Before the season, I picked the Green Bay Packers to be the surprise team and the Kansas City Chiefs to be the biggest disappointment.
So far, I'm one for two. But I'm sticking with both. Here's why.
There's no doubt Green Bay wanted Marshawn Lynch or Adrian Peterson in the draft, but couldn't get either of the young backs. So the running game—to put it gently—isn't where it needs to be. But that's ok. Cause apparently, Brett Farve hooked up with Marty McFly and his time machine DeLorean in the offseason. The result is Farve is playing like it's 1999; he's second in the league in passing yards, and has his lowest interception rating since 1996.
On the other side of the ball, the Packers are more than solid. The D-Line—with Aaron Kampman, who's leading the league with 9 sacks, and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila—rushes the pasher well and holds the ground vs. the run. The rest of the defense is young, fast and opportunistic. Nick Barnett is a great young player who has 84 tackles and is worthy of a trip to Hawaii next February. A.J. Hawk and Corey Williams are young guys who are getting better with more experience. And when the weather gets colder, teams are going to dread going to Green Bay.
One thing I was wrong about...I thought Farve was done. I was wrong. Frankly, he's played out of his mind. Without a consistent running game (dead last in rushing yards per game), Farve has passed the deep ball well (second in the league in yds/pass play) to his young WRs, Greg Jennigs and James Jones. The only question is...what happens when the Wisconsin winds get rougher? Will the deep ball work as well, or will defenses line take their chances knowing the Packers have no run game? The Packers need to build up a reliable running game for December and the playoffs.
Overall, at 7-1, the Packers are playing even better than I predicted. Once again, I was right....
Kansas City is another thing. They are an enigma, wrapped in a riddle, playing like a mediocre team. They are 4-4, thanks in part to a generous schedule. QB Damon Huard is playing average, a 79.1 rtg and the passing game as a whole is...average. The problem is the once-great offensive line. Through retirement and attrition, the KC offensive line now is a Maginot Line. Their running attack has been pathetic, and the KC QBs has been sacked 25 times and are constantly harried. And now, with Larry Johnson out indefinitly with a foot injury, the Chiefs are turning to the late, great Priest Holmes and "Who Dat?" rookie Kolby Smith. Teams will be teeing off on the KC passing game.
Right now, the Chiefs are averaging 15.5 points a game, 29th in the league and a lot of three-and-outs. All this has put a burden on the defense. So far, the defense has answered the bell. However, the '86 Bears they are not. With L.J. out and the average passing game only getting worse, can the defense step it up? I think not.
Of the defensive players, Jared Allen has been a man. The man. Already beating last year's sack totals, Jared is playing like a man possessed for a new contract. However, on the whole, the KC defense is...average. Word is however, Ty Law has finally acting his age, and is half a step slow in getting back on his defensive routes. Again, with the sad offense putting more of a burden on the defense, this will be more and more of a problem going forward.
All this adds up to....average. Even with a nice schedule, how the Chiefs are 4-4, I can't say. The Chiefs, however, are injured at exactly the wrong time. 3 of the next 4 game are against divisional foes, sandwiched around the Colts. The next four weeks will tell you a lot about the Chiefs. I have a feeling they will tell you...once again, I was right.