The Green Bay Packers return to action after their mini bye when they host the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. The Packers enter the game with a 5-6 record while the Chiefs are 8-3. The Packers are coming off a 29-22 win over the Lions on Thanksgiving while the Chiefs beat the Las Vegas Raiders 31-17. Here are six key matchups that determine who will win Sunday’s Packers-Chiefs game.

The Chiefs lead the all-time series between these two teams 8-4-1 in the regular season. These two clubs first met in the regular season in 1973. The Chiefs won the last meeting between these teams 13-7 in 2021. Jordan Love made his first NFL start in that game. The Packers won the only postseason game between these teams when they won Super Bowl I 35-10 on January 15, 1967.

Here is a look at six key factors that will determine who wins Sunday’s game at Lambeau Field:

Packers Key Matchups: Number One, Run the Football

The Kansas City defense is a strong one and they rank 4th in scoring defense and 4th in passing yards. But their run defense has been more vulnerable. They are 19th in the league against the run, allowing 113.4-yards per game. But they are giving up an average of 4.6-yards per rush which ranks 28th in the NFL.

But can the Packers run the football effectively against Kansas City? Teams have had success with two tight ends and running directly at the Chiefs defense. But the Packers will be without Aaron Jones again on Sunday. A.J. Dillon is dealing with a groin injury and did not practice on Wednesday, but the Pack is hoping he’ll be ready to play Sunday. Dillon runs well between the tackles which would be ideal to attack the KC defense. Behind Dillon will be Patrick Taylor who is efficient but not dynamic.

The Green Bay offensive line has struggled at run blocking. Will Matt LaFleur play Sean Rhyan more at right guard over Jon Runyan Jr. to try to bolster the running game? They have split time in recent games.

If the Pack can run the football, they can help keep Patrick Mahomes and the dangerous Chiefs offense off the field and give the Packers a chance to win.

Key Matchups: Number Two, Contain Travis Kelce

Tight end Travis Kelce remains an elite tight end and is unquestionably the team’s most dangerous and reliable receiver. Kelce has 70 catches on the season despite missing a game while no other Chiefs player has more than 44.

Kelce is too big for most safeties to handle consistently and too quick for most linebackers. He has good hands and is dangerous after the catch.

The Packers need to slow Kelce down and not allow him to make splash plays. They also should double team him especially on third down. He is Mahomes’ number one target and limiting him will slow down the Chiefs offense.

Packers Key Matchups: Number Three, Prevent Splash Plays

One of the biggest differences in the Chiefs offense this season as opposed to recent years is they are making fewer splash plays. Without Tyreek Hill and JuJu Smith-Schuster, there have been fewer big gains downfield in 2023.

The Packers need to keep the Chiefs from getting back to big plays and force Kansas City to make long, slow drives to score. That will help keep the score lower and increase the chances that the Chiefs commit a turnover or lose yardage via penalty or a sack and have their drives disrupted.

Mahomes remains an elite and dangerous quarterback and the Chiefs offense is dangerous. The Packers need to slow them down and make it tough for them to score quickly.

Key Matchups: Number Four, Protect Jordan Love

The Chiefs are fourth in the league with 37 sacks. It will be vital for the Packers offensive line to give Jordan Love time to throw the football. George Karlaftis leads the team with eight sacks. The primary job of slowing him down will belong to right tackle Zach Tom who has been an effective pass blocker this season.

On the inside, Chris Jones has 7.5 sacks and is one of the better tackles at pressuring the quarterback. Elgton Jenkins will draw the primary task of slowing down Jones.

If Love has time to throw, he can find Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed, or Dontavion Wicks downfield. He may also opt to try to throw shorter and quicker passes to Dillon or Tucker Kraft to keep the chains moving and limit the effectiveness of the Chiefs pass rush.

Packers Key Matchups: Number Five, Pressure Patrick Mahomes

The Kansas City offensive line does a very good job of protecting Mahomes. The Chiefs quarterback is also one of the best in the game at avoiding the rush and extending plays. When he does, he can either make an improvised throw or pick up yards by scrambling.

The Packers defensive line did a great job of pressuring the Lions last week with Rashan Gary leading the way. He had help from Karl Brooks, Preston Smith, and Kenny Clark.

It will be important to prevent Mahomes from picking up first downs with his legs. That means staying in their rush lanes to keep contain. It could also involve using either Quay Walker or De’Vondre Campbell as a spy to shadow Mahomes and keep him from breaking off long gains.

Packers Key Matchups: Number Six, Win the Turnover Battle

The Packers won the turnover battle last week in Detroit and it was a big reason they were able to win the football game. The Packers are now even for the season in this important department.

The Chiefs have struggled in this department all season. They are minus-five on the season which ties them for 23rd in the league in this category.

The Packers need to win the turnover battle and create a short field for their offense. It will also help keep the Chiefs from scoring.

If the Packers don’t win the turnover battle, it will be difficult to win this game.


The Chiefs are the reigning Super Bowl champs, and they remain a great football team. This will be a big challenge for the Packers one week after they pulled off a big upset in Detroit.

This week, the Packers have the home field advantage, and the weather could be tricky at Lambeau Sunday night.

The Packers are playing better and are more confident. They will have a chance to win this game if they play well but they are still learning to win and are likely to fall just short.


Chiefs 24, Packers 17