Green Bay vs. Kansas City,
12/18/2011 13:00 EDT,
Score: 14 - 19
Point Spread: +14½/-115 Kansas City
1 Unit on Kansas City Chiefs +14.5
The Packers have won their six home games by an average of 22.0 points but have won their seven road games by just 8.0 points on average. None of their seven road wins have come by more than 12 points, and I expect this trend to continue Sunday afternoon.
The Chiefs are 2-3 in their last five home games, but two of those losses came by just 7 and 4 points to the Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers, who are playing about as well as anyone right now.
Kansas City’s success as an underdog can’t be ignored. It is 7-2 ATS in its last 9 games as an underdog and 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games as a home underdog. In addition, it is 12-4 ATS in its last 16 games as an underdog of 10.5 points or more. The Packers are just 1-5 ATS in their last 6 road games as a favorite of 10.5 points or more.
Veteran QB Kyle Orton is expected to start for the Chiefs. He gives them a good chance to move the football against Green Bay’s poor pass defense, which ranks 31st in the NFL with 288.7 yards allowed per game.
The Packers would like to run the table, and in all likelihood will finish the regular season undefeated, but last week’s injury to star wideout Greg Jennings will cause them to proceed with caution. Health is the most important thing at this point, so don’t be surprised if coach McCarthy elects to rest some players in the second half of games down the stretch. This opens up the possibility of a backdoor cover (if it is needed), especially when Green Bay is laying the most points it’s laid on the road all season.
Rodgers has other weapons, but Jennings will be missed. He has a team-best 67 receptions for 949 yards and nine touchdowns. It’s hard to believe the offense will be the same well-oiled machine in the first week without him, especially against a Kansas City defense that’s a respectable 10th against the pass with 209.3 yards allowed per game. We’ll take the Chiefs.