KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs hope to get back on track following a disappointing Week 2 loss, and the quest starts on the road against the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football.
A formidable task awaits the Chiefs (1-1), however, at storied Lambeau Field, where the Packers (2-0) have taken full advantage of home cooking with 10 straight wins, including the playoffs.
Green Bay’s run during that 10-game span at Lambeau Field represents the longest active home winning streak in the NFL.
And to many around the league, the Packers’ home stadium represents hallowed NFL ground.
“It’s similar to Arrowhead,” said Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who spent seven seasons in Green Bay as a tight ends/assistant offensive line coach and quarterbacks coach (1992-98). “It’s one of those places that make the NFL the NFL, what this league is. It’s a part of history; both places are part of history in this league.”
Chiefs linebacker Dezman Moses, who spent the 2012 season with the Packers, echoed Reid.
“Both places have great fans, the atmosphere, the history,” Moses said. “Both places are pretty close in comparison. I’ve been fortunate to play at both and both are very exciting, great atmospheres.”
There is good news for the Chiefs, as the team has experienced members of the coaching staff to provide lessons learned on how to deal with playing at Lambeau Field to prevent getting caught up in the moment.
“There’s that element, but you really focus in on the football team,” Reid said. “When you’re playing a team there, that’s what you do.
“When you’re coaching a team there, you’re not really worried about, ‘This is Lambeau.’ You’re worried about that opponent coming in and trying to get ready, and it’s vice versa when you’re on the other side of it. It’s no different.”
The aura of Lambeau Field notwithstanding, the statistics arguably lean to Green Bay’s favor heading into Monday night’s game.
The Packers hold a 15-3 record in regular-season night games, including wins in 13 of the last 14 games, at home under coach Mike McCarthy. And the Packers are 14-8-1 all-time at home on Monday Night Football, including a 4-1 record under McCarthy.
The Chiefs counter with a 7-3-1 all-time record against the Packers, including wins in six of the last seven meetings. The Chiefs are also 3-0 in games played at Lambeau, but those wins came more than a decade ago (1989, 1990, and 2003).
Reid is 14-10 on Monday Night Football (13-10 with Eagles, 1-0 with Chiefs) and holds a 5-4 career record against the Packers, including the playoffs. But he has lost the last three meetings against the Packers (2007, twice in 2010).
And then there is the NFL’s reigning Most Valuable Player, quarterback Aaron Rodgers, a player the Chiefs must contain.
“I think he’s probably a pretty good player and does a pretty good job,” Reid said. “I don’t know what it is, but I think he’s a pretty good player. You’ve got to start there, right?”
Chiefs wide receiver Jason Avant agreed, pointing out Rodgers is a part of recent history with signal callers to call Lambeau Field home.
“The reason I think they’re so good at their place is first of all, they’ve had a history of great quarterback play from (Brett) Favre to Rodgers taking over,” Avant said. “All of them are pretty elite, so I think there’s more to that than just the stadium and they got some good guys on defense.”
Rodgers has played lights out in the past 18 home games, including the postseason, by throwing 43 touchdowns with no interceptions in 545 passing attempts while posting a 124 passer rating.
His last interception at Lambeau Field was on Dec. 2, 2012, and Rodgers has seven touchdown passes with no interceptions with a 113.7 rating in his past four games on Monday Night Football.
“Obviously, when you play at home, you’re a lot more comfortable then when you’re on the road,” McCarthy said Thursday during a media conference call. “He takes a lot of pride in his performance. He’s a preparation junkie, so I think we’re just seeing a great player on a great stretch in his career.”
Rodgers can also hurt a defense with his legs. His 58 yards rushing on 14 attempts (4.1 yards per carry) through two games ranks fifth among quarterbacks behind Carolina’s Cam Newton (111), Seattle’s Russell Wilson (109), San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick (92) and Buffalo’s Tyrod Taylor (84).
“He’s good in the pocket, he’s good outside the pocket,” Reid said. “He does a nice job of extending plays, but you got to play. You rush him like you’re rushing a good football player, stay disciplined with it, and most of all, study the guys over you, work on that and get yourselves ready to play.”
Consider the head coach’s message received loud and clear by his players.
More importantly, the significance is fully endorsed by the Chiefs’ veterans to prevent young teammates from being overwhelmed of playing at a historic venue as the Chiefs prepare to hit the road.
“We realize they’re a good team,” Avant said. “Their stadium is just like any other stadium. They still have 120 total yards, 100 yards to play in, so it’s the same field. You just have to kind of make it as small as possible, and the coaches and veteran players are trying to do that as best we can.”