nice

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Phillthy's picture

September 27, 2015 at 04:07 am

I'm actually more concerned about the offense and injury woes than the defense, stark difference from every other week.

Rodgers will be facing a better defence IMHO. Also they seem to be more discipline, sticking to assignment rather than aggression. I worry Rodgers is better against the aggressive and less Houdini versus a stricter D.

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PETER MAIZ's picture

September 27, 2015 at 10:05 am

Morgan Burnett will most likely not play. He's got a bit of a calf injury.He'll be sorely missed stopping the run and Jaamal Charles.

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TommyG's picture

September 27, 2015 at 04:21 pm

"the Chiefs haven't had passing touchdown to a receiver since the 2013 playoffs."

Alex Smith had three passing TDs in week one of this season against the Texans.

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TommyG's picture

September 27, 2015 at 04:22 pm

I suppose if you don't count TE as receivers then your statement is true.

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FITZCORE1252's picture

September 27, 2015 at 05:12 pm

Wide receiver. No TD to a WR.

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Imma Fubared's picture

September 27, 2015 at 07:01 pm

The Chiefs figured out Rogers, single coverage and squeeze the receivers and he will cough it up. Easy win for them.

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Archie's picture

September 28, 2015 at 11:40 am

Spread has moved from -7 to -5.5. Laye big money coming in on KC.

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Dan Stodola's picture

September 28, 2015 at 11:54 am

If I were a betting man, which I'm not, you might be the last person I would listen to for advice.

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