In a season that’s devoted to celebrating the 50th anniversary of the modern NFL, this week’s Monday night game throws back to the very first Super Bowl, before it was even called a Super Bowl, with the Green Bay Packers facing the Kansas City Chiefs.
It’s never easy to go into Lambeau Field, as there is no city that loves its team more than Green Bay, where the team is famously owned by the city itself, and the Packers are riding a ten-game home winning streak. But even absent the cold weather and the 12th man, the Packers arguably have the best quarterback in football in Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay (2-0) struggled early in last week’s 27-17 win over the Seahawks, as RB Eddie Lacy and WR Devante Adams both left the game with minor injuries. (Both are questionable for Monday night.) But Rodgers exploded in the fourth quarter, completing eight passes on a nine-play scoring drive to put the game out of reach.
Rodgers was without go-to receiver Jordy Nelson for the second week in a row following Nelson’s season-ending injury against Pittsburgh in the preseason, but spread the wealth around, finding Richard Rodgers, James Jones, Ty Montgomery, and Randall Cobb. It looks like Green Bay’s offense is going to be just fine.
But they may have their hands full with the perennially underestimated Chiefs, whose 1-1 record belies the offensive clinic they put on against Denver last week. They lost, 31-24, but absent a few critical turnovers – two fumbles by Jamaal Charles and a pair of interceptions thrown by QB Alex Smith – the Chiefs owned the Broncos for most of the night, thanks in part to an improving defense.
“Their defense is so much better than last year,” Broncos QB Peyton Manning said after the game. “They’re so stout against the run.”
Kansas City has also been effective against the pass, with eight QB sacks on the season so far, including three from LB Justin Houston. With Packers tackle Bryan Bulaga out, Houston could be a thorn in Rodgers' side Monday night.
Chiefs fans looking for more hope can also look to precedent: the Chiefs and Packers haven’t played each other since 2011, when Kansas City shocked a 13-0 Green Bay team 19-14.