The Los Angeles Rams will have their hands full with the star-studded Green Pay Packers squad.
The Rams limped to the finish line to finish their year with Jared Goff injured and rookie running back Cam Akers put the offense on his back.
As far as the Packers are concerned, Aaron Rodgers is one of the favorites for NFL MVP, and wide receiver Davante Adams is having the best year of his career. The Packers ended the year with the top seed in the NFC and certainly benefited from a first-round bye.
The Packers are the favorites to beat the Rams on Saturday, and for good reason. For that matter, the Packers are the favorites to win the conference.
So, how can the Rams knock off the top-seeded Packers in the Divisional Round?
Here are a few bold predictions for the Rams to knock off the Packers.
1. Ride the Hot Hand
Cam Akers finally got the trust of head coach Sean McVay, although it took some time. Akers ran for 171 yards against New England in December, and he’s fresh off a 131-yard performance in the NFC Wild Card Game against the Seattle Seahawks.
The rookie back from Florida State has gotten 15 or more carries in each of the last five games, and with Goff still nursing that surgically-repaired thumb, Akers’ success running the ball will be even more evident.
The Packers have one of the top offenses in the entire league, so keeping them off the field and controlling the clock will be a huge key to this game for the Rams.
Akers will once again top 20 carries easily as long as the game doesn’t get out of hand early on. He was clearly the best player on offense for Los Angeles against Seattle, and riding Akers’ young legs is exactly what the Rams need to do to stay in this game.
Prediction: Cam Akers runs for 150 yards and two scores.
2. Jalen Ramsey Frustrates Davante Adams
The matchup of Ramsey versus Adams is highly anticipated, to the surprise of many. Adams is coming off a career year for Green Bay. Adams finished with a career-high 18 touchdowns. The Fresno State product eclipsed 100 catches for the second time in his career, this time with 115, which is another career-high.
Adams had seven games with 100 or more yards and had five multi-score games.
With all that being said, Jalen Ramsey has been arguably the best cornerback in the league in 2020. Ramsey is fresh off a matchup against DK Metcalf in which DK went for just three catches and 33 yards.
In fact, Ramsey has kept Amari Cooper, Terry McLaurin, DeAndre Hopkins (twice), Stefon Diggs, Mike Evans, Allen Robinson, and Metcalf (three times) under 75 yards when facing them in 2020. Even more stunning is the fact Ramsey allowed those same receivers to score a combined one touchdown.
Ramsey will certainly have his hands full with Adams this weekend, as No. 17 from Green Bay has certainly been the best wideout in the league in 2020.
If Jales Ramsey can keep Adams in check on Saturday, the Rams will have a huge chance at pulling off this upset.
Prediction: Adams goes for five catches for 57 yards.
3. Jared Goff Plays Turnover-Free Football
Jared Goff has had an up-and-down 2020 season, to say the least. Goff got thrown into last week’s game after John Wolford was injured and had to leave the stadium via ambulance.
Reports said that Goff was ready to start last week, but McVay decided to start Wolford, which didn’t last long at all. Now, Goff is back to his starting role and Blake Bortles is the backup in case Goff has to exit for any reason.
Goff has been criticized throughout the season for his inconsistent play, and for good reason. The former Cal Bears quarterback threw for under 4,000 yards for the first time since 2017. In Goff’s defense, he was at 3,952 and missed the final game of the regular season.
Goff finished 2020 with 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, after ending last year with 22 scores and 16 picks. The Rams quarterback has had his moments but has also struggled with his inability to make plays at times throughout the year.
For the Rams to have any chance to win the game, Goff has to take care of the football. The Packers can score at will and have proven that this season with the Rodgers-Adams connection as good as it ever has been. If Goff plays turnover-free football, the Rams will have a good chance to stay within striking distance.
Prediction: Jared Goff—17-24, 205 yards, two touchdowns.
4. Pass Rush Gets to Rodgers
Disrupt the pocket and pressure Rodgers are always key things when facing the Packers. The future Hall of Fame quarterback has been one of the best in the league for a long time, and his decision-making and ability to read the defense is as good as it gets.
Strangely enough, this will be only the seventh postseason matchup with both quarterbacks from the same college (Cal).
Anyway, Rodgers will have his hands full with Aaron Donald. Defensive coordinator Brandon Staley has been one of the best DCs in the league this season, and that’s certainly evident since he’s completed some interviews for the vacant head-coaching jobs.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers showed everybody the blueprint to beat the Packers back in Oct. 2020 after a 38-10 defeat of Matt LaFleur’s squad.
The Bucs were able to disrupt Rodgers all game, sacking the quarterback four times. Rodgers went 16 of 35 with no scores and two picks in easily his worst game of the season.
Donald is the best defensive player in the league, and has 13.5 sacks in 2020, including a four-sack game against the Washington Football Team.
Staley will have his hands full dialing up different schemes in an effort to get to Rodgers, and if Donald and company and get to Rodgers, the Rams just might be playing for an NFC title next weekend.
Prediction: Rodgers is sacked four times, Donald gets a pair of sacks.
This game is certainly a game in which Green Bay should win. Adams is having an All-Pro year, Rodgers is perhaps the front-runner for MVP, and Aaron Jones rushed for over 1,000 yards for the second straight season. McVay and Staley certainly have their hands full, and Goff needs to play a terrific game to give the Rams a chance.
Who will punch their ticket to the NFC Championship Game?