Green Bay Packers v. Kansas City Chiefs preview: What to watch for

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 12: Jordan Love #10 of the Green Bay Packers attempts a pass during the game against the New Orleans Saints at TIAA Bank Field on September 12, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 12: Jordan Love #10 of the Green Bay Packers attempts a pass during the game against the New Orleans Saints at TIAA Bank Field on September 12, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /

The Green Bay Packers have won seven-straight games, winning a thriller last Thursday in Arizona to improve to 7-1.

They overcame numerous injuries, along with multiple players on the reserve/COVID list, and looked to be unstoppable heading into a showdown with Patrick Mahomes & Co.

That was all turned upside down when the news broke that Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19 and would be out for this week’s matchup versus the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Green Bay Packers have faced far more injuries and COVID-related cases than most teams this season.

If you ask anyone who cheers for this team – It’s just another week in Green Bay–more drama and more adversity to overcome.

Let’s take a look at 3-things to watch for Sunday when the Green Bay Packers face the Kansas City Chiefs.

Jordan Love will make his first regular-season start.

All you need is Love.

Rewind to April 23, 2020, and it’s hard to find a pick that was more scrutinized than the one the Packers made – Selecting Jordan Love with the 26th overall pick.

Fast forward to today, and the Green Bay Packers are getting ready to line up with Love as their starting quarterback when they face off with former MVP and Superbowl champion Patrick Mahomes.

This is a perfect opportunity for Jordan Love and head coach Matt LeFleur

"Matt LeFleur spoke on Love starting via “It’s a great challenege. No one is going to feel sorry for us. We all have to preapre to the best of our abaility, they aren’t going to postpone or cancel our game. It’s next man up mentatilty. I think our guys will rally around Jordan, we got alot of confidence in him ,and what a great opportunity for him to showcase what he can do."

We saw just a glimpse of Jordan Love this preseason, where he finished going 24/35 for 271 yards with one touchdown and one interception. We then saw Love come into that week one dismantling at the hands of the Saints, where he finished 5/7 for 68 yards.

For Love, he gets to step into a game with most starters lining up beside him and gets to go up against the 29th overall ranked defense, according to PFF. In my opinion, there is no real pressure on him to win this game. After the Packers won thrillingly last Thursday night, it gave them a little wiggle room for error, leading the NFC North by four games eight weeks into the season.

For head coach Matt LeFleur, this is a perfect opportunity to show the NFL world he belongs, and he can indeed win without a top-tier quarterback. One of the knocks LeFleur is that he’s only good because of who he has at the quarterback position – If he wins Sunday with Love in at quarterback, I think that quiets that crowd down a bit.

Watch for LeFleur to be a little more fired up on Sunday.

Both LeFleur and Love have a chance to prove a lot of people wrong.

Can the Packers control the clock?

We saw how effective it was last week in Arizona. The Packers had more than fifteen minutes of the ball than the Cardinals, controlling the clock and keeping that potent offense off the field.

Like Arizona, Kansas City likes to score fast and often. They have the weapons on offense led by former MVP Patrick Mahomes, a couple of all-pro guys in Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce, who leads all tight ends in receiving yards in the NFL.

Watch for the Packers to run the ball and keep the clock moving on offense. As I mentioned before, the Chiefs have the 29th ranked defense, according to PFF.

If I had to guess, we would most likely see another game plan centered around the two running backs, Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, as we did in Arizona, where they averaged 4.4 yards per carry. The Cheifs run defense, for lack of a better term, is just – awful. Per PFF, no team in the NFL has a worse run defense grade than the Chiefs.

Watch for Green Bay to run the ball, control the clock and keep the Chiefs offense on the sideline.

Can the Packers avoid the big play on defense?

Look, this is no secret–Patrick Mahomes loves the deep ball and has the weapons around him to make it happen.

The big question for this Packers surging defense–can they avoid big plays against a team that thrives on them?

The Packer’s defense has been quite a surprise for the last few weeks, turning into an opportunistic group. The Packers led MVP candidate Kyler Murray under 275 yards and created two interceptions.

With two all-pro players sidelined in Jaire Alexander and Za’Darius smith, this Packers defense has created 19 sacks and eight interceptions in the last six weeks and holding opposing quarterbacks to an 80.5 passer rating.

Watch for the Packers defense to avoid the big play, apply pressure to Mahomes in the pocket and create a couple of turnovers.

The Bottom Line

This is an unfortunate situation for the Green Bay Packers. For a team that has overcome so much adversity, they take another considerable blow and lose their MVP quarterback for this week and maybe more. We will get our first authentic look at the second-year quarterback out of Utah St, who will undoubtedly be highly criticized until he proves otherwise.

The recipe for a Packers victory is similar to last week–run the ball, control the clock, and create a couple of turnovers along the way.