The Packers notched win number seven in dramatic fashion, beating the Cardinals with a game sealing interception. Given all the key pieces that the Packers were missing for the game, this was the most impressive win of the 2021 season and even might have been the most impressive performance of Matt LeFleur’s tenure as Head Coach. The road forward doesn’t get any easier, as the Packers head into Kansas City to take on the defending AFC Champion. While the Chiefs have looked disjointed at times so far in 2021, make no mistake, this is an extremely talented and dangerous team. For the Packers to continue their win streak and get to win number eight, they will need some breakout performances at positions that will be challenged from the first snap to the last.
The past few weeks Darnell Savage has been tantalizingly close to a breakout performance. In the past two weeks, he is seeing the field better than earlier in the season and has been playing more comfortably in the defense. There’s a growing sense, proven by his play, that he’s about to break through and begin to be the playmaker the Packers believe he is. Against the dangerous Chiefs offense, Savage will be a key component, especially in supporting the corners covering Tyrek Hill. He’s the chess piece that provides the over-the-top protection the Packers will need to keep Kansas City air attack contained. If Savage can also trust his instincts and eyes, he could also walk away from Sunday’s game with a key takeaway.
Thrust into the starting lineup due to Josh Myers’ ankle injury, Lucas Patrick has kept the offense rolling along. He has slid into the center position without a major drop off in in offensive production. He will have his biggest test this week in Kansas City against all world Defensive Tackle Chris Jones. The fastest way to Aaron Rodgers is straight through the center and Jones will be looking to introduce himself to Rodgers early and often. Patrick will need to make sure that crowd noise doesn’t affect protection calls, as well as his own technique are up to the challenge. He will need to have his best game of the season to keep the Packers win streak going.
Mercedes Lewis, Josiah Deguara, and Dominque Dafney
With the heartbreaking loss of Robert “Big Bob” Tonyan to a torn ACL, the entire position group is going to have fill the large void left behind in the offense. Some of that hole will be filled by an expanded role for the ageless Mercedes Lewis, who is having his best season with the Packers so far in 2021. He is easily one of the top blocking tight ends in football, but he may see some increased receiving opportunities. Once the ball is in his hands, look out. Defenders look reluctant to tackle him, and he makes every opportunity count.
The Packers will also look to second year players Josiah Deguara and Dominique Dafney to make the most of this opportunity starting. They have both shown soft hands and some ability to run a variety of routes as well as being effective blockers. If one of them can show the ability to stretch the middle of the field, then they may find themselves a key component in the game plan this week.
Jordan is a lifelong Packer fan who grew up in Idaho and now lives in Seattle, Washington. You can follow him on twitter at @jordantwolf.
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