Mahomes or not, Packers-Chiefs matchup takes center stage

(AP)-Just last week, the Green Bay-Kansas City game was looming as one of the largest in the NFL this season.

Then Patrick Mahomes went down with a dislocated kneecap, tainting a bit this made-for-prime-time TV matchup against Packers counterpart Aaron Rodgers. Matt Moore, as experienced as he is, doesn’t the produce the same what-will-he-do-next wizardry at quarterback.

The injury made this contest a little harder to pick, too, even if the Chiefs have yet to rule out Mahomes, because the Packers jumped to 4½-point favorites by Wednesday.

Rodgers and the offense hit a stride under new coach Matt LaFleur last week against Oakland, sure, but winning at Kansas City is never an easy task. With the Packers pegged fourth and the Chiefs slotted seventh in the latest AP Pro32 power poll, there’s plenty of evidence that these are two of the top teams in the league.

“We’ll see how it all goes,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said, “but we have a lot of confidence in Matt.”

Mahomes or not, the Packers could be due for a slight stumble, so …

CHIEFS, 31-27.

KNOCKOUT POOL: The AP prognostication crew is still alive, almost halfway through the season, so now is the time to lean on the home-field advantage MINNESOTA has at U.S. Bank Stadium, where the Vikings have outscored three opponents this year 100-36.

No. 30 Washington (plus 16) at No. 6 Minnesota

Kirk Cousins faces his former team for the first time. His predecessor as quarterback of the Vikings, Case Keenum, probably needs another “Minneapolis Miracle” pass — and then some — to win this one.

MINNESOTA, 30-16

No. 31 Cincinnati (plus 13) vs. No. 13 Los Angeles Rams, in London

The Rams ironed out some rough spots last week. The Bengals have many more issues, whether traveling domestic or international.

BEST BET: RAMS, 38-13

No. 16 Philadelphia (plus 2) at No. 8 Buffalo

The biggest disappointment of the season to date visits the league’s surprise success. The Bills ought to be less daunting of a foe than what the reeling Eagles pass defense has faced lately.

UPSET SPECIAL: EAGLES, 24-20

No. 9 Seattle (minus 3½) at No. 29 Atlanta

The Seahawks and Packers are the only road favorites this week. Falcons coach Dan Quinn might secretly wish he was still running Seattle’s defense.

SEAHAWKS, 34-21

No. 24 Los Angeles Chargers (plus 4) at No. 17 Chicago

Setting aside the matter of Mitchell Trubisky, this could be the type of game the Bears defense can win all by itself.

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