Chiefs-Packers will be rubber game of Smith-Rodgers matchups
The Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers are coming off emotional Week 2 games with vastly different outcomes.
While the Chiefs look to turn the page on a bitter loss to a division rival, the Packers try to move on from a satisfying revenge win when the teams face off Monday night at Lambeau Field.
This prime-time matchup would have been between unbeatens had Kansas City (1-1) held on to a seven-point lead in the final minute of last Thursday’s showdown with Denver, in which the Broncos scored two touchdowns in the final 36 seconds to pull out a stunning 31-24 decision.
The winning score came on cornerback Bradley Roby’s 21-yard return of a Jamaal Charles fumble, the star running back’s second of the night and the Chiefs’ fifth turnover. The touchdown came nine seconds after Peyton Manning led a 10-play, 80-yard drive capped by a 19-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders.
"It was pretty simple. Five turnovers, 70 yards worth of penalties, very tough to win in this league having those kind of stats," coach Andy Reid said.
Kansas City draws another tough assignment in its visit to Lambeau Field, where Green Bay (2-0) owns a 10-game win streak — including playoffs — and Aaron Rodgers has put together an even more remarkable run.
Counting the postseason, Rodgers recorded an 18th consecutive home game without an interception in last week’s 27-17 victory over Seattle. The reigning NFL MVP has attempted 539 passes, thrown for 43 touchdowns and posted a 124.0 passer rating over a streak dating to December 2012.
"I don’t know what it is, but I think he’s a pretty good player," said Reid when asked about Rodgers’ streak. "You’ve got to start there, right?"
Rodgers was 25 of 33 for 249 yards and two touchdowns to help the Packers avenge a 28-22 overtime defeat to the Seahawks in the 2014 NFC championship game, where Green Bay blew a 12-point lead with under three minutes left.
‘It is probably one of the more satisfying regular-season wins that we’ve had, just to get that monkey off our back of not being able to beat these guys," guard T.J. Lang said.
If the Packers are vulnerable to a letdown, coach Mike McCarthy needs only to point out the last time these teams met. A then 13-0 Green Bay team left Arrowhead Stadium with a 19-14 loss Dec. 18, 2011, as Rodgers was sacked four times and completed just 17 of 35 throws.
Kansas City brings a formidable pass rush into this game as well, having registered eight sacks. Three have come from Justin Houston, who’s notched at least one sack in eight straight games and had a league-best 22 in 2014.
Containing Houston will be a challenge for a Green Bay offensive line without right tackle Bryan Bulaga (knee surgery) for a second straight week.
McCarthy is hopeful that Eddie Lacy can go after the running back missed most of the Seattle game with a sprained right ankle, though veteran backup James Starks ran 20 times for 95 yards in his place.
"It’s a medical decision," McCarthy said Monday. "There’s a process that goes on with every player that goes through this, and it’ll be no different with Eddie."
Charles had a 125-yard, one-touchdown effort overshadowed by his miscues but could be in line for another productive night against a Green Bay defense that’s surrendered 154 rushing yards per game and 5.3 per carry, both 31st in the NFL.
Alex Smith added two interceptions to the Chiefs’ troubles after delivering a near-flawless 22 of 33, 243-yard, three-touchdown performance in a 27-20 Week 1 win at Houston. The 2005 No. 1 overall pick will have a third head-to-head meeting with Rodgers, selected 24th in that draft.
They’ve split the first two, with Smith winning the latest after going 20 of 26 for 211 yards and two touchdowns to lead San Francisco to a 30-22 decision at Lambeau in the 2012 opener.
Kansas City is 7-2-1 in this series and 3-0-1 on the road, though it last visited Lambeau Field in 2003. The Chiefs have won six of the last seven matchups.
- Aaron Rodgers
- Bradley Roby
- Bryan Bulaga
- Denver Broncos
- Eddie Lacy
- Emmanuel Sanders
- FOX Sports Kansas City
- Green Bay Packers
- Jamaal Charles
- James Starks
- Justin Houston
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Peyton Manning
- T.J. Lang