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Rams vs. Packers, by the numbers

No Matthew Stafford turns this into a matchup of two bad teams making a mess all over the field together

Los Angeles Rams v Green Bay Packers Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

You guessed it, the Packers are still bad. But at least they are consistently bad! Consistency counts for something, I guess. What is frustrating is that it’s now November and the Packers don’t seem to have a functioning idea of what a better version of them is even supposed to look like. For analysis purposes, that makes looking at them almost impossible. The passing game rates somewhere between below-average and bad depending on the metric, and since the Detroit game, the passing game has been an absolute mess. From Week 4 on, quarterback Jordan Love is posting a very poor -.147 EPA-per-dropback, and he was second worst in success rate for qualified quarterbacks during that time. He has the worst CPOE amongst qualified quarterbacks at -6.1%. He’s certainly not getting help from his receivers. Guys running the wrong routes beyond anything I have ever seen at the professional level, and the Packers are hilariously bad in contested catch situations.

The league average for contested catches this season is about 42%. Green Bay is at a measly 21%. Contested catches are a two-way street. Jordan Love’s ball placement has been really poor all season, and in these contested environments it has struggled as well, but far too often the receivers are just not attacking the ball well. Just a messy pile.

Defensively, everyone has just seen this Packers story for years now. The run defense only holds well against the league’s worst run offenses. They rank 25th in EPA-per-rush allowed and 18th in rushing success rate. The passing defense has really fallen apart with Jaire Alexander’s injury, ranking 25th in EPA-per-dropback allowed and in opponent passing success rate. This defense isn’t very good, it hasn’t been legitimately good in nearly a decade, and it’s probably heading towards a new staff next year.

The Los Angeles Rams game is still winnable, despite the Packers' overall incompetence. At the moment, the Packers are three-point favorites on DraftKings. Matthew Stafford is almost certain to miss the game with a thumb sprain, which means Brett Rypien will start. Rypien is not good in any sense of the word. His career ANY/A is just 3.24. He has a 4:8 TD:INT ratio. His career passing success rate would be in the bottom tier of qualified quarterbacks this season, among the Zach Wilson and Daniel Jones tier of terrible. As bad as the passing defense is, they just cannot be beaten by this quarterback.

In the receiving corps, the name everyone will know is Cooper Kupp, but the veteran receiver has taken a backseat this year to a new rookie star: Puka Nacua. The BYU product ranks seventh in WR EPA, is targeted on nearly 30% of his routes, and ranks eight in yards-per-route-run. He has been an absolute steal for a fifth-rounder. With Rasul Douglas gone and Jaire Alexander battling a back injury, he is almost certainly going to be the Rams' path to offensive success.

Up front, the Rams' offensive line is nothing to write home about, and that should be a place where Green Bay could press an advantage, especially against a backup quarterback.

Rob Havenstein is the only solid pass blocker up front. Tackle Alaric Jackson, guards Steve Avila and Joe Noteboom, and guard Coleman Shelton all have extremely poor pressure-allowed numbers. Expect Rashan Gary and Kenny Clark to post strong numbers on Sunday.

The solid run blocking has created a solid running game for the Rams. They rank fifth in EPA-per-rush and fourth in rushing success rate. I imagine the game plan on Sunday will be to run early and often and use some easy scripted plays to get the ball into Nacua’s hands.

Defensively, the Rams grade out below average in pretty much every metric against both the pass and the run. Aaron Donald is still around, though, and remains a game wrecker, though maybe a half-step back from absolute prime Aaron Donald. With Green Bay struggling mightily on the interior of the offensive line, Donald is going to be a problem, even facing the double teams Green Bay will throw at him.

There is no reason for Green Bay to be materially favored over anyone at this point. This team is on a stretch of losing five of their last six. Of those five losses, only one has come against a team with a winning record. The only reason they beat New Orleans is because Derek Carr got injured. This team very well could be 1-6 right now. Green Bay comes into this one as mild favorites due to the Matthew Stafford injury, but barely being favored at home against a very bad backup quarterback is an apt description of the 2023 Green Bay Packers.