The Los Angeles Rams are hopeful that Jared Goff can be the one that leads the franchise to an upset victory over the Green Bay Packers on Saturday. With quarterback John Wolford declared out for the game, Goff was confirmed as the starter heading into the matchup. The Rams are just a victory away from the conference title game and two wins away from a Super Bowl appearance. For Goff, it is a chance to assert himself as the future of the franchise and bring his team one step closer to a chance at a title. Today we take a look at what the Rams need to do against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers if they hope to keep the season alive.
The Rams paid a hefty price to select Jared Goff with the first overall selection of the 2016 NFL Draft. In return, Goff has started 69 games with a 42-27 record, with three playoff victories. However, Goff’s play has been sporadically bad over the past two seasons. Los Angeles started John Wolford against Seattle to open the playoffs. Wolford essentially clinched the sixth seed with a week 17 victory over Arizona but was injured early against the Seahawks. In came Goff, fresh off surgery on his right thumb just days prior. The former first-overall pick avoided mistakes and hit on a few throws to lead the Rams to the upset victory.
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Goff is the starter this weekend as the Rams take on the Packers. He is the starter by default due to Wolford being ruled inactive. The pressure now sits squarely on Goff’s shoulders to perform against Green Bay. The key is to avoid costly mistakes, such as turnovers and sacks when in a scoring position. Los Angeles should focus on establishing the ground game against a suspect Packers defense. If that can happen, it should take some of the pressure off Goff and give him added time in the passing game with play action. No one is asking for Goff to play better than Aaron Rodgers, nor is it expected. However, he will need to show that he can be a steady hand and lead his team to a victory.
A popular theme leading into the matchup between the Rams and Packers is the connection of the head coaches, Sean McVay and Matt LaFleur. The pair coached together in Washington, serving under then-offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan. However, this game will be decided by the defense. Will this familiarity help the Los Angeles defense put the clamps on Aaron Rodgers and the explosive Green Bay offense? Los Angeles will need defensive coordinator, Brandon Staley, to continue his impressive run. His defense has a six-game streak of allowing less than 300 yards of total offense. In each of those games, the defense has allowed less than 200 yards passing, while keeping opposing ground games to under 100 yards in four of the six.
Thinking Football provided a great breakdown of how the Rams defense suffocated Seattle.
Green Bay’s offense begins and ends with Aaron Rodgers. While Rodgers is a lock for Canton upon his retirement, the talented quarterback has struggled in recent years with pressure. Green Bay is without left tackle, David Bakhtiari, due to a knee injury. Bakhtiari is an All-Pro caliber tackle and his absence should allow the Rams to get pressure with just four rushers, as opposed to consistently blitzing. Los Angeles showed their ability to generate pressure with Aaron Donald when the All-Pro lineman went out early against the Seahawks. Linebacker Leonard Floyd collected two sacks last week and 10.5 during the regular season. If the front-four can generate pressure, the secondary will be well protected, while giving Staley the option of adding rushers when needed.
Hello, Old Friend
For the first time all season, the Green Bay Packers are allowing fans into Lambeau Field. There should be near 8,000 fans in attendance on Saturday. Home field advantage is predicated on the home crowd creating an unwelcoming atmosphere. The Rams did not face that in their visit to Seattle last week and it showed. Offensive and defensive signals were shared with relative ease due to the lack of crowd noise. These changes are the difference between converting on a third-down or punting after a sack. Los Angeles will need to adjust to the sudden change.
|Division||Sat||January 16, 2021||preview||Los Angeles Rams||0|
|Division||Sun||January 12, 2020||boxscore||W||Seattle Seahawks||28||23||22||344||235||109||23||375||265||110|
|ConfChamp||Sun||January 19, 2020||boxscore||L||@||San Francisco 49ers||20||37||21||358||296||62||3||19||354||69||285|
|WildCard||Sun||January 8, 2017||boxscore||W||New York Giants||38||13||23||406||331||75||15||365||295||70||2|
|Division||Sun||January 15, 2017||boxscore||W||@||Dallas Cowboys||34||31||27||413||326||87||1||25||429||291||138||1|
|ConfChamp||Sun||January 22, 2017||boxscore||L||@||Atlanta Falcons||21||44||24||367||268||99||2||30||493||392||101|
|WildCard||Sun||January 10, 2016||boxscore||W||@||Washington Redskins||35||18||24||346||205||141||1||20||354||270||84||1|
|Division||Sat||January 16, 2016||boxscore||L||OT||@||Arizona Cardinals||20||26||18||386||251||135||1||20||368||328||40||2|
|Division||Sun||January 11, 2015||boxscore||W||Dallas Cowboys||26||21||23||416||297||119||1||21||315||170||145||1|
|ConfChamp||Sun||January 18, 2015||boxscore||L||OT||@||Seattle Seahawks||22||28||19||306||171||135||2||20||397||203||194||5|
|WildCard||Sun||January 5, 2014||boxscore||L||San Francisco 49ers||20||23||18||281||157||124||22||381||214||167||1|
|WildCard||Sat||January 5, 2013||boxscore||W||Minnesota Vikings||24||10||20||326||250||76||17||324||157||167||3|
|Division||Sat||January 12, 2013||boxscore||L||@||San Francisco 49ers||31||45||20||352||248||104||2||29||579||256||323||1|
|Division||Sun||January 15, 2012||boxscore||L||New York Giants||20||37||25||388||241||147||4||19||420||325||95||1|
|WildCard||Sun||January 9, 2011||boxscore||W||@||Philadelphia Eagles||21||16||20||309||171||138||2||18||352||271||81||1|
|Division||Sat||January 15, 2011||boxscore||W||@||Atlanta Falcons||48||21||28||442||346||96||1||15||194||149||45||4|
|ConfChamp||Sun||January 23, 2011||boxscore||W||@||Chicago Bears||21||14||23||356||236||120||2||17||301||218||83||3|
|SuperBowl||Sun||February 6, 2011||boxscore||W||N||Pittsburgh Steelers||31||25||15||338||288||50||19||387||261||126||3|
|WildCard||Sun||January 10, 2010||boxscore||L||OT||@||Arizona Cardinals||45||51||32||493||404||89||3||30||531||375||156||1|
Green Bay’s record in home playoff games is 4-2 since the arrival of Aaron Rodgers. However, the two losses came in the 2010 and 2011 playoffs. Los Angeles must avoid the early salvo of emotion that the Packers will surely be playing with due to the fans. The relatively low number of fans helps to lessen the power of the home field advantage but the Rams need to get off on the right foot and start strong. A few defensive stops early will go a long way in frustrating Rodgers and the Green Bay offense. Establishing the ground game will put pressure on Green Bay’s defense and test their will. The Packers have wounds from last year’s playoff defeat against the 49ers. If the Rams can replicate that gameplan and punch Green Bay in the mouth, Jared Goff and his teammates will be one step closer to the Super Bowl.
A Puncher’s Chance
Los Angeles has the talent to go into Lambeau Field and beat the Packers. Offensively, the ground game will be key. If the Rams can get another solid performance from Cam Akers and the ground game, it will grind the Green Bay defense into the ground and keep Rodgers off the field. Defensively, Jalen Ramsey and the secondary need to step up once again. Davante Adams is a bigger threat than what the Rams faced last week. If the defense can come close to replicating what happened in Seattle, the Rams will be sitting pretty.
Prediction: Rams continue their defensive dominance and manhandle Green Bay’s offense. Goff does enough and the Rams win, 27-23.
– Ryan Adverderada is the Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage Cardinals and covers the San Francisco 49ers for Full Press Coverage. Like and follow on Follow @ryanadverderada