This Sunday, Green Bay (7-1) will travel to Arrowhead Stadium in pursuit of their eighth consecutive win of the season against the disheveled Kansas City Chiefs (4-4). But a Week 9 game that was expected to be a battle of the quarterbacks has quickly been marred by unforeseen circumstances.
Jordan Love, the second-year backup quarterback, has big shoes to fill as he will now step up to the plate for Green Bay. He will replace starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who will sit this one out after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this week. Love, who played at Utah State, was Green Bay’s first-round draft pick in 2020 when they selected him 26th overall. Love is getting his first real experience in the NFL this year.
Fortunately for the Packers, Love does have some experience with the Green Bay offense under his belt. With Rodgers missing a majority of training camp, Love stepped up to fill the vacant quarterback role. As a result, Love saw significant action in two preseason games against the Houston Texans and the Buffalo Bills. Overall, Love completed 25-of-35 passes (68.8%) for 271 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
In the first two games of the regular season, Love got scrap time against the New Orleans Saints as well as the Detroit Lions. Love played 15 snaps in the blowout 38-3 loss to the Saints. He completed 5-of-7 pass attempts. The following week in a 35-17 win against the Lions, Love saw time on the field again as he played the last snap of the game in which he kneeled to kill the clock. At the end of the day, Love will make his first NFL career regular-season start with only 68 yards on the season and zero touchdowns. Love just does not have enough experience to predict how his performance will impact the outcome of the game.
One thing is for sure, with Rodgers out, the entire dynamic of the matchup has shifted. What could have been an easy Packers victory is now up in the air. Rodgers has been the center of the Green Bay offense thus far, having thrown for 1,894 yards with 17 touchdowns and only three interceptions. The absence of Rodgers will be a lifeline to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs as they will look to capitalize on the opportunity and clinch a win. But this is easier said than done.
Despite the potential issues that may arise on the Packers' offensive end, their defense is a force to be reckoned with this season. At the forefront of the defense is stud linebacker De'Vondre Campbell, who was just named the NFC Defensive Player of the Month. This is the first time in over a decade that a Packers player has received the honor. In the month of October, Campbell totaled 45 tackles with three tackles for the loss. The defense as a whole has not allowed more than 22 points in any of their last five games. On the season, Green Bay’s defense has only allowed 2,654 total offensive yards, 920 rushing and 1,734 passing.
Mahomes will enter Sunday’s game looking to turn his season around and prove that the Chiefs are not a lost cause for the season. Despite throwing 2,368 yards for 19 touchdowns, he leads the NFL in interceptions with 10.
The Chiefs are downright struggling on both ends of the field. Not only can the offense just not seem to find its groove, but they honestly might also have one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Kansas City’s defense has allowed 3,132 total offensive yards, 974 rushing and 2,158 passing. Even with an inexperienced quarterback such as Love, this defense could still struggle immensely.
Sunday’s game could go either way with both teams having a lot to prove.