Packers-Chiefs: Game plans, matchups

Green Bay's defensive backfield vs. Gonzalez; Crosby vs. Rayner

The schedule makers put Green Bay in the unenviable position of playing two road games in less than a week. The last time the Packers had to head back out after playing away on a Monday night was in 2002, and they throttled a quality AFC opponent in New England. This year's youthful road warriors figure to be up to the short turnaround, but issues with fatigue could surface on the heels of surviving a tussle in the thin air of Denver.

Striking a balance between the pass and the run for the second straight game is the aim for the Packers offense, which will be tested by the Chiefs' pressure-first pass defense. Given Kansas City's league-leading lot defending in the red zone (26.7 percent) and the Packers' penchant for bogging down inside the 20 (45.5 percent success rate), settling for field goals wouldn't be a bad thing if the game's a defensive struggle.

The Green Bay defense is faring much better against the run than the pass, so it can turn the Chiefs into a one-dimensional attack by putting Larry Johnson back in his early-season funk and stifling the change-of-pace runs by Priest Holmes.

Packers defense vs. Chiefs TE Tony Gonzalez --

Kansas City won't have any excuse not to try to constantly put the football in the hands of its top receiver. The Packers' beleaguered pass defense has been akin to a punching bag for opposing tight ends. Strongside linebacker Brady Poppinga is the biggest liability in coverage. Safeties Atari Bigby and Nick Collins have been sore spots of late as well.

Packers K Mason Crosby vs. Chiefs K Dave Rayner --
The two strong-legged combatants in an intense training-camp battle in Green Bay reunite. Crosby barely prevailed, but the fact that the Packers invested a draft pick (sixth round) in him made Rayner expendable.

With a low-scoring game a good possibility, the outcome could hinge on which kicker blinks -- or doesn't blink -- first.

Kansas City's best chance at keeping Brett Favre and the ninth-ranked Packers offense off the field is with a ball-control game, but that won't be easy against the 11th-ranked Green Bay rushing defense that is yielding only 98 yards a game. The Chiefs are averaging only 29:42 in time of possession, and they rank 30th in first downs.

Defensively, the Chiefs got to Favre in 2003 at Lambeau with a pass rush that wasn't as good as the one Jared Allen and Co. are showing this year. They have to mix coverages and blitzes and keep Favre off-balance -- never an easy thing to execute.

Packers LDE Aaron Kampman vs. Chiefs RTs Chris Terry or Kyle Turley

A huge matchup advantage to Green Bay. Either Terry or Turley will need help, which means either TE Tony Gonzalez with a chip block or blocking TE Jason Dunn on Kampman's side.

Packers WRs Greg Jennings and Donald Driver vs. Chiefs CBs Ty Law and Patrick Surtain
If the Chiefs can control Green Bay's running game with the upfront seven, Kansas City's corners should get over-the-top help from their safeties. They'll need it.

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