Shawn: This Sunday the Green Bay Packers play their last road game and their last AFC game. Both occasions make this the most meaningless game of the season for the Packers.
In fact, considering this, I would have been completely fine with guys like Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson getting a bye. Let Rodgers break Brett Favre’s team record for TD passes in a season at Lambeau. However, there’s one little thing getting in the way of that idea. It’s called the second longest winning streak in NFL history. The Streak means a lot to the players, coaches and fans of this team. For the past year all this team has done is win. It could be said they don’t know how to lose, and now is no time to learn.
When the Packers rolled through the league in 1996, they lost three games, but only once were they really beaten bad. That was at Arrowhead against the Chiefs. Arrowhead has always been one of the toughest places for opponents to play. That hasn’t necessarily been the case this year, as the Chiefs have wavered between mediocre and terrible.
The Chiefs have a lot of young talent on defense. They are at least mediocre there, ranking 15th overall. They have two talented young corners in Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr and are a top 10 team against the run. They’re among the bottom five in sacks, however. Those stats are partially why, even though ranked 15th in yards, they give up two more points a game on average than the Packers defense does.
The primary reason, besides injuries, for ALL of those things — the low sack number, and the bad ranking in rushing yards and points allowed — is due to the Chiefs’ central problem. They’re terrible on offense. They’ve been without running back Jamaal Charles, their best offensive player, since week two and now they’re without their starting QB. The Chiefs have been able to hang around in many of their games because of their defense, but ultimately, the defense tires out or gets put in too many bad situations.
Kyle Orton, who’ll start at quarterback this week, may be an improvement on offense. We’ll see about that. He does have some decent receivers to work with in Dwayne Bowe, Jon Baldwin and Steven Breaston. The question is whether he can get them the ball. The Chiefs are weak at tight end, which helps the Packers’ cause,
This game should be controlled by the Packers defense. The Chiefs’ running game shouldn’t be a threat, which means the Packers shouldn’t have a problem leaving their nickel on the field.
I could see the Chiefs, as they did against the Patriots, hanging in the game until the second half. That really depends on whether they have any success with their offense and don’t make the kind of mistakes the Raiders did.
Their defense could slow the Packers down a little. It might also take a little bit for the offense to get used to Greg Jennings not being on the field.
I’d like to see the running game get going, and I’d like to see Rodgers get back to something closer to the sharp play we saw near the midpoint of the season. I’d also like to see the defense continue to build on its performance from last week.
If Orton had the best day of his career and the entire KC defense was on coke the whole game, then maybe the Packers won’t be 14-0 by Sunday afternoon. I highly doubt it though.
I look for the Packers to pull away shortly after halftime.
Packers 28, Chiefs 14
Andrew: All season long I’ve been saying this Green Bay Packers team is not capable of a letdown. Mike McCarthy, who is getting very little chatter for coach of the year honors, has done an amazing job keeping his team on message. The leadership inside the locker room simply has not allowed complacency to creep into the collective psyche and for every mention of 19-0, there’s a mention of, “We have to get to 14-0 before we worry about that.” This team will not suffer a letdown.
All that aside, I think this game will prove to be much tougher than anyone thinks. The Chiefs are playing at home as massive 14-point underdogs, their head coach was just fired, and now a very respected Romeo Crennel takes over as interim coach. Crennel has stated he believes his team holds the head coaching job in their hands and if they want him to be the coach next year, the Chiefs will be giving their best effort of the year.
Not only that, defensively the Chiefs match up pretty well against the Packers. While it’s true they rank 26th against the run and give up 132.5 yards a game, the Packers running backs are banged up. It will be interesting to see how willing McCarthy will be to lean on his only healthy tailback while James Starks and Brandon Saine heal.
The Chiefs passing defense is stout and ranks eighth in the NFL, only allowing 221 yards per game. Although most people seem to believe there will be little drop off in the Packers passing game, it’s important to note that this team has not been without Greg Jennings for a game since 2007. That means different receivers will be running different routes than they typically would. It means Randall Cobb and James Jones’ roles will be bigger. Regardless, every Packers receiver is supposed to be able to line up anywhere on the field, losing Jennings will take some time adjusting to and will undoubtedly hinder efficiency.
I think the Chiefs are going to come to play. Historically, if you were to take big home underdogs in the NFL every chance you got, you’d wind up making a lot of money. Although it won’t surprise me if the Packers blow them out, I think this is going to come down to the fourth quarter.
Packers 24, Chiefs 17
Monty: These dicks suck. The Neck Beard, Kyle Orton isn’t the answer.
Romeo Crennel wasn’t a good head coach the first time he tried it.
We’re gonna kill these asshats.
Packers 37, Chiefs 14