Five things to watch in Packers vs Rams: Will OBJ make his mark?

Can Green Bay’s offensive line hold up?

The Packers’ O-line was dealt a huge injury blow last week as Elgton Jenkins became the latest player to have their season ended prematurely by an ACL injury.

Adam Stenavich has done a tremendous job of getting his patchwork group to produce every week, but the offensive line has not performed at the level it did last year, and its fair to question whether Jenkins’ injury will be too much to overcome.

There is hope the Packers will get some help up front if David Bakhtiari and Josh Myers are able to return for the stretch run, but against a formidable Rams defensive line this week, Green Bay will be relying on Yosh Nijman to step up.

Nijman has been up to the task when called upon so far this season, but he and his fellow linemen will have their work cut out for them on Sunday against the likes of Aaron Donald, Von Miller and Leonard Floyd.

Will OBJ make his mark?

Green Bay came very close to adding Odell Beckham Jr. to their squad after he was ‘freed’ by the Browns, making it that much more frustrating when he instead opted to sign for one of the Packers’ main rivals in the NFC.

Everyone had their fun as he and Matthew Stafford struggled to get on the same page in their first game together, but coming off a bye week with plenty of practice time under his belt in LA, Beckham may prove to be more of a threat this time out.

Despite a stop-start few years which have as been frustrating to observe as they must have been for OBJ to endure, he is still an extremely talented player, and potentially adds another weapon to a receiving corps already boasting the league’s leading receiver in Cooper Kupp.

For the Packers’ beat up cornerback group which will be without Kevin King on Sunday, this week’s game will serve as a tough test.

The questionables

The Packers’ injury report has been growing lengthier by the week, as the team literally limps towards their bye week. However, they may get some help this week in the shape of some key names returning to the lineup.

Aaron Jones, Rashan Gary and Allen Lazard will all be listed as ‘questionable’ to play on Sunday, with the trio trending in the right direction to have a shot at contributing in some form.

The return of Jones and Gary in particular would be hugely welcome, as both players are capable of changing the game from their respective positions.

AJ Dillon has made the most of his increased role this season, but Jones is the type of player opposing defenses have to account for on every single play as a dual threat on the ground and through the air.

Green Bay’s pass rush department is currently operating with a bare bones crew and took yet another hit after Jonathan Garvin was placed on the COVID-19 list. Having Gary return and take his place opposite Preston Smith would give a massive boost to the Packers’ chances of applying pressure on Stafford.

Can Green Bay’s defence force a turnover?

As much as Packers fans are loathe to admit it, Kirk Cousins is having a good season for the Vikings. However, he put the ball up for grabs at least five times in the narrow loss the Minnesota, with Green Bay’s defense failing to take advantage and hold onto the ball.

Matthew Stafford is a more explosive quarterback who presents more of a threat to chuck the ball deep, but he also has a propensity to put the ball in harm’s way.

If the Rams’ QB gives the Packers a chance to grab an extra possession on Sunday, they cannot afford to pass up the opportunity to punish those mistakes.

Matt LaFleur’s play-calling

There have been too many stretches within games this year where the Packers offense has banged its head against the wall, struggling to get into any kind of rhythm

Whether that is the result of uninspiring play-calling by Matt LaFleur, or Aaron Rodgers changing too many plays at the line is impossible to say, but something has not been quite right for the Packers on offense for much of the year.

They did however appear to click into gear against Minnesota, scoring touchdowns on four straight drives to finish the game, save for a Jordan Love kneel down at the end of the first half, putting up 30 points for the first time since week three.

With a compromised offensive line and facing a fearsome defense, it will be imperative for Matt LaFleur to put his players in a position to succeed on offense this week.


Mark Oldacres is a sports writer from Birmingham, England and a Green Bay Packers fan. You can follow him on twitter at @Marko7LW

4 points

Comments (11)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
splitpea1's picture

November 27, 2021 at 03:53 pm

Of the new Rams additions, I'm more worried about Von Miller. And Donald wasn't himself in last season's playoff game. Our patchwork OL is going to need one of their best efforts if we want to win.

Better get used to life without King--again; hip and knee "issues" don't sound like they'll be fast-healing.

One of the reasons our offense hasn't been "quite right" is the lack of receiving from our tight ends. We need to start finding/calling plays to get these guys open.

Speaking of putting players in a chance to succeed....Barry can't be overly passive.

Watch out for special teams trickery from the Rams, since our unit always seems to be a ripe candidate for the plucking. Hekker tried a pass last time, but SF was alert and it backfired.

3 points
mbpacker's picture

November 27, 2021 at 04:37 pm

I've grown tired of hearing that King has played good football when heathy. That is the problem he is always hurt and unavailable. I've stood by him in the past, but I hope they move on from him after this year.

6 points
Crankbait's picture

November 27, 2021 at 07:21 pm

Sure he's a nice kid but he sucks.

0 points
HawkPacker's picture

November 28, 2021 at 08:29 am

You know when he is healthy he is not too bad. The good thing for the packers regarding the future with or without King, they know what they have. Is it possible to sign him to a contract where he is only to get paid based on the number of games he suits up for? Not sure if that would work but at least something to think about. I do like our other corners but you can never have to many decent/good corners!

2 points
Crankbait's picture

November 27, 2021 at 09:21 pm

One constant in the NFL… The tight end is always open.

-1 points
ricky's picture

November 27, 2021 at 05:10 pm

Rodgers loves the big chunk plays. Rodgers loves to throw the ball to Adams. Other teams have known this for years, but Rodgers (IMO) continues to hold onto the ball, patting it with his left hand, while he ignores receivers who are open for smaller gains, and looks for that big chunk. That, and throwing it on first down, which effectively means Rodgers will be passing unless the team either gets a first down, or, more often, runs out of downs and punts.

5 points
barutanseijin's picture

November 27, 2021 at 07:30 pm

The Rams looked bad in SF. Stafford threw 2 INTs, but made worse throws that could have been picked off. He was so off they could only manage a garbage time field goal. Aaron Donald was often in the Niner's backfield, but then, the ball was often somewhere else by the time he got there. OBJ looked like the same has been he was in Cleveland.

The Niners ran off tackle and up the middle effectively and they had a drive where they completed a few slants in the middle of the field.

6 points
ImaPayne's picture

November 27, 2021 at 08:33 pm

Ya they gave OBJ Stokes number and he is supposed to find him. line up and make his best moves. This will continue until Stokes shows he can play the position and make some plays. Until then he is the patsy and if King if out he for sure is the patsy.

-8 points
ImaPayne's picture

November 28, 2021 at 08:52 am

Hey folls it is what it is. I read the reports from training camp too and Adams day in day out ate his breakfast. that's why he didnt start, because they knew he wasnt getting it. Speed yes, mental ability to cover no.
This is game 11 and he hasnt improved one iota. Another defensive busts I'm afraid.

-4 points
dobber's picture

November 28, 2021 at 09:59 am

The Daily Norseman called, they miss your insightful posts.

1 points
dobber's picture

November 28, 2021 at 10:02 am

For the Rams, Robert Woods > OBJ...

1 points