PACKERS FOOTBALL FRIDAY: Keep it Going

Eddie Lacy running through the Rams

For a season with a 4-0 start it doesn’t seem like the fiesta that it should.  The ups of an undefeated start that has included emotional wins over the 49ers and Seahawks have been rivaled by the downs of the season-long loss of Jordy Nelson and countless other injuries.  The inability of the Packers to stay healthy on offense has limited what Aaron Rodgers can do, and if the offensive line doesn’t play better Rodgers might get dinged up again.

That’s a lot of complaining to do about a 4-0 team, there’s no question about that.  The point of this season, though, is to win the Super Bowl.  That’s it.  Not go to the Super Bowl, win it.  I’m not sure that what I’ve seen through the first 4 weeks of the season is a Super Bowl champion.

That doesn’t mean that all is lost.  All is obviously not lost.  The team is undefeated.  The young offense can grow together as it gets healthy.  A deep threat (see Janis, Jeff) can hopefully develop.  Bryan Bulaga’s return should help alleviate some of the offensive line issues.  The San Diego Chargers are Green Bay’s week 6 opponent, and are very beat up.  The Packers appear to be one win against the Rams this Sunday from rolling into the bye week undefeated.

Why the Packers will win: Green Bay doesn’t lose at home and St. Louis isn’t that good.  Yes, the Rams are a big concern for any team that has an elite quarterback.  Aaron Donald is the best 4-3 defensive tackle in the league and the Rams can create pressure without blitzing, which is always an issue.  Problem is, despite that front 4, the Rams are just 2-2.  Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense are still unstoppable at home.  The quick throwing, efficient offense that the Packers have had to transform into with Jordy Nelson is exactly the kind of attack to use against an elite front.

The new look Packers defense doesn’t have the same challenge in front of them.  According to FootballOutsider’s.com, the Packers offense ranks 7th in the league.  The Rams offense checks in at 21st.  If the Packers offense can provide the defense with the lead and keep Todd Gurley out of the equation, Nick Foles and the Rams passing game isn’t much of a concern.  As soon as Green Bay leads the game by 10 or more, expect things to go sideways for the Rams.  The Packers pass rush is as potent as any in the league, totaling 13 sacks in the last two weeks.  The Rams offensive line is young and ineffective, which is bad news against BJ Raji, Datone Jones and especially Mike Daniels.

Why the Rams will win: they have the same formula that any team uses to combat an elite quarterback.  Cover with seven, get pressure with 4.  There is a way for St. Louis to win this game.  If the Rams can get Todd Gurley going, they can keep the Packers offense off the field.  If the Rams defense can limit the big play and force a few punts, the Rams can keep the game close until the end.

If the Rams pass rush proves to be too much for the Packers offensive line, the Packers might be forced to try tun the ball.  The Rams, even just using their front seven, are a very good run defense.  I have a hard time believing the Packers could win a contest between the two defenses and running games.  Then again, I have a hard time believing that Aaron Rodgers is getting shut down at home.

Bottom Line: I picked the Packers to go 8-0 at home and I’m certainly not going to change my mind right now.  This game has a classic Packers home game feel to it.  Rodgers and the offense pull ahead, the opposing team abandons the run game and the Packers pass rush starts to tee off.  Alex Smith wasn’t able to deal with it and Nick Foles isn’t going to be able to deal with it earlier.  I have a ton of respect for Robert Quinn, Chris Long and Aaron Donald, but it isn’t going to be enough to take care of Rodgers and the Packers at Lambeau Field.  Packers 38 Rams 17

 

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Ross Uglem is a writer at PackersTalk.com. You can follow Ross on twitter at RossUglem

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