In what would have been one of the most highly anticipated showdowns of the NFL season, the Kansas City Chiefs host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football in Week 8. This matchup, however, has lost some of its luster with the recent knee injury to Chiefs quarterback and reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes.
The best handicappers opened Kansas City as a field-goal underdog at home and that line has since climbed to KC +4. If you’re betting on the NFL odds for Packers at Chiefs, these are the angles and edges you should be factoring into your handicapping.
Green means go
After some early growing pains under new head coach Matt LaFleur and his system, the Packers are picking up steam on the offensive side of the ball. Green Bay has won three straight contests, averaging 33 points on 421 yards per game during this streak. The Cheeseheads exploded for 42 points in last Sunday’s win over Oakland, with Aaron Rodgers posting 429 yards passing and five touchdowns.
The Chiefs defense remains the team’s biggest weakness, giving up 377.4 yards per game with most of those gains coming on the ground. Kansas City has watched opponents bulldoze their way downfield with the rushing attack – picking up five yards per carry. That’s allowed those foes to dominate time with the football and park the Chiefs offense on the sideline.
The Packers aren’t the best running team in the league, picking up just over 99 yards per game, but do have capable rushing options in Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. And with injuries in the receiving corps – Devante Adams and Geronimo Allison both banged up – Green Bay may be forced to ground it out a little more Sunday night.
Making up for Mahomes
While the original prognosis for Mahomes’ dislocated knee cap was at least four weeks before seeing action, the Chiefs passer was back at practice in a limited capacity this week leaving bettors scratching their heads over his status for Week 8.
Even Kansas City coach Andy Reid hinted that Mahomes isn’t off the table for this game, but it would seem more than likely that backup Matt Moore would get the nod. Moore performed well enough in relief of the injured Mahomes last Thursday, going 10-for-19 passing for 117 yards and a touchdown in the win over Denver.
Kansas City will likely look to the rushing game to keep the pressure off Moore and limit his exposure to a very aggressive Green Bay stop unit. The Chiefs, who ranked among the lightest rushing offense in the NFL, ran the ball more than 46% of the time after Mahomes went down, leaning on Damien Williams and LeSean McCoy. That may not be enough to keep pace if the Packers pass game keeps clicking.
The Over/Under for Sunday night is sitting at 47.5 points – a relatively tall total given Mahomes is likely out of action.
Kansas City is 4-3 Over/Under on the season but has played Under in two of its last three games and has stayed below the number in 51 of its last 77 games inside Arrowhead Stadium.
Green Bay also enters Week 8 at 4-3 Over/Under, having played Over the total in four of its last five games. The Packers have topped the total in 19 of their previous 26 road games.