The Chiefs are in the national spotlight again tonight, playing their first game since their infamous meltdown against the Denver Broncos 11 days ago that the entire country horrifyingly witnessed on the CBS Thursday Night Special.
All signs would seem to point toward a Kansas City loss as the Chiefs invade the unfrozen tundra of Lambeau Field to take on potential Super Bowl champion Green Bay and future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
It seems like an eternity since the Chiefs butterfingered away a probable victory against Denver, taking a late 24-17 lead until the defense played not to lose and then Jamaal Charles inexplicably put the ball on the ground, resulting in a fumble return for a touchdown that silenced raucous Arrowhead Stadium.
The Chiefs have had a long time to stew about the loss, but also at the same time get some people healthy. There’s no excuses going into tonight’s game, while the Packers are coming off a bruising victory over Seattle in a rematch of last year’s amazing NFC championship game.
You might say the Chiefs could be catching the Packers at the right time. I saw a stat recently where teams that have played Seattle the week before mostly go on to lose the next week. The Seahawks are without question the most physical team in the NFL and opposing players need a lot of ice time once they’ve gone to war for 60 minutes with the Seahawks.
The Chiefs also understand the urgency of this game. They know with a loss they’re almost certainly looking at making the playoffs only via the wild card, as Denver is now 3-0. Then you have surprising Oakland at 2-1, though the Raiders’ schedule pales in comparison to the Chiefs, while San Diego has looked bad in opening 1-2, as quarterback Philip Rivers is starting to show some signs of decline and its offensive line is in tatters.
Tonight’s game comes down to the Packers’ offense against the Chiefs’ defense. More specifically, Rodgers against KC defensive back Jamell Fleming, who must have thought his head was on a swivel against the Broncos as wherever he lined up, Peyton Manning went his way. Fleming is subbing two more games for regular Sean Smith, who is out for violating the NFL’s conduct policy with some knucklehead activity.
There’s no Jordy Nelson to defend, though, and battering ram Eddie Lacy won’t be 100 percent, but is expected to play. Those couple of extra days should freshen the KC defense and help to slow down the running game, but Rodgers is extraordinary. Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton had better give Fleming some help or Rodgers is going to put up mega-numbers, which would be good for my Fantasy Football team since Rodgers is my quarterback.
The Chiefs may have the most difficult first four games in the NFL. Following tonight’s game, they of course have a short week of practice and remain on the road for the third time in four weeks on Sunday when they play at the Cincinnati Jungle. The Bengals are 3-0 (like Denver) and scored a key road win on Sunday as they triumphed at Baltimore, which shockingly is 0-3.
I don’t see the Chiefs winning, but I think it’ll be closer than most people think. Let’s call it Green Bay 28, Kansas City 24.