NFL Saturday Afternoon Football: Packers/Rams Preview

by Big Al Staff

The opening game of the divisional round of the NFL playoffs involves the top-rated scoring offense against the top-rated scoring defense.

The Los Angeles Rams lead the NFL by allowing only 18.6 points-per-game. They clinched a playoff spot in the final week of the regular season with an 18-7 win at home against Arizona. They followed that victory last week by avenging their 20-9 loss at Seattle in Week 16 by upsetting the Seahawks by a 30-20 score as a 3-point underdog on Saturday.

John Wolford started at quarterback but got knocked out of the game after completing three of his six passes for 29 yards. Jared Goff came on in relief with his injured hand to complete 9 of 19 passes for 155 yards with a touchdown pass to lead the Rams to the victory. Rookie running back Cam Akers ran the ball 28 times for 131 yards with a touchdown.

Wolford is out for this game with the neck injury he suffered last week. Goff has been named the starting quarterback for this game. Los Angeles linebacker Terrell Lewis is also out with an ankle injury. Wide receiver Cooper Kupp is questionable with a knee, and David Edwards is questionable with an ankle. The Rams have five players out the season or on Injured Reserve, including running back Darrell Henderson.

Green Bay comes off a bye week after defeating Chicago on the road last week by a 35-16 score as a 4.5-point favorite. That was the sixth straight victory for the Packers. Green Bay leads the NFL by averaging 31.8 points-per-game.

Aaron Rodgers completed 19 of 24 passes for 240 yards with four touchdowns in the victory against the Bears to clinch the top seed in the NFC playoffs. Rodgers is completing 70.7% of his passes this season for 4299 yards with 48 touchdown passes and only five interceptions. Wide receiver Davante Adams is having a career year with 115 receptions from his 149 targeted passes for 1374 yards with 18 touchdowns.

The Packers host this game at Lambeau Field, where they are 7-1 this season. They are scoring 31.6 points-per-game at home while averaging 406.8 yards-per-game. Green Bay allows 19.5 points-per-game along with 308.9 yards-per-game at home. Los Angeles has won five of their nine games on the road while scoring 26.2 points-per-game and averaging 409.0 yards-per-game. The Rams are allowing 23.1 points-per-game and 270.4 yards-per-game on the road.

Green Bay will be challenged by the Rams' ground game that averages 30.4 rushing attempts-per-game and 128 rushing yards-per-game. Those numbers rank sixth and ninth in the NFL. The Packers allowed opposing rushers to average 4.5 yards-per-carry along with 113 rushing yards-per-game.

The Packers’ defensive end Kingsley Keke is doubtful as he continues through the concussion protocol. Green Bay has nine players either out the season or on their Injured Reserve, with left tackle David Bakhtiari being the most notable loss.

BetAnySports lists Green Bay as a 6.5-point favorite, with the total set at 45.5.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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