Green Bay Packers (13-0, 9-4 ATS) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (5-8, 7-6 ATS), NFL Week 15, Sun. December 18, 1:00pm ET, Arrowhead Stadium, FOX
by Evergreen, Pro Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: GB -14/KC +14
Over/Under Total: 45.5
As NFL playoff battles heat up, the two teams facing off at Arrowhead Stadium this weekend aren’t really worried about the playoffs at all, but not for the same reason. The Green Bay Packers come to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs with nearly everything sewed up for their run to another Superbowl and the Chiefs are just trying to see who may or may not be part of the team next year. Kansas City will look to pull the biggest upset of the year with a new coach having just fired Todd Haley and interim coach Romeo Crennel is now in charge of what has turned out to be a pretty empty cupboard. The game kicks off in the 1pm ET slate on FOX.
The early lines came out with the Packers as 14 point favorites but most online betting sites have moved that line to 14.5 or 15 as of Tuesday and the over/under total for the game is at 45.5 or 46 at the offshore sportsbooks. Some moneyline info is out there with 5Dimes listing Green Bay at -800 with Kansas City at +550.
The Packers brought their video game offense to the field again last week and dropped the Raiders by a 46-16 margin and locked up a first round bye in the process. They have had a couple of close calls, especially the 38-35 Week 13 win at the Giants, but most are expecting a 16-0 regular season for the Pack with home games against Chicago and Detroit remaining after Week 15 at KC. Green Bay clinches home field advantage throughout with a win Sunday so expect a motivated team despite the relatively low importance of this game although the Packers may be a shaky betto cover spreadsgoing forward if they start resting some players after getting a comfy lead.
Kansas City has been a disappointment this season after a 10-6 record in 2010, especially since the AFC West was again up for grabs with the Broncos leading the division at just 8-5. Injuries have really limited the Chiefs with their starting quarterback, running back and tight end sent to the IR early in the season. There are no excuses in the NFL however and KC has three games left to play spoiler and get some sort of momentum built to finish the season on a positive note. Arrowhead has been one of the toughest places to play for many years but the Chiefs have managed just a 2-4 home record this year and now face the toughest test out there.
Green Bay improved on the best scoring average last week and enter the weekend at 35.8 points per game with top-3 ranks in passing and total yards. They are coming off a strong rushing performance as well and look to be committing to the ground game a bit more as the weather turns colder. The Packers are statistically near the bottom in passing and total yards allowed but are good against the run and the defense has given up 21.4 points per game, good for 15th in the league. The D is full of playmakers and have been taking the ball away a lot lately with five turnovers in the Oakland game and a pick-6 and forced fumble against Eli Manning.
Kansas City has really struggled with all the injuries on offense, ranking 30th in passing yards, 28th in total yards and score the second fewest points in the NFL at just 13.3 per game. They do run the ball well despite the loss of Jamaal Charles in Week2 and will have to run to control the clock and keep the ball from Rodgers and Co. come Sunday. The Chiefs defense is respectable against the pass with a top-10 rank in yards allowed but unlike the Packers, they give up more points than their yards allowed allowed average would suggest and enter the week at 23.5 per game, good for 24th in the league.
Aaron Rodgers now owns the Packers season touchdown record after his 39th touchdown pass and could put that mark a good deal higher with three games remaining. Rodgers leads the league with a 123.6 quarterback rating and is a clear MVP unless you like that Tebow guy. The Pack is a bit thin at running back but Ryan Grant is coming of his best game (85 yds, 2 TD’s) and showed good burst and speed all day. Greg Jennings sustained an MCL sprain and will miss the remainder of the regular season, paving the way for Jordy Nelson to lead the way. Nelson already leads the team with 957 yards and 10 touchdowns and tight end Jermichael Finley will likely see more looks as will as will James Jones and Donald Driver. That trio is likely more than enough to cover for the loss of Jennings with 15 combined receiving touchdowns already.
Along with Jennings, the Packers offense will likely be without RB James Starks and OL Josh Sitton. The Green Bay defense could be without LB Desmond Bishop and LB A.J. Hawk as well as DL Ryan Pickett with all three listed as questionable.
Kyle Orton is slated to start for KC and if his finger isn’t well enough, Ricky Stanzi will go.Jackie Battle, Thomas Jones and Dexter McCluster have all toted the rock in the KC backfield but the Chiefs have managed just three rushing scores as a team. Dwayne Bowe has had another good season despite the QB situation, grabbing a team best 65 balls for 937 yards and 4 touchdowns.
The offense is pretty healthy coming into the week with the Chiefs listing S Jon McGraw and DE Glenn Dorsey as questionable on the defensive side.
The Packers are 8-2 against the spread in the last 10 december contests with the over hitting in 6 of the last 7 when Green Bay is favored. The Chiefs are 5-1 ATS in the last six as a home dog overall but only 1-5 against the spread against a team with a winning road record and the under has paid in the last five games at Arrowhead.
Evergreen’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread:
Oakland showed that pressure up the middle with press man can make the Packer pass game sputter a bit so K.C. could try that model and succeed at home but I still don’t see how they score enough to stay in this one. Rodgers doesn’t turn the ball over enough to give away free points and the Chiefs just can’t count on Palko lead them past an aggressive defense. The beat goes on for the Pack. Green Bay 33 Kansas City 13.
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