Thursday, December 2, 2021

Packers without Rodgers as they visit Mahomes, Chiefs

Green Bay (7-1) (4-4) in Kansas City

Sunday, 4:25 PM EDT, Fox

Opening Line: Heads to 1, according to FanDuel Sportsbook

Against the spread: Green Bay 7-1; Kansas City 2-6.

Series Record: The Majors lead 7-5-1.

Final Meeting: On October 27, 2019, the Packers beat the Chiefs 31-24 in Kansas City.

Last week: The Packers beat the Cardinals 24-21; The Chiefs defeated the Giants 20-17.

Packers Offenses: Overall (22), Rush (17), Pass (22), Scoring (T16)

Packers Defense: Overall (7), Rush (17), Pass (6), Scoring (9)

Main Offenses: Overall (4), Rush (14), Pass (5), Scoring (9)

Chief Defense: Overall (29), Rush (22), Pass (25), Scoring (25)

Turnover Differential: Packers Plus-8; Chief Minus-11.

Packers player to watch: QB Jordan Love. Could it be someone else? The Packers learned on Wednesday that Aaron Rodgers was going by the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols, putting him on the back burner for at least a week. This means that Love, who was selected in the first round of the 2020 draft, is expected to make his career debut. And while Rodgers is the current NFL MVP and one of the game’s most accomplished quarterbacks, his understudy has thrown just seven regular-season passes in his short career.

Key players to watch: LB Nick Bolton has led the Chiefs over the past two weeks, while taking charge for veteran linebacker Anthony Hitchens, who has been ruled out with a triceps injury. Bolton made 15 tackles with four to lose to Tennessee, then made 11 stops with a quarterback hit as the Chiefs rallied to defeat the Giants on Monday night.

Main match: Packers RB Aaron Jones against KC Run Defense. Jones will undoubtedly be Love’s best friend against Kansas City, taking some of the pressure off the young QB to win the game through the air. Jones will face the league’s 22nd-ranked run defense, which allowed more than 100 yards on the field for the fifth time in six matches.

Major injuries: Rodgers was included in the COVID-19 list by backup CB Isaac Yiadom. OT David Bakhtiari hasn’t made his 2021 debut even though he has been practicing with the Packers again after tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament on December 31. CB Kevin King (shoulder/back) has missed Green Bay’s last three games but has been practicing this week, and DL Jack Heflin (disease), Kingsley KK (concussion) and Dean Lowry (hamstring) took practice on Wednesday. did not do. … Hitchens returned to practice for Kansas City this week, but RT Mike Reimers (knee) was out for the second straight week.

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Series Notes: The Packers have won three of the last four meetings in a series that began with their victory over Kansas City in the famous Super Bowl. The Chiefs dominated the series in the 1990s, but Green Bay has won both meetings since former assistant Andy Reid took over at Kansas City.

Stats and stuff: The Packers have won seven straight since the season began with a 38-3 loss to the Saints in Jacksonville, Florida. … it will be the first game Rodgers has missed since 2017, when he played just seven games due to a collarbone injury. … Packers WR Randall Cobb is coming off his second two-TD performance of the season. … The Packers have a positive turnover margin in seven straight games, matching the longest streak in the team’s history. … Packers outside linebackers coach Mike Smith served on Reid’s staff at Kansas City from 2016-18. Smith was also on Texas Tech’s coaching staff when Chief QB Patrick Mahomes played there. … Paul, the father of the Packers’ offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, held a similar position with the Chiefs from 1993–97. … Chiefs WR Tyrek Hill needed three TD catches to pass Chris Burford (55) for third place in franchise history. Tony Gonzalez (76) and Otis Taylor (57) top the list. Hill is also third with Jamal Charles (64) for total TD in career. Priest Holmes tops that list with 83. … Chiefs LB Willie Gay Jr. has intercepted back-to-back games after starting the season on injured reserve. … TE Travis is third on the Chiefs’ career list with Kelsey Holmes scoring 8,447 yards from scrimmage.

Fantasy Tip: Feeling Lucky? Love in the weekly league is going at a bargain price and going up against a defense that has left big yards for everyone. But a safe bet would be Jones and backup AJ Dillon, both of whom should try very quickly as Green Bay tries to take some pressure off Love on Sunday.

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More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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