Green Bay Packers’ Jordan Love has faced Kansas City Chiefs previously
GREEN BAY, Wis. — After one of their trademark come-from-behind victories last week in Las Vegas, Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs hope their rally sparks a surge that can help the defending Super Bowl champions make another postseason run.
The next step comes Sunday night when the AFC West-leading Chiefs (8-3) visit the improving Green Bay Packers (5-6).
Kansas City is coming off a 31-17 triumph over the Raiders in which the Chiefs responded after falling behind 14-0 in the first 18 minutes. Chiefs coach Andy Reid, whose team made plenty of notable comebacks during its two recent Super Bowl championship seasons, liked the way his players didn’t flinch amid adversity.
“They picked everything up and said, ‘We have to play better,'” Reid said. “And I hear things on the sideline, so I get a feel most people don’t hear. The guys, the leaders were really encouraging guys, and I thought all that was positive.”
That comeback ended a string of three straight games in which Kansas City failed to score after halftime, and it provided a glimpse of how the Chiefs must play the rest of the regular season and into the playoffs.
Green Bay had its own issues earlier this season, as the Packers failed to score a single first-half touchdown during one five-game stretch.
But just like the Chiefs turned around their second-half woes, the Packers are doing a better job of moving the ball early on. They scored touchdowns on their first two drives in a 29-22 Thanksgiving Day victory at Detroit.
“I just think we’re doing a better job of finding our rhythm, finding our flow as an offense,” Packers wide receiver Christian Watson said. “It took us a little too long early in the season to find that, to find that rhythm. Now I think we’re connecting a little bit better as an offense and finding it a little quicker.”
This marks the Chiefs’ first regular-season visit to Green Bay since 2015, which means it will be the first time Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes has played at Lambeau Field. The two-time Super Bowl champion was here for a 2019 preseason game in which he didn’t play.
“I’m extremely excited for it,” Mahomes said. “I’ve watched it my whole entire life. I know it’s going to be a hostile environment and loud, a lot like what Arrowhead is like to other teams. If you love football, you love Lambeau Field, and I’m excited to play a game there.”
LOVE VS. CHIEFS AGAIN
Packers quarterback Jordan Love faced the Chiefs in his first career start in 2021, when a positive COVID-19 test sidelined Aaron Rodgers. The Packers lost that game 13-7 as Love struggled to deal with all the pressure the Chiefs were putting on him.
“It was a good learning experience for me, just being able to see those experiences, see where I need to be going with the ball,” Love said. “I watched it back that offseason and was able to learn a lot just from that film.”
Running back Aaron Jones will miss a second straight game Sunday, Packers coach Matt LaFleur said after Friday’s practice.
Jones hurt his left knee late in the second quarter of a 23-20 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Nov. 19. He sat out the Packers’ 29-22 Thanksgiving Day triumph at Detroit and hadn’t practiced this week.
The 28-year-old Jones has rushed for 245 yards and two touchdowns on 66 carries in seven games this season. He also has 19 catches for 169 yards and a touchdown.
LaFleur also said cornerback Eric Stokes (hamstring) is doubtful for Sunday’s game. Cornerback Jaire Alexander (shoulder), linebacker De’Vondre Campbell (neck), tight end Josiah Deguara (hip), safety Rudy Ford (biceps/groin), wide receivers Jayden Reed (chest) and Dontayvion Wicks (knee), cornerback Robert Rochell (calf) and safety Darnell Savage (calf) are questionable.
TV viewers could end up seeing plenty of shots in the stands Sunday night with the possibility that pop superstar Taylor Swift, who’s in a relationship with Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, and Olympic champion gymnast Simone Biles, who’s married to Green Bay safety Jonathan Owens, could be on hand for the game.
Swift hasn’t attended the last two Chiefs games due to conflicts with her tour schedule, which is currently on a break. Biles has attended multiple Packers home games and expressed her approval via social media last week when Owens scored his first career touchdown on a 27-yard fumble return.
Chiefs wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling played his first four seasons in Green Bay, where he provided a deep threat but struggled to catch the ball consistently. He has had the same issues in Kansas City.
Valdes-Scantling has just 15 receptions for 248 yards and dropped a potential go-ahead touchdown pass in the final minutes of a 21-17 loss to the Eagles in their Super Bowl rematch a couple of weeks ago.
The Chiefs are tied for fourth in the NFL with 37 sacks. They have three players with more than five sacks: George Karlaftis (8), Chris Jones (7½) and Mike Danna (5½).
The Packers have their own exceptional pass rusher in Rashan Gary, who had three sacks in the Thanksgiving victory at Detroit.
DANGEROUS IN DECEMBER
The Packers are 15-0 in December games during LaFleur’s tenure. That represents the second-longest December winning streak in NFL history. The Chargers won 18 straight from 2006-09, well before their move to Los Angeles.