Keys to the game: Chiefs @ Packers

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Sept. 17, 2015; Kansas City, MO: Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) hands off the ball to running back Jamaal Charles (25) against the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Sept. 17, 2015; Kansas City, MO: Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) hands off the ball to running back Jamaal Charles (25) against the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Offensive, defensive and special teams keys of the Kansas City Chiefs against the Green Bay Packers.

OFFENSE

The Chiefs must score touchdowns when they have the ball. Green Bay will; the Chiefs can’t settle for field goals.

In two games, the Packers had 20 offensive possessions and scored points on 11 of them, with six touchdowns.

The Chiefs had 28 possessions, scored eight times with five touchdowns.

Green Bay especially loves to score at Lambeau Field. In their last 10 games at home – all victories – the Packers averaged 31.7 points per game and won by an average of 17 points. They did not score less than 26 points in any of the 10 games and twice went over 50 points. Through the first two games of 2015, the Packers gave up four touchdowns, so Green Bay’s defense is no pushover.

Whether they pick up extra chances from the defense and special teams along with their own possessions, the Chiefs offense needs to score touchdowns.

DEFENSE

Keep Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers contained between the tackles. There are few quarterbacks in the NFL that are playing as well as Rodgers.

Whether it’s dropping back and throwing, or scrambling around to throw, or taking off and running, he’s one of the league’s most dangerous and productive passers.

In the last 18 regular season games, Rodgers is the No. 1 quarterback in passer rating (113.8), touchdown passes (43), games with three TD passes or more (9), touchdown percentage (7.5), touchdown/interception ratio (8.6), games with a passer rating of 120 (8).

In two games this season, he’s thrown 19 passes under pressure, completing 12 and three for touchdowns.

Plus, he’s one of the league’s most productive runners when he pulls the ball down, running for 327 yards in the last 18 regular season games.

Generally, his pass protection has been good (30 sacks in those 18 games, or once every 20 passing attempts.)

The Chiefs, especially outside rushers Justin Houston, Tamba Hali and Dee Ford, must come hard off the edges, but also must maintain their contain position in keeping him from running off, whether to throw or scramble on the run.

Rodgers is the Packers offense, so he’s going to pick up yards and touchdowns. Limiting his options can be quarterback kryptonite for any passer, including Rodgers.

SPECIAL TEAMS

The kicking game must have a complete performance, from kickers, returners and cover men. If the Chiefs have an advantage over the Packers it’s on special teams.

Only Green Bay kicker Mason Crosby has an edge on Cairo Santos, and that’s just in field-goal percentage; on kickoffs, Santos has 10 touchbacks in 11 kickoffs while Crosby has just six touchbacks on 13 kicks.

Chiefs returners De’Anthony Thomas (punt) and Knile Davis (kickoffs) are a notch above the Packers duo of Micah Hyde and rookie Ty Montgomery.
Dustin Colquitt is a far better net-yardage punter than Green Bay’s Tim Masthay.

On coverage units, the Chiefs are tied for third in the league on punts and tied for No. 12 on kickoffs. The Packers are tied for 21st on punt returns and No. 10 on kickoff coverage.

The special teams must bounce back from what was a poor performance against Denver, when they gave up the ball on a punt-return fumble and picked up four penalties. They can’t afford to turn the ball over in the kicking game.

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Bob Gretz is the senior editor for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @BobGretzcom.

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