Following their best start since the 2011 season, the Packers open up cross-conference play versus the Chiefs on Monday night. In contrast to the high-flying Packers, Kansas City is coming off of a bitter home loss to the Broncos and will have had ten days to prepare for their Week 3 meeting with Green Bay. But even the defensive-minded Chiefs figure to have their hands full with a Packers team that has been sensational on both offense and special teams during its first two games.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect to the Packers’ 2-0 start has been their ability to overcome adversity and win without key contributors. Green Bay has already sent three players to IR and will be without starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga for at least another month. Additionally, the Packers could be missing Eddie Lacy against the Chiefs, which would mean a very heavy workload for backup running back James Starks.
The Chiefs have two elite pass rushers in Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, both of which could pose challenges for the Packers O-line. If tackles David Bakhtiari and Don Barclay fail to improve on their mediocre performance from last week, Aaron Rodgers will be forced to use his mobility and elusiveness in order to keep plays alive. To reduce exposure on the league’s reigning MVP, expect offensive coordinator Tom Clements to employ a version of the dink-and-dunk offense used last week against Seattle.
Regardless of the offensive line’s performance, it is critical for Green Bay’s receivers to get separation downfield, something they have not done particularly well during the first two weeks of the season. With Davante Adams nursing an ankle injury suffered last week, the Packers will need veterans Randall Cobb and James Jones to find ways to get open quickly.
There are few head coaches that place greater emphasis on winning at home than Packers head coach Mike McCarthy. Interestingly enough, the Chiefs have never lost to the Packers at Lambeau Field – a trend that McCarthy and Rodgers surely would like to reverse. More importantly, a win against Kansas City would dispel the pattern of consistently poor play during the month of September for McCarthy’s Packers.
Prediction: Packers 31 Chiefs 17