After a much-needed bye for the number one seed Green Bay Packers, it’s time to continue the march to a Super Bowl. The battle is set. Next Saturday at what looks to be a frigid Lambeau Field, the Los Angeles Rams will roll into town. Last week the Rams went into Seattle and upset the Seahawks 30-20. A game that left them wounded, they now will try and do the same against a rested Packers. Without further delay, here is Know the Foe: Los Angeles Rams.
Offense with Options
Quarterback John Wolford started the last two games but went out early against the Seahawks. Wolford had to be taken to the hospital and Jared Goff was called upon. Golf is also not 100% with a broken thumb on his throwing hand. Head Coach Sean McVay hasn’t ruled Wolford out or stated his plan for this week.
Despite the quarterback situation, the Rams do bring a nice set of offensive weapons. The wide receiver group may not feature an elite weapon, but it’s strong overall with the duo of Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. Woods is one of the better route runners over his NFL career and is always around 1,000 yards receiving. This season was no different with 90 grabs for 936 yards and six scores. He also caught a key touchdown against Seattle. Kupp on the other side is just a darn good football player. He isn’t the best athlete or physically imposing, but the man just makes plays. Kupp plays with heart and determination and can hurt you on game day. However, Kupp is playing through a bum knee. His availability is uncertain.
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The third option is the long speedster, Josh Reynolds. The 25-year-old has over 600 yards on the year. If the wide receivers aren’t enough, the Rams also get the tight ends involved. Both Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett are plus athletes that combined are over 900 yards and six touchdowns on the year. Seattle did do a good job to hold them and check last week.
The offensive line led by solid tackles in 39-year-old Andrew Whitworth on the left and Rob Havenstein on the right side. Because of those two, the Rams were been able to lean on young rookie running back Cam Akers in the Wild Card round. Against the Seahawks defense, Akers hit pay dirt and went for 131 yards on the ground. He also caught two balls for 45 yards. The Packers will need to slow him down early and forced the quarterbacks to have to make plays.
The first name that comes to mind with the Rams is the most feared defensive player in the league. In the history of the NFL, not many interior defensive linemen have created as much havoc as the monster that is Aaron Donald. Over his seven-year career, Donald has destroyed offensive plans. Between the sacks and run stops, Donald gets doubled and even triple-teamed at times. Unfortunately for the Rams, Donald went out of the game last week and has fractured ribs. Donald has never missed a game and McVay thinks Donald can go but he will be nowhere near 100%. Still, if he plays, he will be a major problem.
Next to Donald is a defensive line that is deep and disruptive. Inside is a rotation of veteran Michael Brockers and Sebastian Joseph-Day. Both these men control the line of scrimmage and keep the linebackers clean. Joseph-Day has been strong against the run, while Brockers added 5 sacks on the season.
On the edge features former Bear Leonard Floyd. Floyd is enjoying his best NFL season with 10.5 sacks. More important he showed up on the big stage with two sacks in the playoffs. He is quick and fluid off the edge. With his quick-twitch talent, look for the Rams to move him around to create pressure.
Morgan Fox is a true hand on the ground defensive end. Fox has 6 sacks on the year but also made noise last week with a sack, two tackles for a loss, and was constantly in the backfield. Add to that a stand-up rusher Samson Ebukam who had three sacks in the month of December. This Rams front gets pressure and can take over games.
This top-notch pass defense wouldn’t be complete without an elite secondary. All-Pro no-fear Jalen Ramsey will try to slow down Davante Adams….a tall task. Ramsay had no problem with DK Metcalf last week so he is riding high and up for a challenge. There is no denying he can shut off his side of the field.
With an alpha like Ramsey, Troy Hill is going to get tested and he’s held his own. On the season, Hill has been targeted 91 times with 61 receptions allowed and three interceptions. His size at 5’11” and 183 lb. might be a problem for him against certain Packers. Both Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling possess a height advantage over Hill. Rookie Jordan Fuller and the underrated John Johnson will float to Hills’ side. Johnson has taken a jump in 2020 and is a top free safety. The window will be tight for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers against this secondary.
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