Green Bay Packers (13-0) at Kansas City Chiefs (5-8)
KICKOFF: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
SURFACE: Natural grass
TV: FOX, Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Packers won't fret with WR Greg Jennings out of the lineup, but it might implore teams to play more man coverage. QB Aaron Rodgers will get the ball in the hands of RBs James Starks and Ryan Grant to cool the pass-rushing jets of OLBs Tamba Hali (nine sacks) and rookie Justin Houston. Though he was catchless last week, the Chiefs have no answer for TE Jermichael Finley in coverage. QB Kyle Orton (finger) will start for the Chiefs if healthy over rookie Ricky Stanzi. Both are accurate on short, intermediate throws but can expect to face an ever-changing mix of personnel designed to keep them guessing and confine the Chiefs' pedestrian running backs.
FAST FACTS: The Packers are plus-20 in turnover margin. ... The Chiefs' last rushing touchdown came on Halloween vs. San Diego.
BY THE NUMBERS: 57 — The Packers have scored 57 touchdowns, a single-season team record. 5 — Games in which the Packers have scored more than 41 points this season. The NFL's highest-scoring team needs 124 points in the final three games (average of 41.3) to break the single-season league record of 589 by the 2007 New England Patriots. 12 — Romeo Crennel is the 12th head coach in franchise history, but only the second to take over during the season. Back in 1977, Paul Wiggin was fired on Halloween Day after seven games and replaced by staff member Tom Bettis. In comparison, their three division rivals that all began football life in 1960 have had 14 head coaches (Denver and San Diego) and 18 (Oakland). 0.19 — Yards per play by the Chiefs, under quarterback Tyler Palko, during the first half last week against the Jets. The Chiefs produced 4 yards on 21 plays.
TEAM STATISTICAL RANKINGS: Packers offense — First in scoring with 35.8 points per game (third in total yards, 27th rushing, third passing). Chiefs defense — Tied 23rd in scoring with 23.5 points allowd per game (15th in total yards, 26th rushing, 10th passing. Packers defense — 15th in scoring with 21.4 points allowed per game (31st in total yards, 12th rushing, 31st passing). Chiefs offense — 31st in scoring with 13.3 points per game (28th in total yards, 15th rushing, 30th passing).
TRENDING CHIEF: In an attempt to get their offense moving and out of its funk, the Chiefs have started using a lot of three-receiver sets, with running back Dexter McCluster effectively giving them a fifth wideout. Less and less are they using the tight end, as Leonard Pope saw only a handful of plays against the Jets and wasn't targeted for a pass in the game. Jake O'Connell has been inactive the last two games. Journeyman Anthony Becht is a blocker and not a factor in the passing game. In fact, tackle Steve Maneri is getting more time as a tight end, the position he played in college.
GAME PLAN: With the Chiefs having scored three touchdowns on their last 72 possessions, Crennel benched Palko in favor of Kyle Orton. Green Bay's likely last trip for a true road game may not come as easy as its previous outing against Orton earlier this season.
The Packers spanked the Broncos 49-23 at Green Bay on Oct. 2, on a day when Green Bay's defense intercepted Orton three times and produced four takeaways. The turnovers were big since Orton otherwise did an adequate job in exploiting the Packers' pass defense for 273 yards and three touchdowns.
Dom Capers backed off on dialing up the pressure on the immobile Orton. Expect Capers to get aggressive with his schemes in an effort to limit the damage that could be done down the field. Green Bay's juggernaut for an offense will be without top receiver Greg Jennings for probably the rest of the regular season because of a knee sprain. No matter since Aaron Rodgers has at least a half-dozen other options to whom to throw the football. The Crennel-led defense will challenge Rodgers and the passing game.
So, the onus might be on head coach/play-caller Mike McCarthy to get Ryan Grant on track a second straight game with running the football, especially if leading rusher James Starks is out again with a nagging ankle injury. The Packers are looking to avoid a letdown at all costs against a sub-.500 team in upheaval, with clinching home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs and moving one win closer to the perfect season are at stake.