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Packers Periscope: Week 8 vs. Los Angeles Rams

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Packers Periscope: Week 8 vs. Los Angeles Rams

The Green Bay Packers come out of their bye week and hit the road to visit the Los Angeles Rams, who are the lone undefeated team in the NFL at 7-0.  Here's a look at this series - past, present and future.

The Past

The last time the Packers faced the Los Angeles version of the Rams was in 1994.  The following season, the Rams moved to St. Louis.

The all-time series is knotted up at 46-46-2 with the Packers winning the last five meetings dating back to 2007.

The most recent meeting was in 2015 when the roles of these teams were the reverse of this week.  The Rams came into Green Bay in October to take on an undefeated Packers team.  An up-and-coming Rams team fell short after turning the ball over several times.

To find another game of note between these two teams, we have to go back to an awful playoff game following the 2001 season when the Packers were run out of St. Louis after six Brett Favre interceptions.  

The first meeting took place in 1937 with frequent match ups until the mid-1990's. 

The 1966 champion Packers beat the Rams that regular season.  The following year, the Rams won the regular season game but the Packers won the playoff match up en route to Super Bowl II.

This is a tough match up for the Packers and not many are giving them a chance.  But for those who value history or are looking for any type of additional hope: the Packers have never lost to the Rams when Aaron Rodgers starts.  They're 4-0.

The Present

With two weeks since the last bit of Packers football, this match up has been analyzed and talked about ad nauseam on any NFL show you can name.  

The Packers are big underdogs, 9.5 point underdogs to be specific.  It's the largest point spread against Green Bay in all of Aaron Rodgers' time as starting quarterback.

On paper, this is a lopsided affair that has the makings of a long day for the Packers if the Rams look like the team they've been to this point.

LA has one of the league's top offenses and defenses, which is virtually unheard of in today's game.  It allows them to play complete games and they've done just that so far.

The Packers seem to have everyone healthy and set to return from injury.  Receivers Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison should be back to boost the passing game.  Cornerback Jaire Alexander should return and try to help the Packers defense keep up with the speedy Rams offense.

The Rams have three key players on the early injury report: receiver Cooper Kupp and defensive linemen Michael Brockers and Ndamukong Suh have not practiced this week as of Thursday.  Kupp is described as doubtful by Rams head coach Sean McVay but has an outside chance to go.

We all remember Suh from his days in Detroit but it's defensive lineman Aaron Donald the Packers will have to deal with up front.  The All-Pro has been wreaking havoc in offensive backfields since ending his holdout and returning to the team.

The Packers have had two weeks to prepare for this big road game.  Mike McCarthy has historically fared well coming off of the bye week, but 2015 reminds us that anything can happen.  An undefeated Packers team went into Denver and got rocked by the eventual Super Bowl champion Broncos.

If Kupp is out, the Packers defense has one less problem to worry about.  But Rams running back Todd Gurley along with receivers Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks are a handful enough.  A big concern would be how well the Packers safeties will fare against an offense that likes to stretch the field.  Kentrell Brice has been anything but consistent and has been slow to react to a well-placed deep ball.  

Gurley will get his carries and find yards but we'll get to see just how good the Packers defensive front is with Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark manning up front.  

Offensively, can the Packers find more balance?  Head coach Mike McCarthy admitted that he'd like to run the ball more but we've heard Mike state the obvious before.  Will anything actually change?  Will Aaron Jones at least touch the ball 10 times or more?

Aaron Rodgers didn't practice on Tuesday but was back later in the week.  He's still wearing the knee brace that many of us had hoped he would have ditched by now.  His mobility would be impacted if he keeps wearing it in this match up.  

The Future

The predictions for this game have been all over the place.  It's easy to take the upset with such a large point spread and with Rodgers quarterbacking the team expected to lose.  Others feel the Rams have to eventually let one slip and this could be that one.

Regardless of the outcome, getting blown out coming off of the bye week is about the worst thing that can happen to the Packers.  Next week, they face the New England Patriots in New England so life doesn't get any easier.  Some positive momentum heading into that game would be helpful.

The only win is a win.  A good showing and a loss might give some hope that the Packers could win another meeting if they had to, but do you believe in moral victories?

The Rams are at home and are just too hot right now.  They may be down a few key guys but I still see them clamping down and taking care of business at home.  As much fun as it is to imagine a big upset, the Packers likely become LA's next victim and ensure that they'll have to go on the road to face the Rams should the two teams meet in the playoffs.

Here's hoping it's not an ugly afternoon.

-------------------

Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Pulse of the Pack podcast.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (7) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Jordan's picture

The Rams are good but I don't think they're that much better than the Vikings. Without Kupp, the Packers should win.

Samson's picture

Hate to say it, but, the only way GB pulls out a "V" in this one is if the Rams take the Pack too lightly & the Rams turnover the ball multiple times. --- The talent gap is just too much for the Pack to overcome on the road.

PAPackerbacker's picture

The Packers need to force a few turnovers then score on each one of them to have a good chance of winning. A punt or kick off return for a touchdown is not out of the realm of possibility, if no penalty is made during the return. It's going to take an error free, concentrated effort of 60 minutes of football from the offense, defense, special teams, and coaching staff to win this one. Plus a few turnovers. It can be done. It will require a total team effort for sure.

Kb999's picture

The D has to get 3 and outs. They have been on the field too long.

ricky's picture

The debacle in Denver was mentioned, but not the lopsided victory in Houston when they were riding high while the Packers were struggling. Then Rodgers came into their house and threw six TD's. Could it happen again? Its why they play the games. But it wouldn't surprise me a bit for the Packers to throw a monkey wrench into the Rams hopes for a perfect season.

flackcatcher's picture

Like every team, the Rams are thin in spots, in this case the defensive back field. Their defense is good, but not that good. They can be scored on. The real question is will Aaron Rodgers execute the game plan, or at some point free lance, and start slinging the ball around like the second coming of Brett Farve. On Sunday we'll see.

jww061356's picture

I keep thinking of the end of "Remember the Titans," when they are playing in the state championship and the assistant coach says " he's a mile ahead of you, coach. You gotta show him something he hasn't seen" Commit a little to Aaron Jones, move Tramon Williams to safety next to HHCD, move Matthews inside next to Martinez, and have a few packages for MVS, and run him deep a few times and scare the hell out of em' a little. Shields is the only one that can probably run with MVS(4.37) and he's probably too big for Shields to cover if the throw is on the money. Whatta ya think? Show em something(s) they haven't seen!

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