The last time the St. Louis Rams battered the Green Bay Packers was on October 8, 2006 by a score of 23-20 at Lambeau Field. That year the Rams finished the season with a record of 8-8. It would be the last season the Rams would finish with a winning record. Since 2006, the Rams essentially have been one of the laughing stocks in the NFL. On Sunday (Week 5) Green Bay has a 74% chance of beating the St. Louis Rams and is favored by nearly 9 points.
On the other hand, the Green Bay Packers should not take the underdog Rams lightly or underestimate their athletic ability. This year the Rams have beaten Seattle and Arizona, respectively, but have lost to the Redskins and Steelers. The Rams are sort of a Jekyll/ Hyde team. In other words, Jeff Fisher is not really sure what team will suit up against Green Bay when his squad takes the field. Will it be the team that beat Arizona last Sunday or will it be the team that lost to the Washington Redskins?
Against the Arizona Cardinals Todd Gurley rushed 19 times for an impressive 146 yards. Gurley was drafted by the Rams in the 1st round (10th overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft. The former Georgia running back has size, speed and power. With the Rams ranked 23rd in rushing with 94 yards per game, if the Packers want to avoid an upset, they will have to keep Gurley from rushing over 100 yards for the game.
Rams QB Nick Foles tossed 3 touchdown passes against the Arizona Cardinals during Week 3. He spent three years with the Philadelphia Eagles before being traded to the Rams in 2015. If Foles has time to pass, he can dismantle a defense. He has a career completion percentage of 61.8% and has a 17-11 QB record.
This year, Foles has 5 TD’s and only 1 pick. He is a game director and knows how to protect the football and eliminate turnovers. The Rams have taken the ball away two more times than they have turned it over. Thus, it will be important for the Packers to apply heat and pressure during obvious passing situations, if Green Bay wants to avoid an upset at Lambeau Field on Sunday.
Rams WR Tavon Austin had 6 receptions for 96 yards and 2 TDs against Arizona. He was drafted in the 1st round (8th overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft. Austin is not as dangerous as Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions, but does pose a threat. If Sam Shields can butt heads with this guy, the Packers will have a better chance of sacking Nick Foles at least 3 times during the game.
The Green Bay Packers defense has bounced back since an underachieving performance in Week 1 against Matt Forte and the Chicago Bears. Versatility has been a major factor. The Packers have rotated in several players on defense who have made big plays. In other words, everyone is contributing. Green Bay has an impressive 17 team sacks, which ranks second in the NFL.
On one hand, against Seattle and Kansas City, the Packers played excellent defense the first half of each game, but did not fare well the second half against either team. On the other hand, when the Packers played the 49ers, that all changed. The Packers’ defense did not allow San Francisco to score in the second half and only gave up 3 points the entire game. The Packers defense will have to play all four quarters in high gear again in order to avoid a disappointing loss.
Injuries are a part of the game. The Packers know this all too well. On Sunday, the Rams will be without the services of outside linebacker Alec Ogletree, their leading tackler on defense. This should free up the run for the Packers ground game and take a tad bit of heat off of Aaron Rodgers. Given Ogletree’s absence, Rodgers and company should have a big day—as they have so far, despite the handful of key players who are out with injuries.
Finally, it is imperative that the Packers jump on this team early and often in the first half. When the Packers can take an early commanding lead in the first half, teams have had a tendency to abandon their game plan against Green Bay. Arizona and Seattle have both learned that if you give the Rams an inch they will surely take a yard.
Like San Francisco, the Rams will not be an easy team to beat, but if the Packers can come through the Lambeau tunnel like a battering ram and meet or exceed the benchmarks outlined in this article they will win this game by 14 points. In other words, Green Bay will not only have to dig in their cleats, but they will also have to be willing to fasten their helmets on tight and butt heads with the Rams.
Go Pack Go to 5 and 0!