bJustin Houston and the Kansas City Chiefs (1-1) are heading up to Green Bay, Wisconsin to face the Green Bay Packers (2-0) at Lambeau Field on Monday Night Football for week three. Here is a look at some of the key matchups to watch coming into this week's contest.
As previously mentioned, Houston has totaled three sacks on the season, and the Chiefs as a whole have gotten eight sacks all together this season. Allen Bailey has two sacks, while Mike DeVito, Jaye Howard, and Derrick Johnson all have one sack each. With the Packers offensive line hurting due to the injury to Bryan Bulaga, it is going to be critical to stop the Chiefs pass rush. Pictured above, Don Barclay is going to be the man to get Bulaga's start at right tackle and it will be up to the offensive line to keep Aaron Rodgers on his feet and off the ground. The rest of the offensive line is intact though, with T.J. Lang coming in at right guard, Corey Linsley at center, Josh Sitton at left guard, and David Bakhtiari at left tackle. These five men have done a wonderful job to start the season, as they have only given up a total of two sacks so far this season. One of these two statistics will have to give, and just like last week against the Seattle Seahawks, Rodgers' mobility could be a large key to success as he can extend plays with his legs and go downfield if he needs to.
As always, turnovers are going to be a major part of this contest. Right now Green Bay's turnover differential is at a +2, as they have two defensive interceptions, one each for Clay Matthews and Jayrone Elliott, and then they also have a fumble recovery as Micah Hyde recovered a fumble that was forced by Elliott. The Packers only turnover so far this season is a James Starks fumble. Meanwhile for the Chiefs, their turnover differential is -2, what might be oddest though, is that Alex Smith has thrown two interceptions already this season, and Jamaal Charles has fumbled the ball twice, including his late game fumble from Thursday Night Football in week two that was picked up by Bradley Roby for the game winning touchdown with less then a minute left in the game.
A key matchup to watch when the Chiefs have the ball is going to be Travis Kelce against the Packers safeties, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Morgan Burnett. Kelce is by far Smith's favorite target in the passing game, and with the injuries the Packers have had at linebacker, it will likely be up to the safeties in order to make sure they slow down the passing game. On the other side of the ball, it will be interesting to see if the Chiefs defense has Marcus Peters shadow Randall Cobb or just stay in one specific position. Peters, the rookie from the Washington Huskies, has been wonderful so far this season as he is tied for the Chiefs lead with 12 tackles and also has two interceptions. He even returned one for a touchdown last week against Peyton Manning.
One of the newer injuries that could impact this game is when Eddie Lacy got hurt early in the game on Sunday night. This writer thinks that despite the fact that the x-rays came back negative and they are also saying that he did not have a high ankle sprain, that Lacy will be expected to miss this week and Starks will get his first start of the season.
So, when it comes to the final score of the game, this writer predicts that the Packers will come out on top. They have continued to do well this season at home, and they still have been doing really well against the opposing pass rush, even with the injury to Bulaga and playing the Seahawks without him last week. The Packers will be able to come out victoriously, with a final score of Packers 38, Chiefs 24.