Today's Free Picks for
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Posted at 11:30 AM EST and odds are subject to change.
Kansas City +1½ over Green Bay
8:00 PM EST. The Packers will be resting their starters and veterans tonight and they participated in this week's practices with that information known. It is really not a surprise to anyone who has been following along. Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the Packers' starters haven’t sniffed the field this preseason. Green Bay has bigger fish to fry and a Super Bowl to try and win. Who on the Pack needs this needless trip to Kansas City?
There is a perception in the market that when/if Patrick Mahomes sits down tonight (still no word if he’ll start), the Packers have the edge at quarterback with Jordan Love, but we’re not so confident. Shane Buechele and Dustin Crum combined to go 11-for-18 for 97 yards with no turnovers. That’s all you can ask for from a couple of understudies.
Last week, Mahomes played 15 snaps, with the starting defense playing close to the same number of plays. We’ve discussed Andy Reid’s “new” approach to the preseason, which has him giving time to everyone, regardless of status. In two preseason games, the Chiefs have jumped out to leads of 14-0 in both games. In preseason Week 1, they were barely unable to hang on and get the win in Chicago, and last week, at home in K.C., the Chiefs would never look back going gate-to-wire in a 24-14 downing of Washington.
While we don’t have all the information, we are going to trust that Andy Reid is going to stick with his approach to this preseason. It’s been successful and well received by his team. Why stop now? Even if Mahomes does sit, the Chiefs might have a little extra in their game tonight after the loss of legend Len Dawson.
“Lenny the Cool,” was drafted by the Steelers in the first round of the 1957 draft, but after a short two-year stint in Pittsburgh, and another wasted stop in Cleveland, Dawson was out of the NFL. In 1962, Dawson decided to take one more shot and sign with the then Dallas Texans of the upstart AFL, which reunited him with former Purdue assistant coach and good friend Hank Stram, who was in year three of coaching the Texans.
In the ‘62 season, Dawson would lead the AFL in touchdowns, earning the league’s MVP award (his first of three), and he took the Texans to the AFL title game and led them to a double overtime win over the Houston Oilers, who had won the previous two championships. In 1963, the Texans would move to Kansas City to become the Chiefs. The legend of “Lenny the Cool,” would only grow larger in the Midwest.
It would take a few seasons for the Chiefs to settle in, but by 1966, they were the class of the AFL, winning titles in both ‘66 and 1969. Dawson would win the championship game’s MVP award in the 1996 title game. Dawson’s AFL run was incredible with six All-Star selections. He led the league in passing touchdowns four times, completion percentage seven times and he was the AFL’s top-rated passer six times. Super Bowl IV may have been the biggest win of Dawson’s career, where he took the underdog Chiefs and upset the Vikings, winning the Super Bowl and the game’s MVP. “Lenny the Cool,” would play until he was 41.
Dawson continued to rack up the accolades until the end, making the Pro Bowl in 1971, winning the NFL’s Man of the Year in 1973, and leading the NFL in completion percentage one more time in 1975. Dawson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979, and his long-time friend Hank Stram would join him in 1987.
“Lenny the Cool,” had his #16 jersey retired by the Chiefs and was an outspoken advocate for prostate cancer after being diagnosed and surviving his 1991 diagnosis. Those were different times and it was not easy, or “cool” for a big tough athlete to discuss that particular issue. As much as Dawson accomplished on the football field, one cannot ignore the countless lives he surely saved with his outspoken encouragement for men to get screened for prostate cancer.
“Lenny the Cool,” was cool, when cool was cool. His iconic Super Bowl I half-time photo, where he is mid-drag is the stuff legends are made of. Rest in peace Lenny. Have a smoke on us.
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Kansas City +1½ -110 (Risking 2.20 units - To Win: 2.00)