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Week 13 Preview – Chiefs vs. Packers Tackles in the Tundra

In this week’s Sunday Night Football in the cold, cold, north, the Kansas City Chiefs are set to take on the Green Bay Packers at legendary Lambeau Field. This will be an interesting test for the Chiefs who face a Packers team with a legitimate shot at a postseason berth.

First let’s revisit the Raiders drubbing by Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes, and company. This game started a little rocky for our favorite team but in the end, the Chiefs did what they typically do when down by a couple of scores, they pulled up their bootstraps and went to work.

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After spotting the Black and Silver 14 points largely because of defensive miscues and line play, the boys decided enough was enough. Shortly after the 63-yard scamper by Raiders Running Back, Josh Jacobs to make the score 14-0, the Chiefs went on a 31-3 tear to win the game.

The Raiders from that point on, managed a single field goal late in the third quarter while the defense kept another division rival under 20 points. Rookie wideout Rashee Rice was lights out during the Chiefs comeback by piling up 107 receiving yards on eight catches and a touchdown. Is he the new number 1? We’ll find out this week.

With attention given to Rice, Isaiah Pacheco, Skyy Moore, and Noah Gray; Travis Kelce found open spaces and added 91 receiving yards on six catches. One big thing coming out of this game for Kelce is no drops.

On the ground, Pacheco went 15 carries for 55 yards with two scores, and 34 receiving yards. Mahomes targeted him five times and he could have thrown more balls to Pacheco. I’ve been saying for weeks, get this kid moving and everything else falls into place for the Chiefs offense. Keeping opposing defenses guessing is an Andy Reid trademark and he should use that to his advantage.

Speaking of Big Red, he is now the winningest head coach in Chiefs history passing the great Hank Stram with 125 victories. Reid is also the winningest coach in the Philadelphia Eagles history at 130 wins. Reid is the only coach in NFL history to have been the winningest coach for two franchises. We are lucky to have him in Kansas City.

After the one and a half quarters of no defense, Steve Spagnuolo set a fire under his players and the defense held up their end of the bargain. Spags was able to dial up his normal high-pressure blitzes resulting in four 4 QB hits, 1 sack, and 3 tackles for loss. L’Jarius Sneed, Drue Tranquill, and Justin Reid combined for 19 solo tackles and 7 assists. Trent McDuffie and Jaylen Watson were at their best shutting down the Raider’s deep threats.

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All of this bodes well for this week’s game. The Packers are 18th on offense and 18th on defense. They are ranked 17th in points and scoring defense ranks 10th.  The Chiefs are ranked 8th in offense and 4th in defense. They are 11th in points for and sport the third-best scoring defense.

It appears statistically the Chiefs have the advantage. Here’s the rub. Kansas City is the defending Super Bowl Champions and will get every team’s best shot. Green Bay gave the Detroit Lion a primetime 29-22 Tukey Day thumping in Ford Field. Of course, the Chief’s Week 1 loss to the Lions has left a bad taste and the Packers would love for the NFC North to continue to give the Chiefs heartburn.

Packers head coach Matt LaFleur has been an NFC coach his entire professional career and will likely try to take a page out of the Eagles playbook to develop a game plan to stymie the Chiefs on both sides of the ball. Defensive Coordinator, Joe Barry has studied under Tony Dungy and Rod Marinelli.

Still, Andy Reid, Matt Nagy, and Steve Spagnuolo will have their number. Don’t forget, that Nagy was the Chicago Bears head coach and played Green Bay twice a year in the NFC North against Aaron Rodgers. With 3rd year quarterback and 1st year starter, Jordan Love, the Packers are not as potent as they were with Rodgers. That said, watch for LaFleur and offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich will dial up an interesting offensive game plan.

If Kansas City can stiffen up the run defense, against an improved Packers offense by getting their big bodies inside to stop and/or push Green Bay Running Back, AJ Dillon and Aaron Jones to the edge, then the combo attacks from the defensive backfield can contain.

Spags will still use his bag of tricks, blitzes, and stunts to wreak havoc against a shaky offensive line. I expect multiple pressures that will force Jordan Love to throw earlier than he’d like and he will endure multiple hits and sacks. I see George Karlaftis and Chris Jones getting at least a pair of sacks each.

With Rashee Rice stepping up, perhaps Kelce won’t get double-teamed as much. The other receivers need to show they can make a difference, as well. Reid and Nagy need to get Pacheco into a rhythm and let the run game do some damage. This will open the tight ends with crossing routes as well as skinny posts and deep posts. Depending on coverage, they can throw in some high-percentage shorties.

I still believe Kansas City holds an overall edge because of Reid and Mahomes. Plus, the Chiefs know how to win at this time of the year. Mahomes is 29-4 in November and December. He remains the best football player in the NFL, and he knows when to turn it on when it’s needed most.

Am I a little worried? I will never bet against the Chiefs. They’re that good!

My Prediction:

Chiefs 33, Packers 21

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