3 storylines: Packers vs. Chiefs
Each Tuesday, Press-Gazette Media will look ahead with three storylines for the Green Bay Packers’ next game. This week, the opponent is the Kansas City Chiefs. Here’s a glimpse of what to watch for when the Packers host the Chiefs on "Monday Night Football:"
1. So we meet again: Here’s a rematch 50 years in the making. The Packers will meet the team they beat in Super Bowl I, back when professional football’s championship game was a matchup between the NFL and AFL. The Packers will have members of that Super Bowl I team in attendance Monday. With the Super Bowl celebrating its golden anniversary this year, a rematch of the original teams is especially significant.
The teams' last regular-season meeting came in 2011, when the Packers took a 13-0 record into Kansas City and left with a 19-14 defeat.
In modern times, the Packers and Chiefs have been annual preseason opponents. The two teams had alternated venues for their preseason finale since 2010. This year was the Chiefs’ turn, but a scheduling conflict with the Kansas City Royals (whose stadiums share a parking lot) prevented that from continuing this year. Instead, they will meet during Week 3 of the regular season.
2. Packers connections: The obvious connection between the Packers and Chiefs is at quarterback. You may remember Alex Smith as the quarterback the San Francisco 49ers drafted No. 1 in 2005, allowing Aaron Rodgers to slip all the way down to No. 24, right into the Packers' lap. Smith is the Chiefs’ quarterback now, and though he’s had a long and productive career, he’ll forever be remembered as the wrong choice at the top of the 2005 NFL draft.
Familiarity runs deeper than quarterback, though. Chiefs general manager John Dorsey is a Ted Thompson disciple, having spent two decades with the Packers. He was Thompson’s director of college scouting for seven years and director of football operations in 2012 before being hired by the Chiefs in 2013. There’s also Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who was a Packers offensive assistant coach (and later offensive line and quarterbacks coach) from 1992 to 1998. For two teams from separate conferences, there’s no shortage of Packers connections with the Chiefs.
3. Containing Charles: It’s safe to say Jamaal Charles will be a little extra motivated Monday. The last time he carried the football, Charles fumbled inside the final minute of the Chiefs' game against the Denver Broncos. It was returned for a shocking, game-winning touchdown. Charles is one of the best running backs in the league, with at least 1,100 yards in each of his five seasons that weren’t shortened by injury. The Packers’ run defense did a magnificent job against Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, keeping him in check for 60 minutes on Sunday night. If they’re able to do the same against a ticked-off Charles, it will be a big step for a run defense that started the season looking shaky in Chicago.