1. Nick Athan (Warpaint Illustrated) - Ever since Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers took the reigns from Brett Favre, he's been as consistent as any quarterback in the NFL. What makes him so special?
Bill Huber (Packer Report) - Everything. You name it, Rodgers can do it. I’ll point to two things. One, it’s the mental side of the game. He just never makes a bad read, which is why his interception percentage is the best in NFL history. He kills the blitz because he knows what’s coming and how to beat it. Part of it is preparation and part of it is a photographic memory. At his locker on Thursday, he remembered the exact play call that Favre beat the Chiefs with in overtime in 2007. Second, it’s the mobility and the ability to keep his fundamentals while under pressure. That was never more evident than against Seattle last week. Seattle’s defensive ends got a tremendous push on Green Bay’s offensive tackles throughout the game. Time and again, Rodgers stepped up in the pocket, moved to his left or right and fired a strike.
2. Nick Athan (Warpaint Illustrated) - The Packers offensive line hasn't been at its best this season. With the loss of right tackle Brian Beluga what's been the glue that's held this unit together?
Bill Huber (Packer Report) - The center and guards. From left, that’s guard Josh Sitton, center Corey Linsley and right guard T.J. Lang. I understand that Dallas’ offensive line gets all the accolades, and they’re all well-deserved. But Green Bay’s interior trio takes the back seat to no one. Sitton is an All-Pro. Linsley, who got thrown into the starting lineup at the end of camp due to injury last year, is one of the top young centers in the NFL. And Lang is perenially underrated. Last week against Seattle, Rodgers was able to do his thing because Seattle’s defensive tackles couldn’t get anywhere against Sitton, Lang and Linsley. They’ll obviously have a huge role this week. Kansas City’s edge rushers are tremendous and Dontari Poe has the potential to get push up the middle. That’s not exactly a quarterback’s best friend.
3. Nick Athan (Warpaint Illustrated) - In back-to-back wins to open the season, the Packers have been solid but not flashy. In facing the Chiefs this week, what items concern you the most on both sides of the ball that could be of concern in making it three wins in a row for the Packers?
Bill Huber (Packer Report) - First, it’s Kansas City’s pass rush. Can left tackle David Bakhtiari handle Tamba Hali and can right tackle Don Barclay -- who has replaced the injured Bulaga -- somehow keep the imdomitable Justin Houston at bay? Two, it’s Kansas City’s running game. The Bears blew through Green Bay’s defense with Matt Forte. The Packers, however, scored a decisive win vs. Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch. So, which run defense will show up for Jamaal Charles? And three, it’s Alex Smith. The Packers’ defense thrives on mistakes. Always has under defensive coordinator Dom Capers. Smith might not be great but he doesn’t screw things up too often, either. If Smith doesn’t turn it over, the Chiefs have a good shot.
4. Nick Athan (Warpaint Illustrated) - With the injury to running back Eddie Lacy, the Packers might have to rely on James Starks. Either way though the Chiefs defense is solid against the run. If Lacy isn't 100 percent and can't make the start, can Starks do enough to keep the Chiefs’ defense honest and not tee off on attacking Aaron Rodgers?
Bill Huber (Packer Report) - Starks is a heck of a running back. In 2013, he led the NFL in yards per carry. On Sunday, he rushed for 95 yards on 20 attempts against one of the NFL’s elite run defenses. He’s a slasher with a nose for daylight and the power to explode through tacklers. What’s held him back is his ability to consistently do the other things that a running back must do. Pass protection hasn’t always been a strength. Not because he’s bad at it but he sometimes makes the wrong read. He doesn’t have the best hands on the team, either. His fumble against Seattle would have earned him a night on the bench had it not been for Lacy’s injury. Next man up would be Alonzo Harris, an undrafted rookie from Louisiana-Lafayette. He’s a big man -- listed at 237 pounds -- but couldn’t catch a cold in the preseason.
5. Nick Athan (Warpaint Illustrated) - For some strange reason in recent matchups, the Chiefs have had success with the Packers in Kansas City and on the road in Green Bay. In fact, Kansas City has never lost a game at Lambeau Field. With that said, who wins this rematch of Super Bowl I and what will be the deciding factor in the Packers quest to end that streak?
Bill Huber (Packer Report) - Green Bay is so good at home. It went undefeated at Lambeau Field last season, outscoring its foes by almost 20 points per game, and earned the big win over Seattle on Sunday night. Rodgers, who owns the best passer rating in NFL history, also has the best home passer rating for his career, not to mention the three-best single-season home passer ratings. He hasn’t thrown an interception at home since Dec. 2, 2012. That’s 451 passing attempts and 38 touchdown passes -- both NFL regular-season records. With that, I think I’ll take Rodgers to help the Packers earn their first-ever home win over the Chiefs.