Chiefs vs. Packers: Keys to a Monday win


Tomorrow’s game is big for the Kansas City Chiefs in so many ways. While many believe the Chiefs to be a playoff contender, starting 1-2 and being a couple games behind the Broncos right out of the gate isn’t exactly a favorable spot to be. Especially considering the next couple games are not exactly easy contests. This game is crucial for the Chiefs. With that in mind, lets take a look at what some pivotal positions just may be.

We’ll start off with the Chiefs rush defense, and specifically, Derrick Johnson. Thus far, the Chiefs have faced either a team with much talent at the running back position (Texans) or not a serious attempt to rush the ball (Broncos). The Packers, while they are indeed a passing team, make efforts to rush the ball. Eddie Lacy, who practiced on Friday, appears likely to play on Monday, and make no mistake, is a solid running back. James Starks, the backup to Lacy is a solid, between the tackles type of runner.

If the Chiefs are unable to stop the run, and open the play action pass game to Aaron Rodgers and short yardage conversion opportunities, the rest of this discussion really is a moot point. The Packers win the game.  Derrick Johnson will need to come up big in the run game, making plays on the powerful Lacy, forcing the Packers into predictable and long passing downs.

Secondly, we’ll take a look at Alex Smith. The Packers defense, like every other defense the Chiefs have faced in the past number of years, will be keying on running back Jamal Charles. It will be up to Alex Smith and the passing game to make plays and score points. If Alex Smith struggles, and is unable to get the ball to Kelce and Maclin, like mentioned above, Monday will be a long night for Chiefs fans.

Much like we had mentioned about the Chiefs needing to keep the Packers out of short yardage conversion opportunities, the opposite obviously rings true here. If the Chiefs are forced into long conversion situations through out the game, it’s done for. Which brings us to the next point, and a nice follow up to this, and that the player outside of Alex Smith to be important is…….

Travis Kelce. While we all want Maclin to be the man, seeing how the organization did put a small countries GDP into his bank account, Kelce is going to be the guy that will really open up the passing game. Kelce will need to own the middle of the field and down the seams, turning quick passes into long gains. If he can do that, just as getting Charles going in the running game, allows the Chiefs to play in front of the sticks and dictate the action.

Lastly, want to congratulate the Royals on clinching the American League Central in impressive fashion the other night. Should be noted, and this is mentioned tongue in cheek, but, the Royals have now clinched two post season appearances since the last Chiefs wide receiver touchdown. While that really doesn’t mean anything, it’s amusing, at least to this columnist. Perhaps this will be the game that streak ends, or perhaps the Chiefs are able to get an interception off Rodgers, which hasn’t happened in Lambeau in a regular season game since the 2012 season. Crazy.