Green Bay Packers v. Chiefs: Behind Enemy Lines

Nov 1, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) looks to pass during the first quarter against the New York Giants at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 1, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) looks to pass during the first quarter against the New York Giants at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports /

Well, it’s no longer Aaron Rodgers vs. Patrick Mahomes, but instead, Jordan Love who will be making his first NFL start on Sunday as the 7-1 Green Bay Packers head to Arrowhead Stadium to take on the 4-4 Kansas City Chiefs.

Through eight games this is not the same Chiefs team that we have seen in recent years, but with an offense made up of Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce, along with Andy Reid at the helm, things can turn for this team at the drop of a hat.

To help us preview this uncommon opponent, I’ve teamed up with Matt Conner of Arrowhead Addict, where they cover anything and everything about the Kansas City Chiefs. Matt was kind enough to answer five of my questions to help provide us with some insight into this Kansas City team.

Is there a reason or two behind Pat Mahomes slow start? Or is it simply that he’s going through a slump?

Matt: I think it’s a Venn diagram of a few things coalescing at the same time. First, the Chiefs feel overconfident after running through the AFC for the last few years. Second, this team misses Sammy Watkins dearly. Third, the defense has been the league’s worst, which places much more pressure on the offense to be perfect.

Finally, I just think opponents have years of tape on him now and the Chiefs have been slow to adjust their own approach. Mahomes’ talents are too great to be reigned in and half of the INTs that get so much press are literally tipped or dropped passes.

Paul: Just because this hasn’t been the same Chiefs team that we’ve seen in recent years, don’t let that fool you as this offense is still very dangerous. As I noted in my 5 Big Questions article, Mahomes is still third in passing yards and fourth in touchdowns. Tyreek Hill is fifth among receivers with 735 yards, Travis Kelce is first among tight ends with 560, and as a team, Kansas City is averaging 4.8 yards per rush.

This Green Bay Packers defense is going to face another tough test. They were able to slow an explosive Arizona offense and will have to do that again this Sunday against Kansas City–the Packers do not want this turning into a shootout.

Outside of Mahomes, what has gone well and what has gone wrong during these first eight games? And are the issues fixable this season?

Matt: Here’s the upside: other than a franchise-crippling injury (e.g. Tyreek, Travis, Mahomes), the Chiefs have endured a worst-case scenario season. They’ve not shown up against any meaningful opponent. They’re beating themselves left and right–already with more turnovers through 8 games than any full season under Andy Reid. They’re committing stupid penalties that extend the drives of opponents. Yet through it all, they’re 4-4.

The schedule looks brutal moving forward but these Chiefs literally cannot play any worse. And the defense started to show signs of life recently as Chris Jones moved back inside after an experiment outside and Jarran Reed is fitting in. Frank Clark is looking healthy and finding his mojo as well. That’s going to make all the difference and I think the Chiefs are going to have fun reminding everyone of how good they were supposed to be.

Paul: As has already been highlighted, this is still a very talented team, and despite the issues for Kansas City, from the outside looking in, it feels like each new week could be the one where they flip the switch and return to the powerhouse that we’ve grown accustomed to.

But before that happens, Green Bay will hopefully be able to take advantage of a few of these reoccurring issues. Kansas City is allowing 4.6 yards per rush and that ranks 28th; their 19 giveaways are the most in football, and as Matt mentioned, penalties have been a problem as well–the Chiefs have 56, the fifth-most in football.

Who is one player on offense and one on defense that Packer fans may not be familiar with but could make an impact on Sunday?

Matt: While the Chiefs were wringing their hands about getting nothing from Frank Clark and Chris Jones early on, they also watched last year’s fifth-round pick Mike Danna go from hopeful rotational contributor to the most consistent, well-rounded player on the edge.

On offense, the rookie linemen are getting a lot of play but not enough can be said about Creed Humphrey in the interior. A Pro Bowler from Day 1 at center.

Paul: According to PFF ($$), Danna has 14 pressures and three sacks this season as a pass-rusher, along with seven stops–or plays that result in a loss for the offense. He’s been solid against the run as well and will need to be on Sunday as the Chiefs will likely see a heavy dose of Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon.

The Green Bay Packers could have selected Creed Humphrey but chose Josh Myers instead. By several PFF metrics, Humphrey has been one of the better centers in football this season, allowing just one sack and seven pressures, while also having PFF’s highest run-blocking grade among all centers.

What is Kansas City’s path to victory against the Green Bay Packers going to look like? And is this how you think it will play out or will the Packers come away with the win?

Matt: Well, this obviously feels a lot different without Aaron Rodgers upfront. I don’t want to dog Jordan Love before he has a chance, but this defensive front feels like they’re developing the necessary chemistry to disrupt and a rookie is going to make that much simpler. It’s going to be a tough fight, to be sure, but the shift from Rodgers vs. Mahomes to Love should force the Packers to simplify things offensively despite his time on the bench. The Chiefs’ offense will be fine despite looking “normal” the last couple of weeks.

Paul: The Green Bay Packers’ path to victory is going to look similar to what it did against Arizona. They’ll have to lean on the run game against a Chiefs’ defense that is allowing 4.6 yards per rush, control the clock, and force turnovers to give their offense more opportunities but also to keep Patrick Mahomes on the sidelines.