Before the season started, this looked to be a sensational matchup: Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.
Alas, Mahomes was injured in Thursday’s win at Denver and won’t play the game, but it will still be shown on prime-time because it’s a Sunday Night Football game.
The Packers are on a roll, having won three straight. On Sunday, Green Bay did the Chiefs a favor by crushing the Raiders 42-24 at Lambeau Field.
Each week I take an early look at the Chiefs’ next opponent, and here are five things to know about the Packers, 6-1, ahead of Sunday’s game, which kicks off at 7:20 p.m. and will be broadcast on NBC (Ch. 41):
1. Mr. Rodgers
Green Bay’s rout of the Raiders was the 189th NFL game of Rodgers’ career (including playoffs), but he did something for the first time in his career: He had a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating.
Rodgers completed 25 of 31 passes for 429 yards with five touchdowns. He also ran for a score.
If you wondered if the 35-year-old Rodgers could still sling it, well, here’s your answer:
For the season, Rodgers has completed 64.8% of his passes for 2,019 yards, 13 touchdowns and just a pair of interceptions.
2. Who’s catching the ball?
Among the receiving corps, Marquez Valdes-Scantling is the Packers’ leader in yardage (416), but Davante Adams has the most catches (25).
Valdes-Scantling is in his second season and leads the NFL in catches of 40 yards or more. Here is a touchdown catch he had Sunday:
Former Iowa State receiver Allen Lazard has seven catches for 107 yards over the past two games and had this beautiful grab Sunday:
Tight end Jimmy Graham has 18 catches for 214 yards and three touchdowns this season.
3. The rushing attack
Another Aaron is the Packers’ leading rusher: Aaron Jones. He has run 101 times for 399 yards and eight touchdowns. Green Bay ranks 21st in the NFL in rushing, averaging 99 yards per game.
Jones also has 27 receptions for 196 yards and one touchdown, which came Sunday:
4. Defensive numbers
The Packers rank 21st against the pass (252.1 yards per game) and are in a four-way tie for 12th in the NFL with 18 sacks. Green Bay is 24th against the rush (128.9 ypg).
On defense, Green Bay has seen a lot of yellow flags. Opposing offenses have accepted 57 penalties, per Pro Football Reference, the third most in the NFL behind the Bengals and Titans.
The Packers are plus-6 in takeaways this season, which ranks fourth in the NFL. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr fumbled through the end zone and turned it over Sunday:
5. Special teams
The Packers are last in the NFL in yards allowed per kickoff return (31.4), but they haven’t given up a touchdown on a return.
Kicker Mason Crosby has made 10 of 11 field-goal attempts and all 22 of his extra-point tries. He ranks ninth in highest percentage of his kickoffs that result in a touchback (15.1 percent).