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Monday Night Football Picks: Kansas City Chiefs at Green Bay Packers Odds
by Alan Matthews

Have you seen the college football and NFL schedules this week? They both leave a lot to be desired. Thus, I would argue that Monday night’s matchup between Kansas City and Green Bay is the best of the NFL games in Week 3. Yes, I know Falcons-Cowboys features a pair of 2-0 teams, and I previewed that here at Doc’s, but that game isn’t all that great with Brandon Weeden starting for Dallas at QB.

I am interested to see how both the Chiefs and Packers play here. Kansas City (1-1) comes off probably the most crushing loss of the early season for any team. But that was on Thursday in Week 2, so the Chiefs had plenty of time to prepare for Aaron Rodgers and Co. Green Bay (2-0) looks like clearly the best team in the NFC, and the Packers are going to run away with the North Division again. But might the Pack be flat here off a huge win last Sunday night against Seattle? I took the Packers and gave the points in that one, so that was a win. The Packers are now +425 Super Bowl favorites at 5dimes.

Chiefs at Packers Betting Story Lines

Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles is one of my favorite running backs in the NFL, and he’s one of the best. And in Week 2 against Denver, Charles had 21 rushes for 125 yards and a touchdown. However, he also lost two fumbles. The final one lost the game. Denver tied the score at 24 on a Peyton Manning 19-yard pass to Emmanuel Sanders with 36 seconds left. For some reason, the Chiefs opted to not throw or take a knee on their first down following the kickoff and touchback. Instead, they handed off to Charles, I suppose thinking maybe he breaks a big gain and then you try to throw to get into field-goal range. But Charles was stripped, and it was returned 21 yards by the Broncos’ Bradley Roby for the winning score. Just a stunner.

So, what was Chiefs coach Andy Reid thinking? “So we were going to try to bust one and if we could get within a field-goal shot – you know, you get to the minus-40 or plus-40 – you have an opportunity for maybe a shot there. The way (Charles) was running, he was running great and I thought that was a good play. Didn’t work out so good.” Reid has been criticized for some clock management issues in the past. That was definitely not the right call.

Green Bay got payback for choking away last season’s NFC title game in Seattle by beating the visiting Seahawks 27-17 in Week 2. Now there’s no way a possible title game rematch won’t be at Lambeau Field with the Packers already holding a two-game lead over Seattle and the tiebreaker. The Seahawks led this one 17-16 with under 10 minutes left before Aaron Rodgers hit Richard Rodgers on a 5-yard TD and then converted the 2-point try. Mason Crosby’s field goal with 1:56 left was the clincher.

The Pack won that game despite losing No. 1 running back Eddie Lacy to a sprained right ankle on just his third carry. He wouldn’t return. James Starks filled in well, carrying 20 times for 95 yards. It’s still not clear if Lacy will play Monday, but having that extra day can only help.

Last meeting between these teams was a 19-14 Chiefs home win on Dec. 18, 2011. I remember that game so well. Green Bay was 13-0, had won 19 straight games overall and was an 11-point favorite. Aaron Rodgers was 17-for-35 for 235 yards and a touchdown, and he ran 8 yards for another touchdown with 2:12 left in the game. But the Packers, who were without leading receiver Greg Jennings and leading rusher Starks due to injuries, were unable to recover the onside kick. Kyle Orton was the Chiefs’ QB then, and they were only 5-8 entering the game.

Kansas City remains without cornerback Sean Smith, whose three-game suspension for substance abuse expires after this game.

Chiefs at Packers Betting Odds and Trends

The Packers are 7.5-point favorites (+120) with the total at 49. Green Bay is -310 on the moneyline and Kansas City +255. On the alternate lines, the Packers are -7 (+100) and -6.5 (-120). The Chiefs are 1-1 against the spread this season and 2-0 “over/under.” The Packers are 2-0 ATS and 1-1 O/U.

Kansas City is 4-1 ATS in its past five on Monday. The Chiefs are 5-2 ATS in their past seven following a loss. Green Bay is 4-1 ATS in its past five after a win. It is 1-4 ATS in its past five on Monday. The under is 5-1 in K.C.’s past six on Monday. It is 5-2 in its past seven on the road. The over is 8-2 in Green Bay’s past 10 in September. It is 7-3 in the Pack’s past 10 at home.

Chiefs at Packers Betting Prediction

This is the 50th game in Mike McCarthy’s 160-game coaching tenure in which the Packers are favored by a touchdown or more. McCarthy’s record of 40-9 as a prohibitive favorite includes 17 victories in the last 18 of those games. The Packers are 4-1 all-time under McCarthy at home on Monday nights.

For Kansas City to have a chance, it has to pressure Rodgers. And the Chiefs are second in the NFL through Week 2 with eight sacks. But they are No. 23 against the pass, allowing 268.0 yards per game. And is this the game a Chiefs receiver finds the end zone? No Chiefs wide receiver has caught a TD pass since the 45-44 wild-card playoff defeat against Indianapolis on Jan. 4, 2014. I say yes.

I have two projections here. At 6.5, I’d take Green Bay. But at 7.5, I’d go Kansas City. Go ‘over’ the total.