Originally published by RamsNewswire.com
Things haven’t been going great for the Los Angeles Rams as they’ve dropped their past two games and are dealing with multiple injuries on both sides of the ball.
The Rams lost their Week 8 matchup to the Dallas Cowboys in embarrassing fashion, though they catch a bit of a reprieve as they head on the road for a Week 9 tilt against the struggling Green Bay Packers. Unlike Los Angeles, Green Bay is in a full-scale rebuild and could look much different at the start of the 2024 season given the play of some of their young talent.
Although the Packers aren’t destined for the playoffs, they can still give the Rams problems considering how disjointed the latter has looked in recent weeks.
Rams Offense vs. Packers Defense
The biggest question mark for the offense is Matthew Stafford, who was diagnosed with a sprained UCL on his throwing hand and is considered a game-time decision according to Sean McVay. If Stafford is unable to go, Brett Rypien would be the starter.
Rypien is far from the same caliber of quarterback Stafford is, and he could find it even more difficult to move the ball considering Puka Nacua is questionable with a knee injury. Cooper Kupp would become a target hog in the passing game, though McVay could also lean on his running back tandem of Darrell Henderson and Royce Freeman.
Green Bay’s defense still features star talent in Jaire Alexander, Rashan Gary and Preston Smith, so McVay will need to find ways to make the game easier for Rypien should he have to step up in place of Stafford.
Rams Defense vs. Packers Offense
Los Angeles will be without Ernest Jones, who is also dealing with a knee injury, meaning there could be a dip in coverage in the middle of the field. Jordan Love has fallen back down to earth since his hot start, but Matt LaFleur will find ways to move the ball via his own running back duo of Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon.
Cobie Durant is listed questionable with a shoulder injury, so the secondary might be shorthanded trying to guard against the likes of Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs and Jayden Reed.
Keys to Victory
1. Embrace the short game
Even if Stafford is able to go, he’ll likely be limited given the nature of his injury. McVay should look to move the ball underneath on short routes in order to get the ball out quicker and protect either Stafford or Rypien from the Packers’ pass rush.
2. Don’t get beat on the big play
Love’s got a great arm, but so far he has yet to prove he can win in the intermediate areas of the field. However, he’s connected with his receivers on several explosive plays, so the secondary’s got to tighten up coverage on those downfield shots.
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