The Packers have been one of the better defenses in the NFL this season, particularly in pass defense. They play a lot of man and press-man defense combined with different blitz packages to get to the quarterback. This is easily the best group of offensive weapons they have faced to this point, and with Sammy playing on Sunday, the Chiefs could look to exploit some of the things the Packers like to do against 11 personnel.
I would think the Chiefs see more Nickel than Dime against the Packers because of Matt Moore at quarterback but the simple fact that the Chiefs will have Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins on the field could force the Packers to play more Dime and that would open up running lanes for McCoy and the Williams’. If the Chiefs are going to make use of play-action passes and give Moore time in the pocket they will need to take advantage of Dime and even Nickel looks and get chunk plays on the ground.
The Packers also like to mix things up with their blitzes, the goal being to bring more than you can block or more commonly, make the line think there will be more pressure than there is and find a way to get a free rusher with just four or five guys coming.
This is typically how teams get away with playing man coverage on crossing routes and slants. The left tackle has to make a decision on who to block and that allows one man to come free quickly. the two safety look pre-snap also confuses reads from the quarterback. This is a well-designed play by defensive coordinator Mike Pettine and I expect him to try to confuse Moore early and often.
For as good as the Packers have been against the pass one thing continues to get them in trouble, tight ends. Just last week David Waller racked up 126 receiving yards and two touchdowns on the Packers. The Chiefs have the best tight end in the NFL in Travis Kelce and I think Reid might be dialing up a few special plays for him this week.
The Raiders design this play well out of 22 personnel and it forces the Packers to bring eight men into the box to try and stop the run. This creates mismatches on the outside, particularly to the right where one defender ends up responsible for two pass catchers. The receiver runs a go route and Waller runs a corner route. The go route takes the corner with it and leaves Waller wide open for a 16-yard completion. Waller also found himself wide open down the middle of the field on a seam route where the defense just lost him. Should have been a third touchdown for him.
The Chiefs can find a way to scheme Kelce open especially with Hill and Watkins on the field together, not to mention Hardman’s speed. This is going to be a true test for the Chiefs offensive will and Reid’s ability to gameplan with a backup quarterback. If the Chiefs can finally get the ground game going on Sunday Night, their chance of victory goes up exponentially. What will you be looking for on either side of the ball?