5 reasons why the Packers will beat the Chiefs (and 1 reason why they might not)
It’s hard to find negative things to say about the Kansas City Chiefs. They’ve got an atmosphere at Arrowhead Stadium that rivals Lambeau Field,their fans seem cool,and Kansas City is home to some of the best barbeque in the United States.
(I also love the tomahawk chop. I know it’s not politically correct to say that these days,but I can’t help it. Something about a stadium full of people chanting and making an axe-wielding motion gets me fired up.)
But just because a franchise seems friendly and harmless,it doesn’t mean I am not going to endlessly mock and ridicule that franchise on the day it plays the Packers,so let’s get to it:
The fans of the Chiefs deserve better than the team that they get every season and currently have. Remember the Marty Schottenheimer years when Kansas City would always win 10-13 games,then get snuffed out early in the playoffs like an unfiltered Marlboro Red?
Not even a new coach could rid the team of its tendency to yak in the postseason. The 2003 Chiefs under Dick Vermeil went 13-3 and got wiped out in the divisional round.
Today,the Chiefs are led by Andy Reid who puts together outstanding gameplans on a week-to-week basis,then blows it all up by making no fewer than eight clock-management blunders each half. The Chiefs also have one of the best running backs and pass rushes in the NFL,but it doesn’t matter because Alex Smith is their quarterback.
Yes,an NFL team still thinks it’s a good idea to have Alex Smith as its starting quarterback,and that team is the Kansas City Chiefs.
I want to love the Kansas City Chiefs. Everything about the organization seems fun. Except,of course,for the actual team on the field.
Here are five reasons why the Packers will beat the Chiefs on Monday night,continuing Kansas City’s streak of being good,but nowhere near good enough:
So many NFL games these days come down to a handful of plays in the fourth quarter. When that time comes in the fourth quarter on Monday night,do we really think Smith is capable of rising to the occasion and making a gamebreaking throw to beat the Packers? I don’t think he is. Smith exists to not fumble the game away,not win the game when it matters most.
Rodgers’ pocket movement
One area where the Chiefs have a clear advantage over Green Bay is outside pass rush. The tag team match of Justin Houston and Tamba Hali vs. David Bakhtiari and Don Barclay should resemble an old-school wrestling squash match where the Road Warriors destroy the Mulkey Brothers in about 20 seconds. But even if Houston and Hali beat up on Bakhtiari and Barclay,the saviness of Aaron Rodgers in the pocket covers up a good chunck of the pass rush advantage Kansas City enjoys. More often than not,Rodgers is able to evade pressure,but stay around the pocket,keep his eyes downfield and make a play. In other words,even if Hali and Houston execute their finishing move,Rodgers is capable of kicking out and extending the match.
No Chiefs wide receiver has caught a touchdown pass since Jan. 4,2014. How is that even possible? With today’s namby-pampby pass defense rules in the NFL,I bet even I could catch a touchdown pass at least once every 16 games. I would require a forklift to get the necessary air required to complete my Lambeau Leap,but I would at least catch one touchdown in a calendar year.
Injuries stink. But the draft-and-develop Packers pride themselves on having plenty of talented young players in reserve for when the inevitable injury bug starts biting. With Morgan Burnett out,no doubt we’ll see a good amount of Damarious Randall. Randall is a different player than Burnett,but I like putting hungry young players on the field in prime time early in the season. Let’s see what they do when given the opportunity and step up. More often than not,the Packers young depth holds its own.
By now,we know all the numbers about Rodgers and the Packers recent run of success at Lambeau Field. Another advantage the Packers have at home isn’t necessarily reflected in the numbers. With Barclay at right tackle,Rodgers’ use of the snap count and cadence slows the pass rush down just enough to help Barclay out a bit. Rodgers’ pre-snap barking also helps him decipher the defense and speed up his decision-making should Barclay’s (or any o-lineman’s) man break through.
If the Packers (for some reason) lose,this might be why:
Jamaal Charls,Travis Kelce,Justin Houston,Tamba Hali…the Chiefs have more than enough game-breaking players to compensate for Smith’s ineptitude and Reid’s clock-manaement blunders. Talent can overcome a lot of other deficiencies,and the Chiefs have the talent to cover up their weaknesses.