The NFL’s premier matchup of the regular season is shaping up to be something much less with the news that Aaron Rodgers, star quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, has tested positive for COVID-19 in the days leading up to the team’s visit to Arrowhead Stadium to take on Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 9.
Before the season began, back when the league unveiled the regular-season schedule in the spring, fans and bettors were already buzzing about the matchup of the two most talented quarterbacks in football going head-to-head for the first time. In the first scheduled matchup between both teams back in 2019, Mahomes went down with a knee injury that kept him out of consecutive games against the NFC North including the Packers and Vikings. Thus at that point, fans instead got Matt Moore vs. Rodgers.
This time around, it will be the Packers who are without their franchise face but this game is not without intrigue. Former first-round pick Jordan Love has been waiting in the wings on the Packers’ roster for such a moment, and being able to lead the offense in a high-profile game against the defending AFC champs is a tall order—no matter how the Chiefs are faring so far in 2021.
Betting action on the game is already shifting odds, and the Packers went from 2.5 point underdogs to 7 points at present, per our friends at WynnBET. That’s the cost of losing the reigning NFL MVP, even with a first-round pick behind him, although it’s also a steep drop for a team that does have plenty of other high-level talent on the roster from front to back.
Anyone discounting the Packers just because of Rodgers’ absence hasn’t been watching either team this year knowing how vulnerable the Chiefs have looked against solid competition (they are 0-4 against teams with winning records).