The Green Bay Packers’ Week 3 game is against the Kansas City Chiefs. Here’s an early look at that game at Lambeau Field.
Series: The Packers are just 2-7-1 in regular-season play. That .250 winning percentage is Green Bay’s worst against any opponent.
Last time: With interim coach Romeo Crennel guiding the Chiefs, Green Bay’s run at a perfect 2011 season went up in flames with a 19-14 loss at Kansas City. The Packers had won their first 13 games and were on a 19-game winning streak. It was a shocking setback for the Packers, who obliterated the franchise record with 560 points and hadn’t been held to less than 24 points all season. They managed just five first downs.
Noteworthy: Green Bay hasn’t hosted Kansas City since 2003, a 40-34 overtime victory by the Chiefs. Kansas City has won six of the last seven, with Green Bay’s lone win in that span being a 33-22 victory at Kansas City in 2007. The Chiefs are 20-12 since bringing in coach Andy Reid and quarterback Alex Smith. It’s their first back-to-back winning seasons since 2005 and 2006. They probably would have made the playoffs had Dwayne Bowe (no touchdown catches) or the cornerbacks (one interception) been more productive. An excellent defense finished fifth in sacks, led by All-Pro Justin Houston’s league-high 22. A more pressing matter is All-Pro safety Eric Berry’s battle with Hodgkin lymphoma. He has completed his treatment but his career — with the Chiefs, in particular, due to contract issues or in the NFL, in general — is on hold.
Offensive rankings: 16th in points (22.1 per game). 25th in yards (318.8 per game). 29th in passing (198.9 per game). 10th in rushing (119.9 per game).
Defensive rankings: 2nd in points (17.6 per game). 7th in yards (330.5 per game). 2nd in passing (203.3 per game). 28th in rushing (127.3 per game).
2015 Comings and Goings
Draft: Needing a major upgrade at cornerback, the Chiefs rolled the dice on ex-Washington star Marcus Peters with their first-round pick. Peters was kicked off the team as a junior and spent the pre-draft process trying to convince teams that he had matured. The Chiefs further bolstered their secondary with another playmaking corner, Oregon State’s Steven Nelson, in the third round. Peters intercepted 11 passes in less than three seasons and Nelson intercepted eight passes in two seasons. Kansas City went local with Missouri lineman Mitch Morse in the second and grabbed big, fast Georgia receiver Chris Conley in the third. Both might wind up starting at some point as rookies.
2015 Personnel in Focus
Pro Football Focus, that is. PFF has a color-coded rankings system for each team’s 24 “starters,” with the extra player to account for a key substitution package such as a third cornerback or third wide receiver. Green Bay has four blue/elite starters (Rodgers, Cobb, Nelson and Sitton), six green/high-quality starters (Lang, Lacy, Hayward, Peppers, Daniels and Matthews), four green/good starters (Linsley, Bulaga, Shields and Burnett), six yellow/average starters (Bakhtiari, Quarless, Kuhn, Hyde, Perry and Clinton-Dix) and four orange/below-average starters (Adams, Guion, Raji and Barrington). The Packers don’t have any starters rated poor and they don’t have any rookies projected to be starters.
The Chiefs have ...
Blue/elite (2): FB Anthony Sherman, OLB Justin Houston.
Dark green/high quality (3): RB Jamal Charles, TE Travis Kelce, ILB Derrick Johnson.
Red/Poor (0): None.
Purple/Rookie (0): None.
QB Alex Smith, on offseason improvement by the offense: "It would be tough to even compare those (previous) years. From last year, I think a huge step, a significant step (forward.) I think without a doubt as far as what we've got in, the amount of football that we have in this time of year, no question it's probably not even comparable to the last couple years. So, we're able to do more. A greater percentage of our offense is in and I think we've been able to go out and execute it more than we have in the last two years. We've been able to make adjustments on the fly, do different things on the field, which I think kind of comes with that with guys knowing the system.”
G Ben Grubbs, on his new team: “I would say the one thing that excites me is really just the character of these guys, we don’t have any selfish guys. We have a lot of talent on the offensive side of the ball. Everybody is being a team player, we love and care for one another. That was something that I really appreciated once I came here. It really is a family environment.”
Coach Andy Reid, on OLB Justin Houston, who has not signed his $13.1 million franchise tender: “(Both sides) are continuing to talk, and whether he’s here or not, that just depends on how things go. So, we’ll continue to move on and hope that he is here at the beginning of camp.”
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.