After three consecutive road victories, the undefeated Los Angeles Rams return home to face another sturdy test in the form of the Green Bay Packers. Oddsmakers have the Rams by a comfortable 9.5, but this could be another dogfight — we’ve all seen Packers QB Aaron Rodgers pull some rabbits out of hats. The Rams will need to bring their A game to keep their season-long, seven-game win streak alive.
Here are five Rams who should have a major impact on Sunday’s game.
RB Todd Gurley
Green Bay comes in ranked just 22nd against the run, surrendering 116.5 yards per game. The Rams are ranked first in rushing offense, so it stands to reason that we’ll see a heavy dose of #30 on Sunday. Look for for McVay to practice a little bit of ball control to limit Aaron Rodgers’ possessions. We know he’ll find the end zone, but he could be in for another Denver-like performance against a leaky Green Bay front.
OLB Trevon Young
Matt Longacre’s season-long vanishing act is getting tiresome. While Young saw just 9 snaps last week, he was able to come down with an early INT that helped the Rams gain some momentum against San Francisco. Will he see more time this week? I don’t know that he projects as a game-changing EDGE, but it was nice to see him get into the mix given the incumbent’s lack of production.
DL Aaron Donald
Donald’s performance last week was simply breathtaking, as he single-handedly destroyed the hopes and dreams of Niners Nation, earning NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors. I can’t wait to see what he’ll do for an encore. Green Bay ranks 22nd in adjusted sack rate, giving up a sack (or intentional grounding) on 7.8% of passing plays, so Donald will have his opportunities. With Littleton and Ebukam chipping in sacks last week, could we finally be seeing the pass rush gel? (And yeah, I’m in the sacks > pressures camp, card-carrying member since 1978)
ILB Mark Barron
Since his return from injury, Mark Barron’s play has been, to be kind, inconsistent. When he’s right, he’s our most experienced and most talented linebacker, but really hasn’t showed it yet in 2018. Let’s hope he can get back to form this week. Green Bay will surely run some dink and dunk and target TE Jimmy Graham to neutralize the Rams’ interior pressure, so Barron and Cory Littleton’s coverage over the middle will be critical. No one fears the GB rushing attack, but if this chess match shifts in that direction, Barron will need to shake off the rust and play better against the run than he has thus far.
WR Brandin Cooks
The Packers have actually been fairly stout against the pass, ranking 5th overall, with solid play from CB Kevin King, CB Tramon Williams and S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Where are they vulnerable? If San Francisco WR Marquise Goodwin’s 4/126/2 TD day against this secondary is any indication, it’s the deep ball. Cooks is a threat to take it to the house on any given play, and I expect the Rams to exploit some of the same seams San Francisco did. If Goff’s deep ball is on the money, Cooks could be in line for a monster day at the Coliseum. How does 7/155/2 TDs and 8-0 sound?