Behind Enemy Lines: 5 questions to preview Packers-Chiefs

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·6 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The Green Bay Packers (7-1) will face off against an uncommon opponent when Matt LaFleur’s team travels to Kansas City to play the Chiefs (4-4) at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The two-time defending AFC champions are off to a shaky start, but Andy Reid’s team still has Patrick Mahomes and a cast of talented players, creating another difficult challenge for the Packers, who will be without Aaron Rodgers.

To help preview Sunday’s clash, Packers Wire asked five questions of Charles Goldman, the managing editor of Chiefs Wire. Here’s the Q&A.

We'll start with the big one: Why aren't the Chiefs scoring more points?

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs Wire: The Chiefs’ offense has been predicated on a downfield passing attack and teams are doing everything possible to take away those explosive plays. A lot of Cover 2 and deep zone plays with safeties playing overtop. It’s causing an identity crisis of sorts, forcing Kansas City to matriculate the ball down the field, as Hank Stram would say. They’re relying on the run game and the short passing game more frequently than they’d like to. Also, there is something to be said about Patrick Mahomes and the offense struggling with penalties and turnovers. They’re not finding a rhythm in an offense when they really need one in order to perform at their best.

Packers Wire takeaway: Joe Barry’s defense is designed to take away the big plays. Forcing Mahomes and the Chiefs to be patient and execute on long drives will be key.

What is going wrong on defense? Anything specific?

(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Chiefs Wire: A gaggle of things has gone wrong with the Chiefs’ defense to start the season, most notably their lack of consistent pass rush and struggles to stop the run. They recently shored the pass rush up with a trade to acquire Melvin Ingram, who will play this week according to Andy Reid. I will say that the team has made some notable improvements on defense in recent weeks. They made some personnel changes starting in Week 6 against the Washington Football Team, with Juan Thornhill replacing Daniel Sorensen as the team’s starting free safety. Then a few players like Frank Clark, Chris Jones and Willie Gay Jr. got healthy, which has been a big boost in recent weeks. Rookie LB Nick Bolton, who was just named the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Month for October, has been playing really well lately too.

Packers Wire takeaway: The Chiefs are playing better on defense over the last three games. This was the worst defense in football after five weeks, but they are trending in the right direction.

Everyone knows Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Who else should the Packers be concerned about on defense?

Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs Wire: This week, with the injuries the Packers have on the defensive line, I won’t be shocked to see Kansas City lean on the ground game. They’ve got a pair of running backs in Darrel Williams and Derrick Gore, both of whom are tough, one-cut, north-south runners. Williams probably has a bit more to offer in the passing game, but Gore emerged just last week as a threat on the ground, averaging 4.3 yards per carry and scoring his first NFL touchdown. Also, keep an eye out for WR Josh Gordon this week. He saw the most snaps of his Chiefs career in Week 8, and it feels like he’s on the cusp of a breakout game.

Packers Wire takeaway: The run game is a smart point. The Chiefs have one of the highest-graded run-blocking offensive lines in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus. Can the Packers match up without Kingsley Keke (and maybe Dean Lowry)?

Who needs to step up for Kansas City starting on Sunday?

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs Wire: I’m going to say veteran safety Daniel Sorensen is the guy who needs to step up. While I mentioned he was benched in favor of Juan Thornhill earlier, the Chiefs still run a lot of personnel packages with three safeties on the field. He’s been picked on this season, allowing a perfect passer rating in his coverage. It’s no shock that guys like Aaron Jones knew him by name talking to the Green Bay media this week. Sorensen is a guy who has made a bunch of key plays for Kansas City in the past, but he can only live on his past accomplishments for so long. If he doesn’t get it together to the point that he’s not a liability on the field, they might have no choice but to replace him.

Packers Wire takeaway: Sorensen is No. 49. Can Matt LaFleur scheme up ways of getting him on the field and exposing him in one-on-one situations?

The Chiefs win if...? The Packers win if...?

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs Wire: The Chiefs win if they play a clean game on offense. This team has been beating themselves this season. They have the most turnovers in the NFL this season at 19, which is four more than any other team in the league. They’ve also been called for the 30 offensive penalties through eight weeks of play, which is tied for the second-most in the NFL during that span. If they can limit the penalties and keep a hold of the football this week, they’ll be in good shape.

The Packers win if the Chiefs’ defense struggles to get stops. This unit had a little more time to prepare for Jordan Love than they did for Justin Herbert’s debut a season ago, but the unknown can still cause problems. The known can cause problems too as this Green Bay offense is still immensely talented with or without Aaron Rodgers. In the confines of Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City will likely need a standout showing from the defense in order to get a win this week. If they get into a shootout, things could get tricky for a Chiefs offense that has sputtered in recent weeks.

Packers Wire takeaway: All strong points, and we agree. The Packers have more than enough talent around Jordan Love, but the young quarterback has to go execute. The Chiefs allowed an average of 32.8 points per game in the four losses this season, so the offense has to move the ball and score consistently. The defense’s goal is straightforward: prevent big plays, and create a turnover or two.

1

1