Packers-Rams: The Final Tipping Point for the Season?

The Packers are going to need some help to qualify for the postseason. They got some last week with losses by both the Seahawks and the Giants. They’re hoping for some more tonight with the same Seahawks facing off against the 49ers. But none of that matters unless the Packers win out with their four remaining games. Packers-Rams on Monday night gives Green Bay the chance to build some momentum at home against a banged up team.

Their Week 14 bye finally gave the reeling Packers a chance to regroup before the last quarter of the season. And the chance to let Aaron Rodgers thumb (and ribs) heal can hopefully get him close to his MVP form from the past two seasons. But the bye has not been as helpful to Green Bay as one might think. Last season’s victory over the Bears was the Packers first win out of the bye week in the last five seasons.

But these Rams are not the same Rams we’ve grown accustomed to under Sean McVay. Baker Mayfield of all people slowed the Rams free-fall a week ago, leading them to an improbable comeback against the Raiders two days after being claimed on waivers. This stopped a six game losing streak for the Rams. He will get his first start for LA on Monday. But he will still be without their top two weapons, with Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson both on Injured Reserve.

For the Packers, they should be gaining reinforcements at the wide receiver position, with Romeo Doubs likley to return after missing the last four games. This will allow the Packers to have both of their dynamic rookies playing significant snaps together for the first time basically since Week 1.

The offense hasn’t been the problem of late, however. Since Rashan Gary’s injury in Week 9, the Packers defense has been one of the worst in the league. Their matchup this against the Rams offense is the stoppable force versus the moveable object. The Rams are PFF’s 29th ranked pass blocking unit, but Joe Barry and the Packers have struggled to find a way to get consistent pressure without Gary. They’ve also allowed opponents to convert over 54% of third downs in the last month, 31st in the NFL.

The Rams might be the cure to what ails this Packers defense, but the biggest question will be – will it make any difference? After this week, the Packers go on the road to Miami then welcome the Vikings to Lambeau. Hopefully the Packers can use this game to spring-board them towards a late season push. But by this point in the year, Green Bay hasn’t shown the consistency needed to put together such a run. But crazier things have happened in the NFL, and if there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that we’ll all still be tuning in to find out.

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Jared is a rogue Packers fan from a Steelers family and an overall football junkie, including playing 4 years at Ithaca College. You can follow him on twitter at @JPrugar.

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