The Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs gets started on Saturday afternoon at 4:35 PM EST when the Green Bay Packers host the Los Angeles Rams. The Packers are currently 6.5-point home favorites with the over/under at 45.5 points.
The Rams have already scored a road win in the postseason, beating the Seahawks last week. The game didn’t exactly unfold how Sean McVay drew it up with John Wolford getting hurt early and the injured Jared Goff being pressed into action. Nevertheless, the Rams are one win away from their second NFC Championship Game in three years.
Meanwhile, this will be Green Bay’s first playoff game since losing last year’s NFC Championship Game. The Packers earned home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and a Wild Card bye after going 13-3 during the regular season. They now begin their Super Bowl push on the heels of a six-game winning streak.
You’ll Never Walk Alone
Aaron Rodgers, the likely MVP winner, is the unquestioned leader of the Green Bay offense. However, the Packers are far from a one-man show. Davante Adams has been one of the best wide receivers in football this season, racking up over 1,300 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns in just 14 games. The Packers also boast a productive rushing attack behind Aaron Jones, who rushed for over 1,100 yards and averaged 5.5 yards per carry. With such a balanced attack, the Packers led the NFL in points this season, scoring at least 30 points in 12 of their 16 games.
Of course, the Packers will be going up against the best defense in the NFL. The Rams allowed just 18.5 points per game during the regular season and have scored a defensive touchdown in back-to-back games. Despite suffering a rib injury last week, Aaron Donald will do his best to apply some pressure on Rodgers and throw the presumptive MVP off his rhythm. Meanwhile, the most crucial matchup of the game could be LA cornerback Jalen Ramsey facing Adams. It’s a matchup Ramsey will have to win for the Rams to keep the Packers under wraps.
Good to Goff
With Wolford ruled out, the Rams don’t have much of a choice to go with Jared Goff at quarterback. Goff is a few short weeks removed from thumb surgery and looked like it last week, completing just nine of his 19 passes against Seattle. The silver lining for the Rams is that Cam Akers answered the call, rushing for 131 yards on 28 carries. Despite a formidable group of receivers at Goff’s disposal, the Rams will likely lean on Akers as much as possible against Green Bay.
The Packers didn’t get much credit for their defensive prowess during the regular season, although they came on strong late in the year. Four of Green Bay’s last five opponents scored 16 points or less. The Packers can be particularly dangerous when they play with a lead, as it allows the tandem of Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith to get after the quarterback.
With a great defense, the Rams have a chance in this game, especially if they can establish the running game early. But keeping Rodgers quiet for four quarters isn’t easy. The Packers will eventually score, and when they do, Goff and company may not have an answer. Bet on the Packers to win and cover against the Rams.
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