In a highly anticipated matchup between the consensus #1 offense (GB) and #1 defense (LA), the Los Angeles Rams will travel to a (hopefully) chilly Lambeau Field to take on the top seed Green Bay Packers in the first divisional-round matchup of the weekend that features four games. Below are betting/odds for the matchup as well as my picks.
Spread: Packers Are Favored By -6.5 points
With John Wolford declared out, we know that it will be either Jared Goff or Blake Bortles under center piloting Ram’s offense this weekend. Only two years removed from their Super Bowl appearance, this Rams team is noticeably less explosive vertically and will be heavily reliant on Cam Ackers and the running game to mount a charge on Saturday. If the Rams want to turn this into a run and grind kind of game I don’t think that they will be as successful as they would like to.
The Rams do a fantastic job of selling the play-action. Even the receivers when moving downfield during the initial part of the play fake blocking before turning on the boosters to get into their routes. This means you can expect them to play a disciplined game on Saturday. It will be up to the Packers players to force turnovers and really force their hand since the Rams offense will not hand them anything on a plate.
An example of a flaw that the Packers can utilize- the Rams offensive line can be susceptible to overload pressures. Depending on who is playing quarterback and who is calling the protection that could be one thing to keep an eye on. The chess match between a player like Z Smith who can move around and has the freedom to make on the Fly adjustments against a team that is going to be very dependent on the head coach to be making coverage and play calls for them. Both Goff and Bortles have years of NFL experience under their belts so I am not expecting them to be caught by surprise too often, but similarly to how Ram’s defense rotates coverages on the snap, the Packers can wreak similar havoc.
As far as the marquee matchup between the LA defense and Packer’s offense, this really will swing on Aaron Donald’s effectiveness given the injury he’s dealing with and how much of a game wrecker he can be, even when feeling less than 100 percent.
With reports that Donald will be playing Saturday, I like the Rams to cover 6.5 but like the Packers outright.
Over/Under Total Points: 45.5
As I have no faith in the Rams offense here, this is where the heavyweight bout of Ram’s defense vs. Packers offense comes to the ring. Jalen Ramsey’s intelligence and ability to read afro is unparalleled. Yet similarly to the Packers defense, this Rams unit does not seem to go above and beyond to turn to force turnovers. Outside of Aaron Donald, there doesn’t seem to be a single player who you look at and feel like you cannot at least take advantage of some part of their game. Leonard Floyd playing at the other end opposite of Donald is an effective player yet you do not game plan around him. This Rams defense will take advantage of any mistakes, so it’s a good thing for the Packers they tend not to make them.
Assuming this trend continues, I think the Packers will be able to break 24 points thus hitting the over.
Last Week 8-4 | Season Total- 26-18 (61%)
——————Joe Kelley is a lifelong Packer fan born in Wisconsin and currently living surrounded by Patriots fans in New England- please send messages of support to @Jkelleylol on Twitter or @j.k.lolz on Instagram.