If like me, you spent Monday night watching the premier matchup of the Kansas City Chiefs playing against the Los Angeles Rams in their home park, you’re probably a bit confused. Confused by how those offenses made it look so easy to score on almost every possession. The “over” betting line on this game was a lofty 63 points, a number these teams blew away on their way to a whopping combined total of 105 points. Meanwhile, the Packers’ offense, with All-World quarterback Aaron Rodgers is playing like they have been asleep “under” the covers for the last few weeks.
No doubt, those teams have playmakers on offense, but so do the Green Bay Packers. Both KC and LA have very young quarterbacks that really should not be having this kind of success so early in their careers, whereas the Packers and Rodgers should be playing like a well-oiled machine. Why is the reality different from what you would expect?
In short, the answer is coaching.
Andy Reid and Kyle Shanahan have been able to feature their playmakers and get the ball in their hands while still showing a high level of creativity. While defenses may know who the primary targets on both those teams are, things are not made easy for them by running slow-developing, predictable plays that are easy to defend. This is an egregious problem for the Packers, especially in situations where just a few yards are needed to gain a first down and keep a drive going. To have a third and two late in the game and not let Aaron Jones have two cracks at gaining a first down, taking time off the clock and extending a potential game-winning drive is some terrible decision-making.
The Rams and Chiefs don’t forget about their main playmakers in crucial situations or for long periods of time as the Packers have done with Aaron Jones. The fact that it took Mike McCarthy seven or eight or games just to realize what he had in Aaron Jones smells of a coach who thinks he knows more than he does or is too stubborn and slow to change preconceived notions he may have had about specific players.
Now the Packers face what is pretty much a do-or-die situation this Sunday Night. They travel to Minnesota to play their division rivals with a chance to re-route their season. A scan of popular NFL betting sites shows the Packers as 3.5 underdogs to beat the Vikings, a line that in my opinion gives the struggling Packers too much credit.