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Week 3 Preview: Chiefs at Packers

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Kansas City Chiefs (1-1) at Green Bay Packers (2-0)

Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET, at Lambeau Field, Green Bay – TV: ESPN

*TV announcers: Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters

*Keys to the game: The Chiefs’ zone scheme can chew up yards between the tackles with the Packers thinned by injuries inside. Jamaal Charles, who fumbled to lose last week’s game, holds the key again this week. Kansas City’s plan is to squeeze the ball with a West Coast passing attack centered on talented TE Travis Kelce, a matchup problem for most teams. While the Chiefs are moving the ball efficiently, their red-zone woes are problematic facing the Packers.

Chiefs OLBs Justin Houston and Tamba Hali don’t have much time to get to Aaron Rodgers, who beat the Seahawks with his feet last week and will pick on nickel CB Jamell Fleming – vs. slot dynamo Randall Cobb — and SS Ron Parker. RB Eddie Lacy (ankle) may be a game-time decision, but James Starks has been reliable as a spot starter.

*Matchup to watch – Packers WR James Jones vs. Chiefs CB Marcus Peters: Fearless first-year pro Peters had a pick-six last week and spent most of the game in Demaryius Thomas’ back pocket before floundering in the fourth quarter. James isn’t as big or smooth athletically but cleary has synched quickly with Rodgers (three TDs) since rejoining the Packers.

*Player spotlight – Chiefs DL Jaye Howard: A possible late-bloomer originally drafted by the Seahawks, Howard, in waves with Mike DeVito and Dontari Poe, ate the Broncos alive at nose tackle and defensive end last week. If he’s as relentless this week, Rodgers will be forced toward the edges where defensive coordinator Bob Sutton has rushers crashing.

*Fast facts: Chiefs QB Alex Smith was the No. 1 overall pick of the 49ers in 2005 (Rodgers went 24th) when Packers coach Mike McCarthy served as San Francisco’s offensive coordinator. … Rodgers has thrown 43 TDs, no INTs with a 124 passer rating in his past 18 games at home, including playoffs.

WHO WILL WIN AND WHY

Following a blue print created by the Bears in Week 1, the Chiefs slow the pace to stick around and keep fresh bodies coming at QB Aaron Rodgers. The Packers find the winning mix again to deal the Chiefs another painful defeat.

*Our pick: Packers 33-27.


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