The Los Angeles Rams and Green Bay Packers are set to square off on Saturday in what is sure to be a great game. The Rams are known for knocking off teams they shouldn’t and using their high tempo offense to their advantage.
The Packers, on the other hand, are known for their old school style offense and their ability to run or throw the ball against the best of defenses. Aaron Rodgers is having an MVP caliber season and he will look to pad his resume against a feisty Rams defense.
Green Bay had a bye week during the Wild Card round of the playoffs and will look to advance to the NFC Championship with a win on Saturday. The Rams, on the other hand, knocked off a Super Bowl favorite Seattle Seahawks team with a backup quarterback starting for them.
Both the Rams and Packers have what it takes to play big time football and win some big time games. The question is, which team will be able to play a clean, efficient game better.
Here’s a look at four factors that could decide the Packers and Rams game on Saturday afternoon.
Number One: Injuries
The Rams managed to knock off the Seahawks in the Wild Card round of the playoffs last week, but that didn’t come without a price to pay. A handful of players were banged up during that game, including NFC sack leader Aaron Donald.
If the Rams want to be able to hang with the Packers, they will need to hope their players can suit up. Rams starting quarterback last week, John Wolford, was feared to have had a neck injury of some sort, but it ultimately ended up just being a stinger and he rejoined the team after the game.
Donald suffered a rib injury and didn’t return during the game. Cooper Kupp also left the game with a knee injury, but head coach Sean McVay stated that all three players should be good to go for Saturday’s game against the Packers. The Rams have been riddled with injuries thus far, but getting their guys back healthy is a huge deal.
Number Two: Coming Out Hot
The biggest advantage for either team on Saturday will be coming out hot. Whichever team comes out the gates clicking and firing on all cylinders will likely come out victorious.
We saw it with the Steelers and Browns game this past weekend, the Browns came out guns blazing and put the Steelers in a hole they never had a chance of getting out of. If the Rams or Packers came out of the gate the same way, it could prove to be a similar result.
The Packers did have a bye week last week so they could come out a bit rusty at the start of the game, however, the week off also could have helped them heal up and prepare for another action packed run trying to get to the Super Bowl. I guess time will tell.
Number Three: Home Field Advantage
Very few teams have a home field advantage in the playoffs like the Green Bay Packers do. When the Packers have home field advantage, it means that opposing teams will have to travel and play in the frigid cold and potential snow rather than a noisy dome or field.
The current weather radar says it will be 32 degrees with light snowfall on Saturday for the Packers and Rams game, and for a team from Los Angeles that could be a huge adjustment. The Rams will be going from playing in the sunshine to playing in snow. That, especially for the skill position players, will be a tough hill to climb.
If the Packers are able to use the cold weather to their advantage, the Rams could be in for a world of surprise. The Packers are a great football team already, but when you couple that with a freezing cold home field, the stakes have been raised.
Number Four: Pace of Play
The Packers and Rams have two very different styles of play. The Packers are more of an old fashioned run to set up the deep ball from Aaron Rodgers style of offense while the Rams are more of a learn on the fly, high tempo, making adjustments style of offense.
If the Rams are able to come out hot from the start, the Packers may struggle to keep pace with them. If the Packers come out the gate running the ball down Los Angeles’ throat, the Rams may struggle as the game moves forward.
Both teams bring a lot to the table as far as how they run their offenses, but the pace of play will be a big deciding factor for who wins the game on Saturday.