SNF Pick: Green Bay Packers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Green Bay Packers (6-1 SU, 5-2 ATS) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (5-2 SU, 4-3 ATS)
NFL Week 8
Date and Time:Sunday, October 27 at 8:20pm ET
Point Spread:GB -4/KC +4 (Bovada)
Aaron Rodgers v. Patrick Mahomes had to be one of the best on-paper matchups when the Sunday Night Football schedule was announced. Sadly, we won’t see Mahomes on Sunday after dislocating his kneecap last Thursday, but this game should still be an intriguing watch with both teams firmly in the playoff picture. Matt Moore will lead the Chiefs on Sunday, and much of this game will hinge on how well he can approximate what was the league’s best passing game under Mahomes. Both defenses have the tendency to give up significant yardage and rely on the sack, so this one could come down to who can get the opposing QB on the ground more. The match-up is fresh with these teams squaring off for the first time since 2015.
Less is Moore?
Backup quarterbacks winning games is a trend in 2019, so this isn’t an automatic loss for the Chiefs. In his 12-year career, Moore has started 30 games, winning 15 and has thrown for 44 touchdowns against 36 interceptions while completing 60% of his passes. His most recent significant action came during the 2016 and 2017 seasons, where he started five games, throwing for twelve touchdowns and eight interceptions. He filled in well last week, completing 10-of-17 passes for 117 yards and a score. He is clearly one of the best back-ups in the league, and he will have had a full week of first-team reps to prepare so the offense could still look impressive if Moore can consistently get the ball to bigtime playmakers like Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce.
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On a Roll
Green Bay has shown some limitations on both sides of the ball during this season, but the fact remains that they are making plays when it counts, and they have the look of a team that can win games in multiple ways. It was all Rodgers and the passing game last week, but the Packers have won with the run and also relied on the defense. The production against Oakland was impressive, considering Davante Adams was again out with Marques Valdez-Scantling and Geronimo Allison missing practice time ahead of the game. Jimmy Graham (18/214/3) and Jake Kumerow took larger roles with Aaron Jones, and Jamaal Williams also contributing in the passing game. Adams may miss this Sunday as well, but it appears that Green Bay’s top-10 scoring offense is going to show regardless of who is actually on the field. Rodgers moved his completion percentage to 65% on the season, and no one opponent wants to see #12 in rhythm.
We can presume that Rodgers has a leg-up on Moore on the offensive side but who has the defensive edge in this one? Both teams are in the same neighborhood in terms of points and yards allowed with both slightly better against the pass than the run. Attacking a 24th ranked Green Bay run defense is a good approach for Kansas City, but the Chiefs are 25th in rushing yards at just over 80 per game. That lack of run success has put them near the bottom of the league in time-of-possession, and that has kept their defense on the field for large parts of some games. That may have been fine with Mahomes leading a quick-strike offense that often puts KC ahead, but it will be to Green Bay’s advantage if the Chiefs defense is wearing down from overuse. The Packers have fewer sacks than the Chiefs through seven weeks, but Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith have 13 sacks between them to make the better pass-rush tandem. Kansas City doesn’t have a single defender with more than 3.5 sacks, but they do have eleven players with at least one.
Green Bay is 4-1 against the spread in the last five against an opponent with a winning record while Kansas City is just 3-7 ATS in their last ten at Arrowhead. The game opened as a pick’em, but the line now sits at GB -4, with 54% of the bets coming in on the Packers. The over has hit in four of the last five Green Bay games with 60% of the bets going on the over so far this week.
I do not think this will be easy for Green Bay by any means, especially as KC has plenty of playmakers on the field, but the lack of Mahomes is just too big of a factor. Rodgers used to be the biggest swing player in the NFL with his availability for a game able to swing a line as many as seven points, but I would imagine Mahomes is worth at least that many, if not more. Moore was able to pilot the Chiefs to a win against the Broncos last week, but Green Bay is significantly better than Denver. An extra few days will help KC get ready for the challenge, but I think they will struggle to get enough points on the board without the typical 300 passing yards they are accustomed to. The KC running game isn’t consistent enough behind LeSean McCoy and Damien Williams, and that puts too much on Moore’s plate. Green Bay covers with a 27-21 win.
Ted’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread:Green Bay