NFL Opposites Meet … Game-Day Cup O’Chiefs

It would be hard to find two teams among the 32 that make up the NFL that are going in opposite directions more than the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Two franchises that are forever tied together as participants in what would become the first Super Bowl meet on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. The Packers are going up like a rocket – they are the defending Super Bowl champions, winners of 19 games in a row and with a chance to finish the season with an undefeated record.

The Chiefs on the other hand are falling through the NFL’s elevator shaft. They’ve fired their coach, changed their quarterback and face three games to play out the 2011 season and wrap up what has been a major disappointment.

Kickoff is noon and the television coverage is on FOX-TV.

Odds makers have made the Packers 14-point favorites in a game where they may be able to name their score. They’ve won their last 19 games by an average of 14 points, but the Chiefs are a team that hasn’t scored 14 points in a game since Halloween night.

“There’s no way you can get around the fact that they are a very good team,” said Romeo Crennel as he prepared for his first game as head coach of the Chiefs. “Still, that’s the thing about the NFL and athletics in general; you’ve got to play the game. And when you go play the game you just don’t know what’s going to happen and that’s the thing that makes it so interesting.

“As good as the Green Bay Packers are, I believe they put their pants on one leg at a time just like everybody else does. Now they play pretty good once they get those pants on but still our guy’s have been able to get up for the good teams, they’ve played hard and pretty decently against good teams so I think they’ll get up for this team and I think they’ll play hard. If we can do enough of the right things then we might have the chance to surprise some people.”

Surprise people? It would be the greatest shock in the league for the 2011 season. Up to this point, the most inexplicable outcome from a game this season came on when the St. Louis Rams beat the New Orleans Saints. That happened on October 30 at the Dome in St. Louis, where the 0-6 Rams somehow beat the 5-2 Saints 31-21. New Orleans was coming off a 62-7 victory over Indianapolis, while St. Louis had just lost to Dallas 34-7.

How did they make that happen? It’s a formula that the Chiefs must follow if they hope to have any opportunity to fight for a victory. Against the Saints, the Rams ran the ball (31 carries on 183 yards), a defensive score on an interception return, a big play from special teams with a blocked punt, and they finished plus-2 on sacks and plus-1 on turnovers.

Short of a plot like that, the Chiefs have no chance to shock the world and end the Packers perfect season or 19-game winning streak.

Mike McCarthy and his team do not plan to make things any easier for the Chiefs. They need just one more victory to tie up home-field advantage through the playoffs. Although four starters will sit out today’s game, they are not resting players with the idea of preparing for the post-season run.

They are just playing Game No. 14, followed by No. 15 and 16.

“Obviously we’re in a great position,” said NT B.J. Raji. “We’re 13-0. We have a lot of things wrapped up. But ultimately, you never accomplish anything great by being scared. We have an option to go either way, but if you want to make history and do some things that haven’t been done in a while, you have to take a chance.”

The Packers leader Aaron Rodgers does not want his team to take its foot off the gas pedal.

“I’ll just say that I think, as players, we would probably like to finish this thing out if we get a chance,” Rodgers said. “And we have a chance to maybe keep the Bears and the Lions out of the playoffs like the Bears tried to do to us last year.”

Other teams have recently faced the same dilemma, Indianapolis in 2009 and New England in 2007. Players from both teams were unhappy when the coaches started worrying about the playoffs.

“If you have an opportunity to go perfect, why wouldn’t you want to go perfect?” said Packers WR James Jones.

While the Packers try to go perfect, the Chiefs try to find a way to win three games and finish the season at .500. When he fired Haley early in the week, team chairman Clark Hunt talked about the team getting together and still fighting for their chance of a spot in the playoffs, no matter that to figure out those chances would require a NASA computer and a team of scientists.

Essentially at this point, the Chiefs are playing for pride.

“We are professionals and we have a job to do,” said CB Brandon Flowers. “We are going to go out and play the game and try to win. They (the Packers) are not unbeatable. We can win if everybody does their jobs.

“That’s what we need to do. That’s all that matters. It’s not about three games, it’s about one game.”

2 Responses to “NFL Opposites Meet … Game-Day Cup O’Chiefs”

  • December 18, 2011  - johnfromfairfax says:

    And the headline in the local rag was that Gruden and Cowher top fans’ wish lists… The beat goes on. Good luck Chiefs. I’ll still be watching. Call me a realist but let’s not expect too much. But hey, at least we have an actual NFL QB even if he’s been found wanting before and has a busted up finger. If we pull off the ultimate upset maybe he can raise his crooked finger and symbolically show we’re one half of the way there to being number one. Go Chiefs!

  • December 18, 2011  - Chuck says:

    This is the “ultimate measuring stick” as to just where the Chiefs really are. If it ends up really ugly then Chiefs fans will know that we have a long winding road ahead of us. Wish we had Jaamal as he is such a “difference maker” in games like this. I don’t think the Packers defense is all that great.

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