While the Kansas City Chiefs’ offense hopes to build on last week’s momentum, their defense is looking to add to their list of strong performances this season. The unit will be put to another test in Week 13 as they take on a rising Green Bay Packers’ offense on Sunday Night Football.
“Their offense is definitely catching fire,“ Chiefs cornerback Trent McDuffie said of the Packers, “You can tell their confidence is getting back too. So again, this is another test for this defense, but I know we’re going to be ready for it.”
Defensive end George Karlaftis has been one of the team’s most productive players this season, leading the Chiefs with eight sacks. He agreed with his fellow second-year teammate on the challenge presented by Green Bay’s offense.
“The Packers are rolling,” Karlaftis said. “Their quarterback is playing really good ball right now. He could do it all — he can move, and he can throw. You saw what he did against the Lions. They got a good offense. They got good backs. They got good receivers. They got a really good offensive line. So, it’s going to take our best effort. We’re going to try to mix some stuff up and try to do what we do. Just be disciplined and execute on our assignments.”
The key for Kansas City’s defense will be slowing down Packers quarterback Jordan Love. The fourth-year signal-caller has the team surging as of late, leading them to victories in three of their last four games.
“I’ve seen a stat earlier, and it’s kind of eerie how [Love] and Rogers had the exact same stats up until this point — down to like the amount of passing yardage,” Chiefs’ safety Justin Reid pointed out. “I thought that was interesting, but he’s been developing really, really nicely. He’s playing at a high level right now. He can make all the throws, He can boot to his left, he can book to his right, he can throw it downfield, and he’s smart enough to take the check downs when he needs to make the check downs. So, he’s playing well and we’re just going to have to try and get him off of his game.”
The stat Reid mentioned refers to the fact that Love and former Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers have perfectly matching stats to begin their first years as full-time starters. Through his first 11 games in 2008, Rodgers threw for 2,599 passing yards, scored 21 total touchdowns and led the Packers to a 5-6 record. Through his first 11 games of this season, Love’s numbers in those categories are exactly the same.
Jordan Love hit the next level in growth as NFL QB: He can put the @packers on HIS back & take over games.— Chase Daniel (@ChaseDaniel) November 28, 2023
Aaron Rodgers | Jordan Love (1st 11 Games)
▪️2,599 Pass Yds ▫️2,599 Pass Yds
▪️21 Total TDs ▫️21 Total TDs
All 22 QB Film Breakdown
Love’s first career NFL start was against Kansas City in November 2021. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo recalled that game, highlighting Love’s mental toughness as one of his greatest traits.
“When we played [Love] in 2021, I was impressed with him coming out of that game,” Spagnuolo noted. “I never thought he got rattled, and we played really well defensively. We had some success, and they scored the one at the end. I give him a lot of credit for that, but I came out of that game saying that he had something that you really couldn’t rattle him. I thought we could, and I’ve seen him progress through that. Now I think they’re kind of hitting a stride.”
Aside from the quarterback position, the Packers are also talented at the other skill positions – specifically, their up-and-coming wide receiving corp whose inexperience reminds Spagnuolo of the Chiefs’ young defensive secondary from a year ago.
“Their wide receiver core is a little bit like our defensive backs were last year,” observed Spagnuolo. “Everybody was saying that they were young, and they were rookies like they were one- or two-year guys, right? And as the season went — that’s what that crew is doing. The quarterback and the wideouts, as the season goes on, they get better and better.”
Despite the Packers’ talent, the Chiefs’ players are confident in their abilities as a defensive unit. According to McDuffie, as long as everyone executes the way they are supposed to, he feels that they can match up with any team in the NFL.
“As a DB on the back end, things just go back to communication and doing our job,” McDuffie stated. “I feel like once everybody on this team does their job and just handles what they do, we can go out there and beat any offense in this league.