20 Jan 2002 : Marshall Faulk #28 of the St.Louis Rams tries to outrun the defense of Bernardo Harris #55 and Frank Winters #52 of the Green Bay Packers during the NFC divisional playoff game at Dome Of The America's in St.Louis, Missouri. The Rams won 45-17, which makes them face the Philadelphia Eagles for the NFC Championship. DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit : Brian Bahr/Getty Images
The Packers aren't facing the Greatest Show on Turf this upcoming Sunday.
There is truth to the phrase On Any Given Sunday because every team in the NFL has talented players. Even the worst teams, with a couple of good breaks and a turnover free performance on their part, can upset the best teams. That said, I'm having a really hard time of finding anyway the Rams can beat the Green Bay Packers.
The Packers come into the game having scored 173 points on the season, best in the NFL. The Rams (who have played one fewer game, but still...) have only managed 46 points in their first four games. The Packers were one score away from besting that in their opening week win against the Saints.
Maybe they can find a weakness in the Packers run offense, which has slid down to 12th overall in the rankings at Football Outsiders. But the Rams run defense is currently ranked worst in the league. The Packers "struggles" in the running game might have as much to do with disuse. They've attempted 181 passes on the season vs. 125 rushing plays (and 20 of those were runs by Aaron Rodgers). Only the Patriots can be mentioned in the same breath as the Packers pass offense.
At first it looks like the Rams pass defense might have a chance of holding up. They are currently ranked No. 18 overall (ahead of the Packers pass defense) according to Football Outsiders, but those rankings don't take recent events into account. The Rams have lost their top three cornerbacks to season ending injuries, and most recently CB Bradley Fletcher tore his ACL in practice over the bye week. (It's been that kind of season for them). There might be some good feelings seeing CB Al Harris return to Lambeau and start against his former team, but he's only starting because the Rams have no other choice. Unless DE Chris Long becomes a force of nature and dismantles the Packers offensive line, it's hard to see them doing anything on defense to slow the Packers down.
While the Packers have struggled on pass defense, and they're have problems recording sacks, the Rams don't seem likely to take advantage of it. They have their own problems in pass protection and have already benched former No. 2 overall pick RT Jason Smith once this season. Their best receiver is WR Brandon Gibson and his stats (13 for 171 and 1 TD) aren't even as good as James Jones. Football Outsiders agrees: the Rams are competing against the Jaguars for the worst offense in the NFL.
The last time the Packers hosted a team as bad as the Rams was two weeks ago when they scored 49 points against the Broncos. In the Rams only road game of the season, they scored 16 points against the Giants but that was their high point total from their first four games. I don't expect they'll have even that much success against the Packers.
Packers 42, Rams 10.