Packers vs. Chiefs: Five key matchups

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Kansas City Chiefs running back

Jamaal Charles

(25). Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

2) Packers LBs vs. Jamaal Charles

Charles is an All Pro NFL running back, who has eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark five of the past six seasons. For 2015, he’s already recorded 182 yards on the ground with a 4.9 rushing average.

He’s the Chiefs’ top offensive weapon and a guy who is always on the verge of breaking open a game with a long run.

The Packers are going to have to be really disciplined in their run-gap assignments. If their linebackers over-pursue the rushing lanes, Charles will cutback and make them pay.

Green Bay’s outside linebackers will have to play with good outside contain–something they did well last week against Marshawn Lynch. However, Charles has more home-run speed and could cause problems for the Packers defense if he gets out in space.

This will be a big week for Clay Matthews, Nate Palmer, and the other Packers inside linebackers. They’ll not only have to keep Charles from making plays at the second level, but they also have to shadow him in the passing game and bring him down immediately after he catches the ball.

Julius Peppers has a clear advantage against young tackles like Jah Reid and Donald Stephenson. He shouldn’t have a problem creating pressure off the edge, so look for Kansas City to respond by getting the ball out of Smith’s hands quickly by targeting Charles on swing routes, screens, and checkdowns.

Next: #3. Another elite Tight End to cover