The Green Bay Packers look to end their four-game losing streak when they host the Los Angeles Rams Sunday at Lambeau Field. The Packers enter the game with a 2-5 record while the Rams are 3-5. The Packers are coming off a frustrating 24-10 loss to the Vikings while the Rams were crushed by the Cowboys 43-20. Here are six key matchups that determine if the Packers will win Sunday’s game.
The Packers lead the all-time series between these two teams 67-66-2 in the regular season. These two clubs first met in 1937 when the Rams were based in Cleveland. The Packers won the last three meetings between these teams including a 24-12 win last season. The Packers have won two of the three playoff meetings with the last game coming after the 2020 season.
Here is a look at six key matchups that will determine who wins Sunday’s Packers game at Lambeau:
Packers Key Matchups: Number One, Contain Aaron Donald
The Rams defense is no longer an elite unit. They presently rank 17th in the NFL in yards allowed per game and 21st in points per game.
But Aaron Donald remains an elite defensive lineman who can be very disruptive to an opposing offense. The former Pitt star leads the Rams with 4.5 sacks and remains outstanding against the run.
The Packers offensive line has struggled to find consistency except for Zach Tom. Yosh Nijman may replace Rasheed Walker at left tackle. Jon Runyan and Josh Myers have struggled at run blocking and will have to work hard to contain Donald depending on where he lines up.
Donald is an elite player, and the Packers must either double team him or account for him on every play if the Packers hope to move the ball on the Rams defense.
Key Matchups: Number Two, Get Pressure on Brett Rypien
Rams starting quarterback Matthew Stafford hasn’t practiced on Wednesday or Thursday and is unlikely to play against the Packers. That means veteran backup Brett Rypien is likely to get the start.
He has three starts in four NFL seasons and has thrown four touchdowns and eight interceptions in 140 career attempts.
The Rams may be without starting right tackle Rob Havenstein and the Packers should try to take advantage of Joe Noteboom who is the team’s swing offensive lineman.
Key Matchups: Number Three, Run the Ball Effectively and Enough
The Packers often get away from the running game too soon. They also get very predictable with their play calling. It’s time to mix things up. Keep running the ball with Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon even if the running game doesn’t click early.
The Rams are allowing 115.1 yards per game which ranks them 20th in the NFL in run defense. They allow 4.1-yards per rush.
Jones and Dillon should be fed the ball enough to set up play action passes and to keep the Rams defense honest. The offensive line needs to block for the run better and the Pack needs to run away from Donald.
Packers Key Matchups: Number Four, Slow Down the Rams Receivers
The Rams have a pair of good receivers in Cooper Kupp and rookie Puka Nacua. Nacua already has 61 catches for 795 yards in eight games.
Kupp has missed the first four games of the season but remains a productive receiver who can keep the chains moving.
The Packers secondary has been thinned out by trades and injuries. Jaire Alexander has struggled with a bad back, Rasul Douglas was traded to Buffalo on Tuesday and Darnell Savage and Eric Stokes are now on the IR.
Rookie Carrington Valentine will likely replace Doulgas in the lineup with Corey Ballentine also seeing more playing time. Slot corner Keisean Nixon has struggled in coverage and needs to step up his game.
The Packers cannot allow Kupp and Nacua to have a field day regardless of who starts as the Rams quarterback.
Packers Key Matchups: Number Five, Get Off to a Fast Start
The Green Bay offense struggled mightily in the first half this season. In the last five games, the Packers have been outscored 73-9 in the first two quarters. This must change.
The Packers cannot expect to win after falling behind week after week and they haven’t bene able to do it. The trend has to end this Sunday at Lambeau Field.
Key Matchups: Number Six, Win the Turnover Battle
Both the Packers and Rams are minus-two in turnover differential. The Packers offense has struggled with penalties, mental errors, and poor executions. That has led to some turnovers.
The defense has played bend but don’t break most of the season and has held opponents to 22.3 points per game, but they aren’t creating enough turnovers.
If the Packers lose the turnover battle, they will likely lose the game. Getting Love and the struggling offense a short field would be a big help to this team and would change the dynamic of the game.
The Packers need to end the losing streak and start showing some progress. The Rams are vulnerable playing in the cold weather in Green Bay and possibly without Stafford.
If Stafford plays, the Rams will probably win, 24-17. However, if Stafford doesn’t play, look for the Pack to earn their first win since Week 3 if the Packers win enough key matchups.
Packers 17, Rams 14
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