The divisional round of the playoffs is upon us. In one of the most appealing matchups of the weekend from a pure star-power viewpoint, the top-seeded Green Bay Packers welcome the No. 6 seed Los Angeles Rams to Lambeau Field to kick off Saturday’s action. Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, Aaron Jones, Jaire Alexander, Za’Darius Smith, Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, and more will all be on the exact same field. This must be fun.
Let’s break down the matchup.
How to see
Date: Saturday, Jan. 16
In Green Bay’s three losses this season, the Packers gave up 158, 173, and 140 hurrying lawns, to challengers who balanced 4.5, 5.1, and 3.8 yards per attempt. The Colts staged a second-half return by running their way into basket and tightening up on defense. Tampa’s early lead came on a pick-six and another interception went back to the 2-yard line, so it was only Minnesota that truly came out and just ran the ball right down Green Bay’s throat from the dive. Even the Vikings didn’t take the lead for great till the 3rd quarter, and didn’t put things away until Dalvin Cook took a screen pass 50 lawns to the home.
Naturally, the Packers understand the Rams wish to run the ball. And the Rams understand the Packers know they wish to run the ball. Which is why it’s a good thing their whole passing game is about marrying play action to their preferred run ideas. With Jared Goff’s thumb injury, it may be a great idea to get him fast strikes on screens to the border, along with half-field keeps reading bootlegs, where he can just dispose it off to one of his targets and let them make a have fun with the ball in their hands.
Things get harder for the LA death game with Cooper Kupp’s knee injury, putting more pressure on Robert Woods (who seems likely to see a great deal of Jaire Alexander, who would be getting a lot more attention today if he weren’t playing against Jalen Ramsey’s team), Josh Reynolds, and Van Jefferson. LA’s finest death game matches are probably their tight ends (Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett) against the Packers’ linebackers and securities, and it wouldn’t be unexpected to see a lot of 12 personnel (one back, two tight ends) looks from the Rams, wanting to get heavier looks from the Green Bay defense and then hit the tight ends on crossers out of play action.
When the Packers have the ball
The marquee match here, clearly, is Davante Adams vs. Jalen Ramsey. Adams solidified himself as something like the consensus best pass receiver in football this season, racking up 115 catches for 1,374 backyards and 18 goals in just 14 video games. (And it was actually 13.5 video games, as he exited halfway through the Packers’ Week 2 contest.) He and Aaron Rodgers share a mind-meld that is unrivaled by any other quarterback-receiver combination in the league at the moment, and they challenge defenses to cover every inch of the field.
Lucky for the Rams, they have a cornerback who is up to the challenge. Ramsey watched a private receiver in 10 of the 17 games the team has actually played up until now this season, per NFL.com tracking, and he has been … extraordinary in those games, as you can see in the table listed below.
( Note: The reception, yardage, and goal totals for these video games include ONLY targets where the receiver was covered by Ramsey, so they may not represent 100 percent of the player’s production because provided video game.)
The most interesting thing about the Adams-Ramsey fight is that it’s exceptionally not likely to be won at the catch point.
So, if there’s anybody who can shake Ramsey’s in-your-jersey coverage, it’s most likely Adams.
The 2nd most intriguing battle here is Packers head coach and play-caller Matt LaFleur versus Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley.
Will LaFleur take Staley up on his dare and attempt to run the ball more frequently than is useful? The Packers of last year definitely would have done so. (It deserves noting that both Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams ran into a heavy box including eight-plus defenders just 19 percent of their carries this season, per Next Gen Stats.) This season’s group was a bit more pass-oriented than it was a year ago, though, thanks to Rodgers growing more comfortable in the offense. The Packers will require to discover methods to include the backs and tight end Robert Tonyan in the passing video game too, to try to benefit from LA’s linebackers in protection.
Naturally, very little of this matters if they can’t deal with Aaron Donald. The superstar protective lineman is dealing with an uncomfortable rib injury sustained in recently’s triumph over Seattle, however he says he’s going to play. And if he plays, he will be problem to handle. That’s just what he does. Green Bay has a great offensive line, however its most reputable member (David Bakhtiari) was lost for the season to a torn ACL last month. The interior of the O-line remains undamaged, though, which is perhaps more important against a gamer like Donald, who lines up inside. Obviously, Donald is not the only fear to handle. Michael Brockers is a force in his own right, Morgan Fox had his best season yet, and Leonard Floyd and Samson Ebukam can fly around the edge. Not to point out Sebastian Joseph-Day, who is a dominant gamer in the run game.
Most Current Chances:
Green Bay Packers.
Forecast: Packers 24, Rams 20