Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters has collected an interception in each of his first two NFL games. The odds against a third straight, though, are already great. Where he’s playing this weekend, and the quarterback he’s facing, pushes the task toward the impossible.
Aaron Rodgers not throwing a pick in a game at Lambeau Field, where the Chiefs and Packers tangle on Monday, is about the most sure thing in sports these days.
Since his last home field interception, in Week 13 of the 2012 season, Rodgers has thrown 545 passes and 43 touchdowns.
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“He’s playing at a high level,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “He’s playing very good football right now.”
For several years. Rodgers, an 11th year pro, is widely acknowledged as one of the game’s best quarterbacks, and he’s off to a terrific start a year after being named the NFL’s MVP by the Associated Press for the second time.
Rodgers has helped stake the Packers to a 2-0 start, and they’re coming off a 27-17 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. Against the Seahawks, Rodgers completed 25 of 33 passes for 249 yards, two touchdowns and for the 17th straight regular-season home game, no interceptions.
“I like the cold, throwing in the cold in the wintertime, and a lot of people don’t,” Rodgers said.
It was 62 degrees at kickoff last Sunday. The forecast for Monday’s kickoff temperature is in the 70s. So, what else?
“We have a homefield advantage that’s growing, I think, with some of our game-day operations and crowd noise picking up,” Rodgers said. “We’ve started fast as well at home the last couple of years, so we’ve been able to make teams go one-dimensional on the other side.”
All true, but there’s more.
“He’s a perfectionist,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “He’s very much into his craft. Obviously, when you play at home you’re a lot more comfortable than when you’re on the road.
“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 of his career.”
Rodgers’ NFL career started the same year as Chiefs’ quarterback Alex Smith. They were selected in the 2005 Draft, Smith from Utah first overall by the San Francisco 49ers and Rodgers from California No. 24 overall by the Packers.
But their early paths were divergent. Smith started seven games as a rookie and all 16 in his second year.
Rodgers, playing behind Brett Favre, appeared in seven games over his first three seasons, starting none.
“I got to learn our offense without having the pressure of playing right away,” Rodgers said. “And then you become kind of an expert on the offense on paper and you start really trying to figure out the defenses.”
Meanwhile, Smith went through three offensive coordinators in his first three seasons with the 49ers. In his rookie season, that coordinator was McCarthy, who installed a West Coast offense.
“I really enjoyed coaching him,” McCarthy said of Smith. “We had a challenging season out there in ’05, but I thought we had a positive experience.”
But not a successful season as the 49ers finished 4-12. Smith was 2-5.
“I don’t think anybody is ready coming right out of college,” McCarthy said.
“I don’t think that’s really fair to even try and measure that. I don’t think our team was ready for a young quarterback. I’ll tell you this: He did everything in his power to be ready. He’s very bright, just the way he picked up the system. He definitely was impressive in his ability to get ready.”