The Green Bay Packers are without question favored to pull out a huge win over the Kansas City Chiefs this evening on Monday Night Football. It is going to be a very good game between two quality football teams, but Aaron Rodgers is being given the advantage on his home field. Green Bay is far from an easy pick to win, but they do have more talent on their roster if they can play up to their full potential.
Despite the fact that they are currently favored, there are a few things that have to be taken care of in particular if they are going to take control of the game and win it convincingly.
Playing at Lambeau Field is going to give the Packers the type of emotional lift that they need against a very resilient Chiefs’ football team. There aren’t many better teams in the league than the Packers, which they are out to prove with their second win over a very good football team in a row after beating the Seattle Seahawks last week.
Rodgers and the Packers have been playing excellent football on both sides of the field so far this year and that has to continue this week. Kansas City isn’t going to go down without a fight and they have the necessary potential to knock off the Packers. Let’s take a look at the five biggest keys for Green Bay heading into tonight’s game.
1. Aaron Rodgers Must Continue Playing His Near Perfect Brand of Football
Throughout the first two games this season, Rodgers has completed 76.8 percent of his passes for 438 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. He is without question one of the early season candidates for the MVP award, which would make it back-to-back seasons that he has won the award. Green Bay needs him to continue his stellar play tonight and lead his team to a victory.
2. James Jones Must Step Up in the Red Zone
After seeing Jordy Nelson go down with a torn ACL, the Packers immediately needed some help at the wide receiver position. James Jones was released by the New York Giants just ahead of the season and the Packers were happy to bring him back with a one-year deal. Aaron Rodgers was a big fan of the move and the Packers need him to continue the red zone dominance that he has shown throughout the first two weeks of the season to this point.
3. Julius Peppers and the Pass Rush Must Get to Alex Smith
Last week on Thursday Night Football, the Denver Broncos showed how much good can come from putting pressure on Alex Smith. Green Bay must replicate that success this week and Julius Peppers will be the top pass rusher on the night. Clay Matthews may be used at times as a pass rusher, but for now it appears that he is going to be the inside linebacker asked to slow down the rushing game.
4. Contain Jamaal Charles and Don’t Allow Big Plays
Keeping with the point about Matthews being asked to help stop Charles, the Packers are in major needed of containing him and not allowing big plays. That will be easier said than done, although Green Bay did an excellent job last week against Marshawn Lynch. Charles is a different beast, however, and is a much bigger playmaker than Lynch similar to what Matt Forte is who shredded the Packers’ defense.
5. Green Bay Must Take Care of the Football
Obviously the first point with Rodgers contains him taking care of the football, but everyone else has to secure it as well. They cannot afford to fumble or throw an interception, especially against a Chiefs’ defense that thrives off of making those plays. Assuming Green Bay takes care of the football, they should be able to move down the field fairly consistently.