Kansas City Chiefs (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) vs. Green Bay Packers (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS)
NFL Week 3
Date/Time: September 28/ 8:30pm ET
Where: Lambeau Field
by Evergreen, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: KC +7/GB -7
Over/Under Total: 47
It has been a pretty wild start to the NFL season. Early season favorites like Seattle and Indy are off to bad starts, leaving just a few teams in the conversation of who is the best. One such team in that conversation is the Green Bay Packers and they are looking to jump to a 3-0 start as they welcome the Kansas City Chiefs to Lambeau Field for a Monday Night tilt. Kansas City should be 2-0 but a tough-luck loss against Denver last week has them in danger of dropping to 1-2 if they cant pull the upset in this one.
You often see some line movement in Green Bay games but the current line of GB -7 is just a half point up from the opening line of six and a half. It has been a very even betting overall in the early going with favorites and underdogs splitting wins evenly at 16 and home favorites are just 10-9 through two weeks. KC has done well on MNF recently, going 4-1 against the spread in their last five Monday Night games. The exact opposite has been the case for the Pack, they have a 1-4 ATS record in their last five on Monday Night. The Packers enter the week as the top ranked team in the Sagarin ratings with the Chiefs checking in at #9.
This week will mark the first time these teams have met in the regular season since 2011. The Chiefs were able to pull out a gritty 19-14 win at Arrowhead and that turned out to be Green Bays only regular season loss. Many faces have changed on both teams since then but this match-up has been played in each of the last three pre-seasons so there is more familiarity than you would usually have in a cross-conference match.
Green Bay is an open book. Opponents have the unenviable task of finding a way to solve Aaron Rodgers, a task that no one has had success with in Lambeau. In his last 17 home games, Rodgers has thrown for 41 touchdowns and zero interceptions on 512 pass attempts. Each of those stats is an NFL record and A-Rod has shown no signs of slowing down even with the loss of his favorite target Jordy Nelson. James Jones has had a successful return home, Richard Rodgers is emerging as an impact tight end and Randall Cobb looks like the playmaker we have come to expect. Rodgers has completed 77% of his passes through two contests and the Packers are 5th in points scored, averaging 29 a game. Eddie Lacy is battling a sprained ankle but does hope to play with the extra day of rest. If the bruising back cant go, veteran James Starks should be able to pick up the slack without too much dropoff and Green Bay didnt miss a beat in the run game last week against a tough Seattle defense.
It gets overlooked in most circumstances by now but Alex Smith and Aaron Rodgers are linked by the draft day fall of Rodgers after San Francisco tabbed Smith as the top overall pick. Its easy to gauge who got the better of that draft but Smith has done good work to avoid what looked like a bust of a career and has become one of the best game managers. He wont stun you with athleticism or arm strength but he does enough to keep the offense on track and is enough of a threat to keep defenses from keying too heavily on Jamaal Charles. Charles is the engine of the KC offense and he has looked explosive in the early going. Green Bay is 31st in run stopping and while they did a good job against Marshawn Lynch last week, they got torched by Matt Forte in the opener. Charles is much more like Forte than Lynch and the Packers second-level has struggled to bottle up pass-catching backs under Dom Capers. The Chiefs will be best served to use Charles as much as possible and then sprinkle in Jeremy Maclin and Travis Kelce once the defense starts committing extra bodies to slow Charles.< /p>
Both teams have good but not great defenses. Green Bay typically plays with a lead and that lets guys like Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews go for big plays but the Pack gives up plenty of yards and points. KC has been stout against the run so far, allowing just 80 yards on average but ranks outside the top-20 in pass yards allowed, not exactly a good stat as you go up against the best QB in the business. Green Bay might be throwing it a bit more, especially if Lacy is out or limited and that could spell trouble if the Chiefs cant get a pass rush on Rodgers. The Chiefs do have eight sacks through two games and really need to drag Rodgers off his unreal home mojo.
It is either Green Bay or New England who has the best offense in the NFL but it is safe to say that seven points is not exactly a scary number to lay, especially in Lambeau. Kansas City will need a near perfect effort in all facets to stay relevant in this game and perhaps their best chance at tipping the scales is to keep the ball from Rodgers with a ball-control approach. Charles should have running room and Smith has a chance to carve this defense up over the middle and underneath. If the Chiefs can get 24 on the board, they will stress Green Bay. Ultimately, I dont think they get quite that many and Green Bay does what it normally does at home and comes out with a 31-20 win.
Evergreens Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Green Bay
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