Rams vs. Green Bay Packers matchups, start time and how to watch
When Rams have the ball: Matthew Stafford will try to bounce back after putting the Rams in an early hole in each of the last two games because of interceptions, two were returned for touchdowns. Stafford has passed for 24 touchdowns, with eight interceptions. He is accustomed to playing at Lambeau Field, where he had a 3-7 record during 12 seasons with the Detroit Lions. The Rams are two weeks removed from receiver Robert Woods’ season-ending knee injury, but it remains to be seen how coach Sean McVay effectively makes up for his absence. Cooper Kupp is still Stafford’s primary target, but McVay must find a way to make Van Jefferson and Odell Beckham Jr. legitimate threats. Beckham, with one day of practice, caught two passes in a 31-10 defeat to the San Francisco 49ers. McVay has said that working OBJ into the scheme will remain a work in progress. Rams receivers and tight end Tyler Higbee dropped multiple passes against the 49ers. Running back Darrell Henderson has been effective but has not had much opportunity in the last two games. Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry was a linebackers coach on McVay’s staff for four seasons. Tackle Kenny Clark and linebackers De’Vondre Campbell and Rashan Gary are key players.
Sean McVay and the Rams didn’t fare well against former offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur in the playoffs last season, and the Rams are ready for revenge.
When Packers have the ball: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers says he is nursing a fractured toe, and he did not practice this week. Coach Matt LaFleur has said Rodgers will play. He has passed for 21 touchdowns, with four interceptions. Davante Adams has a team-best 72 catches, five for TDs. Randall Cobb also has four touchdown catches, Marquez Valdes-Scantling two. Running back Aaron Jones, who has rushed for three touchdowns and caught four touchdown passes, did not play last Sunday in a 34-31 loss to the Minnesota Vikings because of a knee injury. If Jones is out again, AJ Dillon averages 4.4 yards per carry. The Packers, however, are thin on the offensive line. Elgton Jenkins, who was filling in for injured All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari, suffered a season-ending knee injury against the Vikings. Rams lineman Aaron Donald was limited in last season’s playoff loss to the Packers because of a rib injury. He has six sacks this season. Edge rusher Leonard Floyd was in concussion protocol this week, and also sat out a practice because of illness. He was a full participant Friday and is expected to play. Linebacker Von Miller made his Rams debut against the 49ers and has had two weeks to immerse himself.
When they kick: At the end of training camp, the Rams kept punter Johnny Hekker and traded Corey Bojorquez to the Packers. Bojorquez leads the NFL with a 44.5-yard net average. Hekker is 14th at 41.3 yards. Rams kicker Matt Gay has made 18 of 19 field-goal attempts. Packers kicker Mason Crosby has made only 15 of 23 but LaFleur is sticking with the 15th-year pro.
Gary Klein’s prediction: The Rams were pushed around by the Tennessee Titans and the San Francisco 49ers, and now play one of the top teams in the NFC at a tough venue in cold weather. That’s probably too much to overcome.
PACKERS 24, RAMS 20
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