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What: Green Bay Packers at Kansas City Chiefs
When: Sunday Night Football, October 27 at 8:20 pm ET
Where: Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri
How (TV): NBC
Latest point spread: Packers -3.5, Chiefs +3.5
Week 8’s Sunday Night Football matchup has all the markings of an exciting cross-conference game, with the 6-1 Green Bay Packers coming off of a huge win fueled by an Aaron Rodgers heyday and the 5-2 Kansas City Chiefs finding themselves without their fearless (and talented) leader Patrick Mahomes for the first time in a long time.
The Packers have an offense that can score points and a defense that can prevent points, but the Chiefs have Andy Reid game planning for them so they will be prepared to take care of Green Bay no matter who they might have starting under center (though it looks like it will be Matt Moore).
Both teams are in the playoff hunt and could use a Week 8 win here, so we take a quick look at how they measure up for this exciting Sunday encounter.
For more on Week 8 check out our video on NFL Week 8 Picks & Best Bets.
Aaron Rodgers is coming off the best game of his career, throwing for 4 touchdowns and running for one for a perfect passer rating in the Packers’ whooping of the Oakland Raiders in Week 7, solidifying his reputation as a champion player ready to return to the Big Game.
Rodgers is terrific, but it’s his front line that made that game possible, and they have also been opening up holes for running back Aaron Jones to take advantage of all season.
A big component in all six wins has been the Smith factor – Za’Darius and Preston – two linebackers who will make life miserable for whatever team the Packers play, and they’ve been having fun all season getting after quarterbacks and running backs and taking them down.
In the biggest news of Week 7, quarterback Patrick Mahomes injured his knee cap on a sneak play against the Denver Broncos last Thursday night and it looks like he will be out for some time now, although head coach Andy Reid has yet to rule him out for Sunday’s game.
Quarterback Matt Moore is under center now, and he did a respectable job against the Broncos filling in for Mahomes, completing 10-of-19 for 117 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions for the win.
The most impressive part of that victory was the ability of the Chiefs’ defensive line to get after Joe Flacco, sacking him 9 times in that game (Frank Clark, Alex Okafor, and Anthony Hitchens each had 2 sacks), something that could keep Aaron Rodgers second-guessing if they’re able to repeat their incredible performance on Sunday.
These two divisional rivals have met 12 total times (including 1 postseason game), with Kansas City winning 7 of those times and Green Bay winning the other 4 games, and they have also tied one encounter.
It’s been four seasons since these two teams have played each other, the last time being in September of 2015 when the Packers beat the Chiefs at home in Lambeau Field by a score of 38-28.
If the Packers win this matchup, they’ll move to 7-2-0 and officially start running away with the NFC North, although the Vikings will still be in it, going into Week 8 with a 5-2 record.
But if the Chiefs come out winners in this one, they’ll be 6-2-0 and will have proved that their offensive system works even without their star playmaker Mahomes in the lineup, and they will continue to rule the AFC West by at least a couple of games over the Raiders.
Who’s favored to win this Week 8 Packers-Chiefs matchup?
Which team has a better offense? Defense? Special teams?
Which team’s quarterback is more likely to lead his team to victory?
We’re going to briefly compare the Packers and the Chiefs next and attempt to answer those questions and more.
Passing attack: The Green Bay Packers have the 8th ranked passing offense in the league right now, averaging 274.1 yards per game through the air after seven weeks.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is currently ranked the 5th most productive passer in the league having completed 162-of-250 passes for 2,019 yards and 13 touchdowns with 2 interceptions and a completion percentage of 64.8.
The Packers’ leading receiver after seven weeks is Marquez-Valdes-Scantling, who is currently 30th in the league with 21 catches for 416 yards and 1 touchdown.
Rushing attack: The Packers’ rushing attack is ranked 20th in the NFL after averaging 99.3 yards on the ground per game.
Aaron Jones is the Packers’ best runner and he is currently the 15th best in the NFL with 101 carries for 399 yards and 8 rushing touchdowns, averaging 4.0 yards per carry.
Green Bay has scored 184 total points this season, or 26.3 per game, which is the 8th best total in the NFL.
Listed as questionable for Week 8: quarterback Aaron Rodgers (knee), wide receiver Davante Adams (toe), tight end Jimmy Graham (ankle)
Injury notes: fullback Malcolm Johnson (shoulder), wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown (ankle), tight end Jace Sternberger (ankle), offensive tackle Jason Spriggs (back), and guard Lane Taylor (biceps) have been placed on injured reserve.
Passing attack: Kansas City has the best passing attack in the league right now after averaging 318.1 yards through the air each game.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes (who is listed as doubtful for Week 8, see below) is the most productive NFL passer right now after completing 157-of-241 passes for 2,180 yards and 15 touchdowns with 1 interception and a completion percentage of 65.1.
The Chiefs’ best receiver is currently tight end Travis Kelce, who has caught 38 passes for 541 yards with 1 touchdown in seven weeks, ranked 10th among NFL receivers.
Rushing attack: Kansas City has the 25th ranked rushing attack, so far averaging 82.3 yards on the ground per game.
LeSean ‘Shady’ McCoy is the Chiefs’ best runner and now he is the 21st most productive in the NFL with 60 carries for 322 yards and 2 touchdowns, averaging 5.4 yards per carry.
Kansas City has scored 202 points in 2019, averaging 28.9 per game, which is currently the 3rd highest scoring average in the NFL.
Listed as questionable for Week 8: offensive tackle Eric Fisher (sports hernia) and offensive guard Andrew Wylie (ankle).
Injury notes: quarterback Patrick Mahomes (kneecap) is listed as doubtful, while quarterback Chad Henne (ankle), wide receivers Felton Davis (shoulder) and Marcus Kemp (knee) and tight end David Wells (undisclosed) have been placed on injured reserve.
Typically the Chiefs would have the offensive advantage because their numbers dominate the league right now, but without Patrick Mahomes playing, the offensive advantage goes to the Packers on Sunday, assuming Rodgers (who’s listed as questionable) even plays.
Pass coverage: The Packers have the 21st best pass defense in 2019 so far, allowing opponents to throw for 252.1 yards through the air per game.
Green Bay’s defense has 8 team picks and they have 18 sacks total.
Run coverage: The Packers are the 24th best NFL team against the run right now after allowing opponents to run for 128.9 yards per game.
Green Bay has allowed its opponents to score 139 total points, or 19.9 per game, which is the 12th lowest in the NFL.
Right now the best tackler in the league is Packers’ inside linebacker Blake Martinez, who has a whopping 76 total tackles (3 for a loss), a sack, a quarterback hit, and a forced fumble.
Whoever lines up under center for the Chiefs best watch out for Packers’ outside linebacker Preston Smith, because he’s tied for fourth-most sacks in the league right now with 7.0, and he also has an interception, 4 passes defended, a forced fumble and 24 total tackles.
Watch the Packers’ secondary for cornerback Jaire Alexander – the guy has an interception, 11 passes defended, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and 22 total tackles on the season.
Listed as questionable for Week 8: cornerback Tramon Williams (knee).
Injury notes: linebacker Greg Roberts (abdomen) and safety Ibraheim Campbell (knee-ACL) are both listed as PUP-R, while linebacker Curtis Bolton (knee-ACL) and safety Raven Greene (ankle) have been placed on injured reserve.
Pass coverage: The Chiefs’ defense is 9th best against the pass, allowing their opponents to throw for an average of 228.6 yards per matchup.
Kansas City’s defense has 6 interceptions on opposing quarterbacks and they have 20 total sacks after seven weeks.
Run coverage: The Chiefs are 29th best (or fourth worst) against a rushing attack, allowing opponents to run for an average of 148.9 yards per game.
Kansas City has allowed their opponents to score 150 total points this season, or 21.4 per matchup, which is 16th fewest in the NFL.
Check out Chiefs’ outside linebacker Damien Wilson, the guy has 44 tackles (1 for a loss), a half a sack, 1 quarterback hit and a forced fumble.
Acquiring defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah in the offseason has paid off for the Chiefs because right now he has 3.5 sacks, 7 quarterback hits, a forced fumble and 24 total tackles (4 for a loss).
Kansas City cornerback Charvarius Ward has two interceptions this season and he’s worth watching, also with 6 passes defended, a forced fumble and 39 tackles.
Listed as questionable for Week 8: defensive end Frank Clark (neck), defensive tackle Chris Jones (groin), linebackers Tanoh Kpassagnon (illness) and Darron Lee (illness) and cornerback Kendall Fuller (thumb).
Injury notes: defensive end Tim Ward (knee – ACL) and linebacker Darius Harris (undisclosed) are listed as NFI, while defensive end Breeland Speaks (knee – MCL), cornerbacks Michael Hunter (groin), defensive tackle Xavier Williams (ankle) and Keith Reaser (Achilles) have been placed on injured reserve.
Neither of these teams is a defensive specialist, they both allow about the same number of points per game, but since the Chiefs are far better against the pass, they have the defensive advantage on Sunday.
Green Bay’s punter, J.K. Scott, is in his second NFL season, and in 2019 he has punted 35 times for a net average of 44.4 yards per punt, 5th best in the league.
Kansas City’s veteran punter, Dustin Colquitt, is in his fifteenth NFL season, all with the Chiefs, and this season he has punted 22 times for a net average of 40.7 yards per punt, which was the 27th best in the league.
Green Bay’s veteran placekicker Mason Crosby, in his thirteenth season (all with the Packers), is a Super Bowl Champion and led the league in scoring in 2007.
Crosby has gone 10-for-11 this season, his longest a 48-yarder, and he has missed zero extra point attempts (22/22).
Kansas City’s placekicker, Harrison Butker, is in his third NFL season, all with the Chiefs.
Butker has made 14-of-16 field goals this season, his longest a 46 yarder, and so far, he has missed one extra point attempt (22/23).
Green Bay’s punt returner, rookie wide receiver Darrius Shephard, was just named the Packers’ punt returner after receiver Trevor Davis was traded to the Oakland Raiders.
So far this year, Shephard has returned 2 punts for -9 yards and 0 touchdowns, averaging no yards per return, ranked 56th in the league in punt return average.
Kansas City’s punt returner, wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas, is ranked 42nd in punt return average this year.
Thomas has returned 13 punts for 55 yards, averaging 4.2 yards per return.
The Packers have a veteran placekicker who hasn’t missed an extra point and has proven he can kick a long one plus they have the better punter, so they have the advantage over the Chiefs on Sunday.
The Green Bay Packers may have been able to beat the Chiefs WITH Mahomes under center, but without him, it looks like it could be a much easier win, especially given the weakness of the Chiefs’ run defense.
Rodgers must have a good game for the Packers to win this one, but Aaron Jones has to have an even bigger outing, and if he can dominate this 29th Chiefs run defense it will be an easy day for the rest of the team.
The Green Bay Packers are on a high after snuffing out the Raiders last week and they will come into Arrowhead focused and ready to continue their winning roll, and it might be close (that’s okay, their kicker Crosby can handle the big field goals) but they will find a way to win.
The Kansas City Chiefs will win this one because they have the brilliant Andy Reid game planning for them, and even though Mahomes (most likely) will not be executing the plays, it will still be Reid directing the Chiefs and he will find a way (including adjustments) to help Matt Moore get the job done.
And let’s not forget, Kansas City is playing at home (it’s loud there) and they still have Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Travis Kelce on the field, so they have enough playmakers to outscore the Packers if their defense can neutralize Rodgers as they did to Flacco last week.
That’s the big if, of course, because Aaron Rodgers is on fire right now but put him under pressure and he will make mistakes that the Chiefs’ secondary can take advantage of, but that’s entirely up to Steve Spagnulo’s defense, a squad that isn’t exactly known for shutting teams down.
The Green Bay Packers by a field goal, because Aaron Rodgers will most likely play and Patrick Mahomes will probably not, and it’s as simple as that for this matchup.
John Breech of CBS Sports predicts the score as Packers 34, Chiefs 24.
My prediction for the final score is Packers 31, Chiefs 28.
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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