Chiefs vs. Packers: Five Things to Watch

The Chiefs have their fourth and final preseason game on Thursday night 

The Kansas City Chiefs host the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night at Arrowhead Stadium in the fourth and final preseason game for both teams. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. CT and the game can be seen locally on KCTV5.

Here are five things to watch:

1.    Keep an eye on the wide receiver position

It has been one of the most competitive and talked about position groups on the Kansas City Chiefs' roster since the start of training camp, which is good for a personnel staff whose job it is to create a certain level of competition, but it also makes the job more difficult when we get to this point.

Those guys are tasked with trimming down the roster to 53 players by Saturday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. CT, which means Thursday's game is key for players who are fighting for those last few roster spots.

In regards to the receiver position, specifically, the Chiefs could look to keep six or seven guys at that spot, which is easier said than done when there are plenty more than that who have flashed at different points this preseason.

"There's great competition," Chiefs' coach Andy Reid said last week before they took on the Bears. "And that's fun to watch. Both [Gehrig] Dieter and [Marcus] Kemp are very close. And here they are competing for a position on the team. They both have had good practices and good games and that's good—that makes us better when we have that competition."

Kemp had a big 55-yard touchdown reception late in that game on a pass from rookie quarterback Chase Litton, who should see plenty of extended action on Thursday night.

Patrick Mahomes won't play, but Chad Henne will get some time before giving way to Matt McGloin and Litton, who will split the rest of the time after Henne is done.

2.    Will rookie Ben Niemann have another standout performance?

Niemann has been one of the standouts of the preseason—garnering 11 total tackles, which includes one that came on a key fourth down stop inside the red zone against the Houston Texans in Week 1, but he also had a pick-6 against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 2 that people won't soon forget.

The former Iowa Hawkeye should have another opportunity to show what he can do Thursday night against the Packers.

"He's had a nice camp and this is an important game for him," Chiefs' coach Andy Reid explained. "He'll have some extended time in there."

For more on Niemann and his path to the Chiefs, check this out.

3.    It's the last opportunity for a lot of guys

While many first-teamers will be given the night off, there's plenty on the line for the guys who are out there playing.

There are still jobs on the line, whether it's with the Chiefs or the other 31 teams across the league who will be intently watching the film of this game.

And by Saturday afternoon, there will be more than 1,100 players from across the league who will be released within the same 24-hour period, which means Thursday is not only the last audition for a lot of these guys to state their cases to make a team, but it could also be the last time many of them will ever suit up for an NFL game.

These guys have worked their entire lives to be able to live in this moment, which for die-hard football fans should bring a certain level of appreciation for what they're doing.

It's witnessing guys living out their dreams for what could be the last time.

4.    The young offensive linemen

While the skill positions tend to get most of the headlines and notoriety, which for the Chiefs has surrounded the receiver and running back groups this offseason, the other group to watch for the Chiefs Thursday night is the offensive line.

With guys like sixth-round pick Khalil McKenzie, plus undrafted rookies Jimmy Murray and Ryan Hunter, as well as several others, these are crucial reps for their development and also their cases to make the final roster.

It'll be interesting to see how much playing time a guy like Andrew Wylie gets as well.

Wylie stepped in for Laurent Duvernay-Tardif at right guard when Duvernay-Tardif was out with a concussion, but since he has returned to practice, what does that mean for Wylie's playing time on Thursday?

The fact that Wylie was the next man up bodes well for his chances, but also because he was working at right guard with the first team and then slid over to left tackle with the second-team unit.

The coaches have consistently preached, "the more you can do."

5.    Who stands out on special teams?

It's discussed every year but those final few roster spots, whether it's the backup linebackers, defensive backs, tight ends, or receivers, generally come down to special teams. That's often the tie-breaker for who will make the 53-man roster, so that's definitely an area to watch on Thursday night.

Back at training camp, Chiefs' general manager Brett Veach shared that his personnel staff, which has different guys assigned to different divisions around the league to watch and evaluate their rosters, will spend a ton of time watching special teams in the fourth preseason games.

The games are filled with mostly young players and special teams is where they would have to stand out in order to be picked up by another team.

It's that important.

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