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Cheese Curds, 1/11: Packers begin gearing up to face Rams’ elite defense

That defense might have all of its key players, but that doesn’t mean it will be at full strength.

Green Bay Packers v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The matchup is finally set, and there will be plenty of familiarity between the two head coaches on the Lambeau Field sidelines this Saturday afternoon. The Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Rams will open up the NFL Divisional Playoffs with the first game of the weekend on Saturday, a contest that should feature plenty of intrigue even if it doesn’t have the sort of quarterback matchup that NFL media will be talking about all week.

Instead, the two dominant storylines for Packers-Rams will be (1) Matt LaFleur facing old boss Sean McVay for the first time and (2) the Packers’ top-ranked offense against the Rams’ top-ranked defense. The latter is the most meaningful, of course, with elite talents like Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey trying to stop the NFL’s best QB-receiver combo in Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams.

However, not all is rosy for the Rams, who come out of the Wild Card round banged up. Both of their quarterbacks are dealing with injuries, as is their top wide receiver, Cooper Kupp. Even so, Donald’s injury is surely the most concerning for the Rams, as the six-time All-Pro is dealing with a rib issue that knocked him out of last Saturday’s win over the Seahawks.

Let’s take a look at the upcoming matchup in curds and get a closer look at the injury Donald is dealing with.

How the Packers earned home-field advantage | Packers.com
The team website breaks down the entire 2020 regular season game-by-game to illustrate how the Packers got to where they are today: ready to start their playoff run from the #1 seed.

Divisional-round schedule and previews for AFC, NFC games | ESPN+
Here's a solid breakdown of all four Divisional playoff games coming up next weekend.

Packers will have their hands full against the Rams defense | Packers Wire
The Rams allowed the fewest points and the fewest yards of any NFL team this year. This will truly be a strength vs. strength matchup, with the Packers leading the NFL in points scored.

Rams HC Sean McVay expects Aaron Donald to play vs. Packers; no word on starting QB | NFL.com
The straw that stirs the drink for the Rams, however, is Donald, and he suffered a rib injury against the Seahawks and did not return. His head coach says he expects him to play, but by the sound of it he won't be at 100%. Specifically, the injury is reported to be torn rib cartilage, which sounds extremely painful.

Packers' Dominique Dafney: From bouncer to rookie surprise – The Athletic (subscription)
This is a great story about the rookie H-back, who started at Iowa Western Community College as a wide receiver before transferring first to Iowa and then to Indiana State.

Online sales of Packers merchandise take up the slack in pandemic-ravaged year | Green Bay Press-Gazette
Here's hoping there's a lot more special merchandise being ordered four weeks from today.

Father-son team allege Tim Hortons took their COVID-safe lid applicator idea | CBC News
I imagine this feverish Canadian lawsuit will consist of the following:
"We think you took our idea and would love it if you would recognize us for it."
"Oh, sorry! Here, have a coffee and a donut while we figure this out."