Sunday Night Football Preview: Will the Packers Continue to Flourish as Underdogs?

Riley Thomas
Riley Thomas_riley8
Sunday Night Football Preview: Will the Packers Continue to Flourish as Underdogs?

The Kansas City Chiefs (8-3) against the Green Bay Packers (5-6) may seem like an underwhelming Sunday Night Football matchup. According to FanDuel Sportsbook's NFL Super Bowl odds, the Chiefs have the shortest odds to win the Lombardi Trophy (+430), and the Packers are -110 to make the playoffs. Plus, the spread favors Kansas City by six points.

However, the recent play of both teams could suggest this one will be closer than what most think. The Chiefs have shown some chinks in their armor by going 2-2 over their last four games. Kansas City was also down 14-0 in the second quarter against the 5-7 Las Vegas Raiders in Week 12.

The Packers have won back-to-back games as underdogs and are 3-1 outright and against the spread (ATS) over their previous four games.

Will Green Bay stay hot in the underdog role? Let's dive into the matchup, including FanDuel's latest NFL odds and a breakdown of each squad.

Chiefs vs. Packers Week 13 Betting Odds: Spread, Total, and Moneyline

  • Spread: Chiefs -6 (-110)
  • Total: 42.5
  • Moneyline:
    • Chiefs: -255
    • Packers: +210

Chiefs vs. Packers Week 13 Matchup Analysis

The Chiefs have won with a different formula this season: defense. The offense has not been as dominant as we are used to (numberFire's seventh-best unit). Meanwhile, the defense is the fifth-best unit in the league. Even with the change of play, Kansas City is the sixth-best squad in numberFire's nERD-based power rankings.

The defense has especially excelled against the pass by allowing only 176.6 passing yards per game (fourth-best) and 5.6 yards per passing attempt (third-best). They have also held opponents to -0.21 expected points added per dropback (EPA/DB) -- the fifth-best mark in the NFL.

Following early-season struggles with interceptions in five consecutive games, Green Bay's Jordan Love has caught fire over the last month. The Packers' signal-caller has 0.19 EPA/DB over his previous four games compared to -0.11 EPA/DB in the first seven games of the season. Love was electric in the 29-22 win against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving with 0.34 EPA/DB, a 7.3% completion percentage over expectation (CPOE%), and three passing touchdowns.

The upcoming matchup between the Chiefs' secondary and Love could be the most anticipated collision. Whoever gains the upper hand could decide the outcome.

Green Bay will likely be looking to take advantage of Kansas City's run defense, though. They have numberFire's 11th-worst adjusted run defense and give up 4.6 yards per carry (fifth-worst). The Packers' rushing attack has lacked at 4.1 yards per carry (13th-worst), but injuries have been a part of the equation.

Aaron Jones has missed four games, including Week 12's matchup with the Lions. He is questionable with a knee injury, and to make matters worse, A.J. Dillon is questionable with a groin setback. This could leave most of the workload to Patrick Taylor, who had a 48.1% snap share, -3.1 rushing yards over expectation (RYOE), and three carries last week.

If the backfield is not healthy, Green Bay could almost fully rely on Love's arm, especially with the inexperienced Taylor at halfback. This would likely be a big blow to the Packers' chances of winning. Keeping Patrick Mahomes and Co. off of the field with a successful run game would be a major advantage.

Yes, I said the Chiefs' offense has not been as successful this season. This is still Mahomes and Andy Reid, though.

The passing game leads the way as numberFire's eighth-best unit in schedule-adjusted passing offense. Following a rough showing with -0.37 EPA/DB in Week 11, Mahomes bounced back in Week 12 with 0.28 EPA/DB against the Raiders. Kansas City totaled 31 points in last week's win -- their third 30-point game of the season.

The Chiefs have lacked consistent receiver play, which allows defenses to focus on Travis Kelce. However, rookie wideout Rashee Rice has emerged and comes off a career-high week with 8 receptions, 10 targets, and 107 receiving yards. After totaling 36.9 receiving yards over expectation (RecYOE) with a 67.2% snap share, Rice could help Kansas City's offense return to their dominant form.

The Packers have numberFire's 14th-best schedule-adjusted pass defense. After giving up over 300 passing yards last week, will Green Bay halt the Chiefs' passing game?

Ultimately, this game could come down to the passing games. Neither rushing attack has excelled, ranking in the bottom half of rushing yards per carry. Both air attacks have found their footing in recent games.

The turnover battle is another area to watch as Kansas City averages the ninth-most giveaways per game, and Green Bay averages only 1.1 giveaways per game (sixth-fewest). The Packers are averaging 2.0 takeaways over the last two weeks, including three fumble recoveries last week.

Love is playing excellent football at the right time, and Green Bay's defense has been opportunistic. I like the Packers to cover the spread as an underdog once again.

Chiefs vs. Packers Prop Bets

All NFL odds via FanDuel Sportsbook. Lines may change after this article is published.

Jordan Love 2+ Passing Touchdowns (+148)

Kansas City's secondary certainly boasts impressive marks as numberFire's fifth-best schedule-adjusted passing defense. When it comes to giving up touchdowns, the Chiefs' pass defense is not as good as you would think. It gives up 1.2 passing touchdowns per game -- tied with seven teams as the fifth-lowest mark.

This bodes well for Jordan Love, who has recorded at least two passing touchdowns in three consecutive games. Love has been on fire as he had 0.34 EPA/DB in Week 12.

The Packers may also be more prone to throwing the ball in the red zone with Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon questionable. Green Bay's receivers also come off impressive outings as Christian Watson (12.9 RecYOE) and Romeo Doubs (6.3 RecYOE) posted solid RecYOE.

Rashee Rice 5+ Receptions (+108)

As previously mentioned, Rashee Rice is steadily becoming one of Patrick Mahomes' favorite targets. Over the first six weeks of the season, Rice had a 38.3% snap share while averaging 4.7 targets per game. Since Week 7, he has a 63.1% snap share (the highest among Kansas City receivers) and is averaging 5.6 targets per game.

After recording a career-high 8 receptions and 10 targets in Week 12, targeting 5 receptions for Rice could be a sound bet. The run game has not been great either with Isiah Pacheco totaling -2.2 rushing yards over expectation (RYOE) since Week 7.

The passing game could be at the forefront after Mahomes recorded 298 passing yards and 2 touchdowns with a 79.4% completion percentage last week.

The Chiefs have had a clear need for improved receiver play. Rice is providing exactly that. Why would Kansas City decrease his workload now? It even freed up Travis Kelce last week as he totaled 91 receiving yards -- his most since Week 7. Rice could be in store for another big performance.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.