clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Rams-Packers Preview: Line play could determine who wins in week five

The Packers have already beaten the Seahawks and they look to do the same against the Rams.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Don't let the record fool you. At 2-2, the Rams are as dangerous as any team right now in the NFC. After handing Arizona their first loss of the season last week, St. Louis will look to do the same thing to Green Bay on Sunday. Promising rookie Todd Gurley had his coming out party last week to the tune of 146 rushing yards and could play a key role and will likely have a say in who wins this weekend. Containing him, as well as establishing their own run game, will be some of the things to keep an eye on for Green Bay.

When looking at all the different aspects of the game that could have an impact, the overall play at the line of scrimmage could ultimately determine who wins. First off, the Rams offense is built for the run and now have their top option, Gurley, fully healthy. This looks to be an issue when considering the Packers rank 23rd against the rush. That stat is misleading though, in the fact that the defense held both Marshawn Lynch and Jamaal Charles to under 50 yards apiece in previous weeks. The numbers are inflated largely due to the quarterbacks they have faced so far. Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick both found success with their legs, but Nick Foles does not pose the same threat. The Rams are at their best when they have an effective run game to help control the time of possession and keep the opposing offense on the sideline.

On the other side of the ball, St. Louis sports one of the best defensive lines in the game, led by second-year star Aaron Donald in the middle. All four starters - Donald, Chris Long and Robert Quinn on the ends, and Michael Brockers inside - are former first round picks. On top of that, this team signed Nick Fairley, a first round pick by Detroit, in the offseason.

This provides an excellent four-man pass rush, proven by the fact they are tied for second with the Packers in total team sacks. Green Bay has missed injured right tackle Bryan Bulaga in their last three games and has struggled to keep Aaron Rodgers comfortable. Bulaga's status has been upgraded to questionable leading up to the game and many, including himself, expect to see him play.

The Packers may be favorites, but this game will be anything but guaranteed if the Rams control the line of scrimmage. It could be a long day for the home team if Gurley dominates and the defense can keep Rodgers from finding his rhythm. As the old-school football theory goes, games are won and lost in the trenches.