Five things to watch in Packers vs Chiefs: Let LaFleur cook

Five things to watch as Jordan Love and the Green Bay Packers travel to Arrowhead for a showdown with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.

The pure LaFleur offense

Matt LaFleur showed his ability to coach with one hand tied behind his back last week.

Missing his top three wide receivers for their trip to the desert, the Packers rammed the ball down the throat of the Cardinals on the ground, in the words of Marshawn Lynch, running the ball over and over and over and over and… over again on long, time consuming drives which kept the high-powered Cardinals offense on the sideline.

When MLF was hired, the construction of an offense which was rooted in his scheme but also incorporated elements Aaron Rodgers was more comfortable with was discussed ad nauseum, and even now, remnants of the McCarthy offense remain.

It’s no secret Rodgers has been afforded more leeway than most other quarterbacks would in this system, but with Love taking over the offense on Sunday, Packers fans are likely to see the ‘Matt LaFleur Offense’ as it was meant to be run.

Of course, having an inexperienced signal-caller comes with its own challenges, but LaFleur has shown he can rise to the occasion when facing adversity, and it would be no surprise to see him cook up an effective game plan to beat a porous Chiefs defense.

Can Jordan Love avoid big mistakes?

Jordan Love has shown glimpses of his tantalising talent during his small number of snaps in the preseason, and this Sunday represents the first opportunity to evaluate the young QB in a real game, on the road in one of the NFL’s most hostile environments.

Despite his obvious quality, Love has been known to throw some head-scratching interceptions, and his decision making was one of the weaknesses which pushed him down the draft board.

Love should be able to move the ball against a bad Chiefs defense, but can he avoid making killer mistakes which could decide the game?

Who will be Love’s favourite targets?

When Brett Hundley was thrust into the limelight back in 2017 after Rodgers went down with a broken collarbone, Davante Adams was about the only Packers pass catcher who was able to thrive, while Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb saw their production drop.

Adams has gone on to become the best receiver in the league, which could serve as an extremely helpful security blanket for Love.

However, Adams and Love have not established the same level of chemistry as Adams and Rodgers, which could mean the ball being spread around to the likes of Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling (provided he plays) or even Amari Rodgers.

Rodgers has often turned down the checkdown in search of a bigger play downfield. With Love calling the shots, Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon could be given a heavier workload through the air. Speaking of Jones and Dillon…

Pound the rock

The run game was the key to the Packers’ victory last week against a Cardinals defense that was susceptible to the run, with Green Bay’s passing game compromised due to a lack of receiving options.

Green Bay will be missing an even bigger part of their offense this week as Love fills in for Rodgers, and Jones and Dillon are likely to be trusted to carry the attack once again.

The pair have established themselves as one of NFL’s best backfield duos, racking up yards week after week. Giving Love an efficient running game should help him settle and relieve some of the pressure as he makes his first start.

Can the Packers defense suffocate the Chiefs?

It feels like everyone is just waiting for the Chiefs to become the Chiefs again.

Their defense is an obvious weakness, but a more perplexing problem for KC is the frequency with which opposing teams have managed to stifle their offense this season.

Defenses have dared the Chiefs to run the ball, keeping everything in front of them and forcing Kansas City to slowly matriculate their way down the field, limiting the effectiveness of superstars Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce in the process.

This has reduced the margin for error the Chiefs have when have the ball, as they are enjoying fewer possessions than in the past. Rather than take what the defense is giving them, Mahomes has too often tried to push for more and has paid the price with far more turnovers than we have come to expect from the former MVP.

That formula is essentially what the Packers have done successfully almost every week since Joe Barry came to town, and unless the Chiefs make a concerted effort to change their identity on offense, they may be playing into Green Bay’s hands.

Matt LaFleur has said he “doesn’t buy” the Chiefs 4-4 record, and I think many Packers fans share that opinion. Despite the struggles KC has experienced on offense, there is still a sense that they could find themselves again at any moment.

In Patrick Mahomes, Hill, Kelce and head coach Andy Reid, the Chiefs have too much talent to stay stuck in the mud all year long. The Packers will be hoping Kansas City wait at least one more week to figure it out.

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Mark Oldacres is a sports writer from Birmingham, England and a Green Bay Packers fan. You can follow him on twitter at @Marko7LW

11 points

Comments (49)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Cubbygold's picture

November 06, 2021 at 02:14 pm

I think another import one to watch is special teams. Without Rodgers this team can't be giving up big returns, being reckless by returning kicks from deep in the end zone, missing field goals. Far too often the team seems to relax, knowing that Rodgers can score fast if needed. Hopefully this ST unit has a solid day.

9 points
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Cheesey51's picture

November 06, 2021 at 07:21 pm

Excellent point, Cubbygold. The window to success just narrowed. I agree, lets hope ST's has a solid day ,.

3 points
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AnotherLombardiPlease's picture

November 06, 2021 at 02:14 pm

All eyes will be on Love, but what we can't see, but will surely sense, will be the influence of Matt LaFleur. I'm not about to predict a Packer win but I do believe LaFleur's coaching and game planning will put us in the best possible position to win.

He gets shortchanged in the barbershop but if he can pull off back-to-back upsets over the Cardinals and Chiefs, he will surely be in the driver's seat for NFL Coach of the Year.

8 points
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jurp's picture

November 06, 2021 at 06:44 pm

He should be Coach of the Year, but the Packers are small-market and not on either coast, so I don't know that this will ever happen. Too bad, because he deserves it.

4 points
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Cheesey51's picture

November 06, 2021 at 07:23 pm

when MLF pulls off the best coaching game of his 2021 year against Andy Reed and KC, THEY, will have no choice but to recognize his greatness

3 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

November 07, 2021 at 08:38 am

More motion offense and counters. Amari Rodgers now has eight games under his belt and will start to factor in the game plans. Adams made Hundley look good,etc. Time for Deguara to show his stuff. Two-deep safeties and Savage has to show up sealing Hill. Andy Reid will feature the 3rd and fourth receivers in his play calls. Should be a fun contest as long as the O line puts a beat down on Chris Jones...

3 points
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calabasa's picture

November 06, 2021 at 02:24 pm

The Packers will win.

1. The run game will dominate- don’t forget, this O-line, with or without Bahk, has dictated play all season. The Chiefs aren’t about to change this.

2. MLF will set Love up for success- play action, screens, short routes, Deguara…

3. Intangibles: this team will give their all to support Love and keep the momentum rolling.

4. Don’t forget about our D! A couple TO’s will help the cause, hell maybe a defensive score, why not?!

Sure it will be hostile, but nothing quiets a crowd like a 9-minute drive.

GO PACK!!!

14 points
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NickPerry's picture

November 07, 2021 at 06:26 am

"Sure it will be hostile, but nothing quiets a crowd like a 9-minute drive."

You're damn right about that calabasa and the BEST way to have those 9 minute drives is by employing the first point you made..."POUND THE ROCK!"

Funny you mentioned Deguara...I have a feeling Deguara is going to be a big part of Love's success. My thinking is Deguara and Love have probably spent a lot of time together on the scout team and on 2nd team reps so I'm hoping their familiar with one another.

Also I think Dillon gets some work in the passing game too. Love and Dillon are good buddies. Maybe I'm reaching and hoping a bit too much here, but I have a gooooood feeling about Sunday afternoon in KC!!

GO PACK GO!

3 points
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Coldworld's picture

November 07, 2021 at 07:35 am

I don’t think Deguara has ever been on the scout team. He missed 3/4 of last season and the entire off and preseason before being activated to the roster. Therefore he probably hasn’t lined up with Love. ESB will have done. Taylor and Rodgers in preseason. of the running backs, probably only Patrick Taylor. I’m not sure that any TE has.

0 points
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Packers0808's picture

November 06, 2021 at 02:52 pm

Prevea dumps Rodgers over his stupid Covid stance and advice! Have a good feeling LaFleur has a great game plan for Love to play within himself and his limitations and Packer pull of larger score win then most expect!

2 points
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jurp's picture

November 06, 2021 at 06:46 pm

I repeatedly saw the same brand-new State Farm commercial today while watching college football. It did not include Jake from State Farm. Could State Farm be quietly dumping "the smartest man in the room"?

0 points
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MainePackFan's picture

November 06, 2021 at 08:28 pm

"Five things to watch in Packers vs Chiefs: Let LaFleur cook"

That's the headline. How about we just talk about the Packers game and stop hating on Aaron Rodgers for at least one thread. I know I would certainly enjoy a break from the BS drama, and talk some football. I hope Love has solid game and leads us to a victory. That's what Packer fans should be talking at this point. Go to the "hate Rodgers" threads if you can't help yourself. God knows there are plenty of them. I know you are a regular in here, and generally I enjoy your commentary. Can we please give the hate a break and enjoy Packers football.

4 points
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Dr.Rodgers's picture

November 07, 2021 at 08:18 am

I know, right?

0 points
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jurp's picture

November 07, 2021 at 08:27 am

Just commenting on someone's post, and it was in context with that post. Not hating on Rodgers so much as indulging in perhaps too much schadenfreude. "My body my choice" - isn't that the mantra these days?

2 points
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Letfreedomring's picture

November 06, 2021 at 03:22 pm

I don't think Love is a bright QB and you can see that in not only his play but his mediocre wonderlic score. I think MLF will have to manage him to ensure he doesn't make dumb mistakes and just take what the defense gives him and they could do fine but I don't expect much from him even though they're playing the worst defense in the NFL.

-16 points
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calabasa's picture

November 06, 2021 at 03:37 pm

At this point I’m sick of rally smart QB’s.

6 points
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PeteK's picture

November 06, 2021 at 04:24 pm

Avg score is 20. Love 27-- Peyton -28, Aikman-29, Rothlisberger-25, Favre-22 Turnover and bad decision machine Wentz-40. You thinking that he is not bright is a compliment to his intelligence.

21 points
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Cheesey51's picture

November 06, 2021 at 07:26 pm

Packer personnel an coaching staff brought Love in to run MLF's system. Love must know something.
Looking forward to seeing MLF's system in its pure sense on Sunday

7 points
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Starrbrite's picture

November 06, 2021 at 07:42 pm

I like your thinking PeteK. Dr. James Dobson once said, “You don’t have to be an “A” student to make it in his world, which applies to athletes too.

3 points
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MarkinMadison's picture

November 06, 2021 at 11:28 pm

I can't like this comment enough. Factual. Perspective. Concise. Bravo.

5 points
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NickPerry's picture

November 07, 2021 at 06:37 am

Thanks PeteK... I had just looked up all the Wonderlic Scores of many of the QB's you just mentioned and was ready to post them when I saw your comment.

I'll add that Brees score was a 28, and Eli Mannings was a 24. Loves 27 is just fine. It's above average and lets not forget...Jordan Love was the QB who MLF wanted.

6 points
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jurp's picture

November 06, 2021 at 06:47 pm

You'll find a much more receptive home at Acme Packing Company. I suggest you slither over there ASAP.

3 points
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Coldworld's picture

November 06, 2021 at 03:31 pm

I think a lot hangs on the D linemen. With Keke out and Lowry hindered, can Slaton and Heflin deliver. That’s key to the pressure up the middle the OLBs will need to repeat last week.

11 points
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SwedeBayPacker's picture

November 06, 2021 at 03:53 pm

I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it
I'm about to see Love play and I hope I'll like it

11 points
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PeteK's picture

November 06, 2021 at 04:33 pm

I know I know I know I'll like it

3 points
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jont's picture

November 07, 2021 at 09:51 am

There's a Pointer Brother?

2 points
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PeteK's picture

November 06, 2021 at 04:29 pm

Many great coaches can stake their reputation on the QBs that they have coached. This might be MLF's Starr.

1 points
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Lphill's picture

November 06, 2021 at 04:34 pm

Love just has to do enough not to lose .

4 points
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dblbogey's picture

November 06, 2021 at 04:45 pm

Just seeing the name Brett Hundley makes me sad.

7 points
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Bure9620's picture

November 06, 2021 at 06:16 pm

Also, the reason we have an opportunity to win this game is because Jordan Love is vaccinated. Kudos to him, smart move. Otherwise, We are looking at Blake Bortles.

12 points
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jurp's picture

November 06, 2021 at 06:48 pm

Backed up by Randall Cobb. No offense to either, but "yuck".

1 points
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splitpea1's picture

November 06, 2021 at 06:19 pm

Despite all the intrigue surrounding Love's first start, defense and the running game are the keys to winning here. Need strong games from Stokes, Gary, Campbell, Dillon and Jones. Maybe we can get away with a game manager-type approach from Love, although I'm not betting on it.

What to look for? How we're going to fill the TE void with the loss of Tonyan; we've been able to skate by with the next man up with all of the injuries so far, but this is really pushing it. This is almost as big of an opportunity for Deguara as it is for Love to show what he can do at the pro level.

5 points
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jurp's picture

November 06, 2021 at 06:43 pm

Sorry, Mark, but "matriculate" doesn't mean what you think it means. From Merriam-Webster:

Matriculate: 1. To enroll as a member of a body and especially of a college or university.
2. To be enrolled at a college or university

Those are the only two definitions for that word. Hate to be pedantic, but as a retired technical writer, I thought I'd just pass this on.

8 points
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dobber's picture

November 06, 2021 at 07:44 pm

Hank Stram, who had some pretty odd sayings and quotes (not of the magnitude of a Yogi Berra), was the originator of the "matriculate the ball down the field" saying.

8 points
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Coldworld's picture

November 07, 2021 at 07:41 am

The Mrs Malaprops of football

1 points
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barutanseijin's picture

November 07, 2021 at 08:16 am

Hank was great, but his word choice was poor in that instance. No need to repeat his error.

0 points
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jurp's picture

November 07, 2021 at 08:29 am

Agreed. From what I've just learned from other posters (below), it seems as if "matriculate" in that context has become a cliche. That's another reason to not use it.

0 points
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SanLobo's picture

November 06, 2021 at 07:49 pm

Lots of words have different meanings within subgroups of a culture or society not recognized in the dictionary. Thanks to the late KC philosopher Hank Stram, to the football subgroup it means, “Keep moving that ball down the field, boys!”

3 points
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AnotherLombardiPlease's picture

November 06, 2021 at 07:57 pm

First of all, I respect your desire to see language used correctly, jurp. It also bugs me to see words misspelled and misused.

However, I seemed to recall "matriculate" used in a football sense, so I did a little research. It turns out Hank Stram once used the word (incorrectly at the time)... but it stuck!

Check out this interesting little link. https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/words-were-watching-matric...

3 points
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jurp's picture

November 07, 2021 at 08:32 am

Interesting read - thanks! I think I'll matriculate myself into the kitchen for another cup of coffee.

1 points
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Cheesey51's picture

November 06, 2021 at 07:29 pm

I am so looking forward to seeing MLF's system run by the QB2.
With all the offensive pieces surrounding Love back and the offensive line bowling opponents over sit back and get excited.

3 points
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Crankbait's picture

November 06, 2021 at 08:11 pm

Had a really good feeling about this game at first, but now that I have sat on this for awhile, It's becoming more apparent that asking Jordan Love to get his first victory, in his very first game, at Arrowhead, against Patrick Mahomes ?
Don't see it happening.
No big deal , this game definitely does not make or break our season.

3 points
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Packers0808's picture

November 06, 2021 at 09:28 pm

Well Aaron isn't karening and will be watching the game from Mahommes!

-1 points
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ImaPayne2's picture

November 06, 2021 at 10:22 pm

The game plan is pretty simple, Love will hand off as much as possible to keep the d off the field and pass when he has too.
The d will play the bend dont break defense that doesnt work and hasnt since Capers came here and installed it.
If the Chiefs win by 21 I would not be shocked thats for sure.

-5 points
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JordyWoodson's picture

November 06, 2021 at 11:34 pm

Pound the rock and generate some turnovers. Let's win this one. Go Pack Go!

2 points
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MarkinMadison's picture

November 06, 2021 at 11:41 pm

I want to see Love work his progression and make good decisions with the ball.

I want to see how mobile he is, both in moving around the pocket and when taking off. The thing about his college tape is that he reminded me of a younger Rodgers when he would take off with the ball or throw off platform.

I want to see the defense repeat what they did against the Cards, but do it without Lowry.

3 points
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barutanseijin's picture

November 07, 2021 at 08:41 am

I’m looking to see a QB that is just out there playing football instead of protecting a reputation.

1 points
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Crankbait's picture

November 09, 2021 at 07:47 am

I never wanna hear a damn thing from MLF until it has to do with him finally fixing the special teams. He should be just as embarrassed and enraged as we are and do his job.

-1 points
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Reghamster's picture

November 09, 2021 at 06:40 pm

It is fun to read all the pre game speculation after the fact. MLF was perhaps with the STs the biggest explanation for the loss. In his presser he probably should have said no MVP pour moi. Not a great example of offensive game calling especially with a rookie starting . Was it another example of the Packer's disease hubris ?

0 points
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