In order to get a grasp on this primetime matchup, we’ve enlisted the help of those who know these teams the best. Expert NFL bloggers Joel Thorman of Kansas City blog Arrowhead Pride and Jason B. Hirschhorn of Green Bay blog Acme Packing Company strap on the pads and debate which team will not only win, but cover the spread Monday night.
WHY KANSAS CITY WILL COVER
Joel Thorman is the editor of Arrowhead Pride. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter @ArrowheadPride
The Chiefs have the type of defense – on paper – to beat Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense. They have a terrific pass rush with Justin Houston coming off one edge and Tamba Hali / Dee Ford coming off the other. They have a strong secondary despite the absence of Sean Smith. Marcus Peters is proving to be a ball hawk with two interceptions in his first two career games and Chiefs second year safety Phillip Gaines is having a nice year. Third corner Jamell Fleming had a little trouble last week against Denver so the Chiefs will have that corrected.
Plenty of Rest
Andy Reid is 14-2 in his career after a bye. Yeah, yeah the Chiefs aren’t coming off a true bye but it is a mini-bye with the Thursday night game last week and the Monday night game this week. History says Andy Reid uses his extra time off very well. Additionally, Andy Reid’s Chiefs have only been beaten by more than one score on three occasions. They don’t get blown out very often.
The Chiefs will cover because they’ve done this before. It was four years ago when the 13-0 Packers came to Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs were reeling after firing Todd Haley the week before. They had no shot to win. And what did they do? They went out and won the game.
WHY GREEN BAY WILL COVER
Jason B. Hirschhorn covers the Green Bay Packers for Acme Packing Company. He also serves as an NFL writer for SB Nation and Sports on Earth and is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Follow him on Twitter @by_JBH
Improved run defense
For several seasons, the Packers have struggled to defend the run. Partly, their inability to slow opposing rushers resulted from inconsistent defensive line play. That has begun to change in 2015. A healthy (and noticeably slimmed down) B.J. Raji has provided the defense with a capable anchor. Mike Pennel has taken a step in his second season and now looks comfortable taking on two gaps at a time. And, unsurprisingly, Mike Daniels continues to wreak havoc at defensive end. This group held Marshawn Lynch to just 41 yards on 15 carries. While they are unlikely to reproduce that effort against Jamaal Charles, they could keep the versatile running back somewhat in check on Monday night.
Right now, no team may have a better home-field advantage than the Packers at Lambeau Field. The team hasn’t lost at home since 2013, a season where Aaron Rodgers missed roughly half the year with a broken collarbone. And the wins have come against top flight competition. In addition to last week’s victory over the Seahawks, the Packers have defeated the Cowboys, Lions and Patriots during this stretch.
A team with a top-flight quarterback always has a chance to win, and no team has a QB better than reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers may actually be playing at a higher level than last season. Through two games, he has completed 76.8 percent of his passes and thrown five touchdowns against zero picks. Rodgers’ insane efficiency must regress eventually, but even then he should remain the most difficult quarterback for opposing teams to defend.
Join the debate. Who covers on Monday night: Chiefs or Packers?
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