The Packers are coming off of a win on Thanksgiving against the Lions and have been riding a wave of momentum recently, but they return to Lambeau with Patrick Mahomes heading into town. Here are five things to watch for in this week’s upcoming game.
Can The Offense Keep Rolling?
The Packers’ offense has looked great over the last few weeks, and they will be looking to continue that this week. A shift in the playcalling to a few more crossing and over-the-middle routes has opened things up for the offense. Putting the playmakers on offense in the best positions to succeed has worked out greatly for Matt LaFleur and company. The wide receiver core of Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed, Dontayvion Wicks, and Malik Heath are all coming off of nice games last week, and they will be looking to give Love multiple options to throw again this week. As far as Tucker Kraft goes, he is coming off of an excellent game filling in for Luke Musgrave, including his first career touchdown. He will look to step up once again this week and ride the wave of momentum against a very solid Chiefs defense. If the scheme continues to use the middle of the field more, establish a run game, and use the playmakers to their advantage, the offense should continue to roll.
Can The Defense Contain Mahomes?
The Packers’ defense has been balling out recently, and the task at hand doesn’t get any easier with Patrick Mahomes coming into town this weekend. Along with Mahomes, the Packers will look to shut down star tight end Travis Kelce, rookie wide receiver Rachee Rice, and second-year running back Isiah Pacheco. Rice is on a hot streak as he broke out last game with his first one-hundred-yard game, so the Packers cannot let him fly under the radar this week. While trying to shut down players of Mahomes and Kelce’s caliber completely can be hard to do, containing them would boost the chance of winning tremendously. The Chiefs come into this week averaging 23.2 points per game, and the Packers will look to get pressure on Mahomes and limit that average.
With Darnell Savage and Eric Stokes coming off of injured reserve this past week, the Packers are looking to get some starters back on the field hopefully. Along with Stokes and Savage, De’Vondre Campbell, Aaron Jones, and Jaire Alexander remain out thus far. While the play of Jonathan Owens, Corey Ballentine, Carrington Valentine, and Isaiah McDuffie has been great filling in, getting starters back to a defense that is already on fire recently will be huge. Another thing to watch will be Aaron Jones and his health with his knee injury and how close he is to coming back. Jones, arguably the biggest playmaker on the offense, would be a nice added spark to a team in a groove.
Can Special Teams Fix It?
The extra point unit, primarily on special teams, has been struggling recently, and last week marked the third straight game in which an extra point was missed or blocked. That cannot be happening, especially down the season’s stretch when you’re fighting for a playoff spot. This week, they’ll look to get that part of special teams cleaned up because every point matters against the good teams in the NFL. Every point against a good Chiefs team will be a key to winning this week, so the special teams must also be on their game.
How Does The Offensive Line Respond?
With Elgton Jenkins being the third highest-graded offensive lineman in the NFL since week 8, the Packers will once again have their hands full this upcoming week against a Chiefs defense that recently limited an Eagles offense to twenty-one points. The offensive line rotation has been changing on and off these past few games, most notably with Sean Rhyan playing more snaps. While getting more of those snaps, the offensive line seemed to dominate drives with him in, so it will be interesting to see if his snap percentage will also increase.