Pre-game Prediction: Packers vs. Chiefs

Today is Thursday, August 25th, meaning we are exactly 2 weeks away from regular season football. In the mean time, we are in the last week of preseason. This preseason has been exciting for many teams, and the youngsters of the league have shined. Tonight the Green Bay Packers will be in Kansas City to take on the Chiefs for their final preseason game. I have gone 2-0 on my predictions for the Packers’ past 2 preseason games, and I look to remain undefeated tonight.

It’s time to take a dive into what to expect from the Packers who are 1-1 in the preseason so far, with a close loss against the San Francisco 49ers and a comfortable victory facing the New Orleans Saints. It is always good to take a look at the record of the head coach of a team in preseason, as many coaches dominate the regular season, but could care less about preseason. An example of this is Packers’ head coach Matt Lafleur. Lafleur only has a 3-6 record in his young career in the preseason. Tonight, we can expect to see a lot of Jordan Love for the third straight week. Matt Lafleur confirmed that starters will not be playing tonight, which includes quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Aaron Rodgers is coming off his 2nd straight MVP season, so there is no need for him to play, or is there? Some may argue that starters should at least play one drive, as last season, no Packers starters played in the preseason, which may have been a factor in a week 1 blowout loss to the New Orleans Saints. In the 38-3 loss, both the Packers’ offense and defense looked absolutely flat, and some would argue that they would have looked better if they had warmed themselves up to the speed of the game in a drive or two of preseason. Moving back to Jordan Love however, the quarterback looked great last week against New Orleans. The 12/24 for 113 yards and 1 touchdown stat line does not do Jordan Love justice, as Love passed the eye test. Love beautifully placed balls in his receiver’s hands all night, and though he missed a few throws, he did not make nearly as many mistakes as he did in his game against the 49ers, where he threw 3 interceptions. It should also be noted that some of Love’s throws last week were easy completions that were straight up dropped by receivers such as rookie Romeo Doubs and Samori Toure. Love played all but one drive last week, and we can expect more of the same this week. This could be one of the Packers’ last chances to evaluate the third year quarterback, and ultimately make a decision on his future with the team. They need to see as much of Love as possible. With that being said, we can also expect at least a drive from presumed third string quarterback Danny Etling, who has surprisingly looked great with his limited snaps. Moving on to the receivers, they need to be better. Although many criticize the Packers for not having a clear-cut wide receiver one after the departure of star Davante Adams, they do have depth. Guys such as rookies Samori Toure and Juwann Winfree have had some key drops, and it is likely that at least one of them does not make the Packers’ final 53 man roster despite their talent. These guys will have to show out in their final preseason game tonight if they want a roster spot. Romeo Doubs has been a noticeable preseason star despite some drops. For the 2nd straight week, Doubs had an impressive touchdown catch, this time being a 50/50 ball that he went up and grabbed in the end zone. There has been a lot of hype behind Romeo Doubs, however, another player with a lot of hype behind him is Packers’ second round pick Christian Watson. Watson is a game time decision for tonight, but he is likely to make his preseason debut. Watson has explosive speed coupled with an insane frame standing at 6’4 and 207 pounds. However, his hands were shaky in college at North Dakota State, as he had quite a few drops. This seems to be a recurring theme around the Packers’ receivers this preseason. Although the offense has been the focal point of the Packers this preseason, the young defense did play pretty well last week, holding the Saints to just 10 points. The defensive line has been great for the Packers, however, I was looking to see more from first round pick Devonte Wyatt out of Georgia. Wyatt made his preseason debut last week, but he was relatively quiet on the defensive line. I would like to see Wyatt be disruptive this week. The Packers may have the best secondary in the NFL, however, the young guys of the secondary have not played well this preseason. The safety room after starters Darnell Savage and Adrian Amos looks weak, and it will be interesting to see if anyone can step up and have a great performance.

It’s time to move on to the Kansas City Chiefs, who are 1-1 this preseason with a loss to the Chicago Bears and a win over the Washington Commanders. Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid has coached his fair share of preseason games, as he has a career 43-46 record in the preseason. It will be interesting to see how much time Patrick Mahomes will play tonight, if he plays at all. Mahomes has played at least one drive in both of the Chiefs’ preseason games so far, and as is expected with a superstar against defenders who may not even make an NFL roster, Mahomes has been nearly perfect. When asked about Mahomes and other starters’ status for tonight, Andy Reid simply said, “We’ll see.” A notable Chiefs receiver to watch out for is Justin Watson. Watson has played extremely well for the Chiefs this preseason, having a combined 98 yards and 1 touchdown on 7 receptions. Another player to keep an eye on is Isiah Pacheco. Pacheco has been an absolute stud at training camp for the Chiefs, however, he’s only had 6 total carries this preseason for just 14 yards. It will be interesting to see if the Chiefs let Pacheco loose a bit and see if he can perform to the standards he set for himself at training camp. The quarterbacks behind Mahomes have not necessarily impressed much as they fight for the backup spot behind Mahomes. We can expect to see a lot of Shane Buechele, and some of Dustin Crum and presumed backup Chad Henne. It should also be noted that overall, the Chiefs defense has played well this preseason, holding the Commanders to 14 points and the Bears to 19 points.

With that being said, it’s time for my prediction. This game is an absolute tossup for me. If Mahomes even plays just one drive, it is a major advantage for Kansas City, but Mahomes may not even play a snap. This is a revenge game for quarterback Jordan Love, who lost his first ever regular season start to the Chiefs. With that in mind, I am going to take the Packers led by Jordan Love to win in a close game, 20-16.
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