The Divisional Round kicks off in the NFC at Lambeau Field as the Packers welcome Sean McVay and his Rams with a place in the NFC Championship Game on the line.
The travelling Rams won their rubber match with the Seattle Seahawks in their Wildcard meeting last week with another strong defensive performance, keeping Russell Wilson to under 175 passing yards, only 11 pass completions and whilst he threw two TD’s he also threw a pick six, making it back to back games this Rams defense has taken an INT to the house, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg or cherry on top of the cake for this Rams defense which is arguably the NFL’s best. No defense allowed less points per game or less yards per game than the Rams this season and they boast a unit that’s just as hard to run the ball on as they are to pass on, but that will be tested by Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers wo led the league in points per game scored, top five in yards per game, and Aaron Rodgers led all QB’s in TD passes thrown with 48, so this really will be a best v best matchup. I think there are a couple of interesting matchups on this side of the ball, let’s start with the obvious, and that’s Davante Adams vs Jalen Ramsey, arguably the best WR in football could be shadowed by arguably the best CB in football which is a matchup that has NFL fans salivating, Adams led the NFL in receiving TD’s with 18 and also in receiving yards per game (98.1) whilst Jalen Ramsey only allowed 309 receiving yards in coverage which led the NFL and only allowed a 50% pass completion when targeted which is tied for second in the league, but more interestingly for me is the matchup between whoever the Packers line up at Left Tackle to replace the injured David Bakhtiari and LA Rams EDGE rusher, Leonard Floyd. Floyd has had 13.5 Sacks this season including 2 against Seattle last week and with Aaron Donals demanding double and sometimes even treble teams inside I expect to see Floyd lined up over Billy Turner (who I expect will play LT) for the majority of the game and with the help being used inside on Donald I expect to see Turner v Floyd one on one often, the winner of that battle could be vitally important to their team’s chances of winning this game.
The Rams offense vs the Packers defense is definitely the less interesting matchup in this game, instead of two units at the top of their game it’s instead a middle of the pack Rams offense against a middle of the pack Packers defense. Jared Goff will start for the Rams after John Wolford couldn’t recover from the neck injury he picked up against the Seahawks in time, and although Goff is QB1 for for the Rams the question over just how healthy he is with the thumb injury which kept him from starting against the Seahawks last week, and even when he came in to replace the injured Wolford he only completed 9 of 19 attempted passes for 155 yards as the Rams offense ran through rookie runner Cam Akers as he carried the ball 28 times for over 130 yards and a TD.
One of the most important factors in this game could be the weather, there’s a possibility of snow and temperatures expected to be below 35 degrees Fahrenheit which is just over 1 degree Celsius, and whilst Aaron Rodgers is more than used to this weather, Jared Goff is not, he’s only played in two career games with temperature 35 and under and in those games he has a QBR of 34.5, including a 180 yard, zero TD, 4 INT game against the Packers divisional rival Bears. I think the Rams defense can live with this explosive Packers offense but I’m not sure how many points they’re going to be able to put on the board especially if Cooper Kupp is unavailable or limited as expected. I’m taking the Packers to win this game, they’re rested after not playing last week whilst the Rams are more beat up and in the Frozen Tundra give me Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams to get the job done and move on to the NFC Championship Game.
For my best bet we’re looking at Cam Akers and with his U/O Rushing Attempts set at 16.5 we like him to go over that number, with Jared Goff’s thumb being held together with pins and in what’ll be close to freezing conditions I don’t expect him to throw the ball often unless the Rams find themselves behind big, and with Cam Akers seemingly making the Rams his backfield his own recently and going over 17 rushing attempts in four of his last five games I expect him to hit 20+ rushing attempts in this one.
PREDICTION: PACKERS 27 – 23 RAMS
BEST BET: Cam Akers OVER 16.5 Rushing Attempts – 5/6 with SkyBet. 1 point bet.