Week 7: Green Bay Packers At St. Louis Rams
- QuarterbackThe critics were out there and the hard questions were starting to be asked. “What’s wrong with Aaron Rodgers?” The Green Bay quarterback answered those questions by putting on a scintillating performance in Green Bay’s sensation 42-24 victory over the Texans. Rodgers threw for 338 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions. When he’s on his game, he is at the top of the quarterback class.Sam Bradford doesn’t have the kind of talent that Rodgers does and head coach Jeff Fisher does not expect him to dominate a game in the same way. However, he is a smart leader, a tough competitor and an accurate passer who is capable of playing an error-free game and give his team a chance to win.
- OffenseThe Packers have been hurt by injuries to wide receiver Greg Jennings and running back Cedric Benson. However, Jordy Nelson stepped up with a big game in the win over the Texans and James Jones continues to make big plays. The running game is nearly non-existent, but the Packers are clearly an explosive unit.The Rams want running back Steven Jackson to be a dominant ground gainer. He got help in the Week Six loss to Miami from Darryl Richardson, who gained 76 yards on 11 carries. The receivers are trying to recover from the loss of Danny Amendola. Brandon Gibson answered the call against the Dolphins with seven receptions for 91 yards.
- DefenseThe Packers had one of their best defensive games as they shut down the highly skilled Texans thanks to the nasty and physical play of linebackers Clay Matthews and A.J. Hawk. Opposing blockers have to account for Matthews on every play and that opens things up for his teammates. Hawk had 10 tackles vs. the Texans while defensive back Sam Shields had a critical interception.Jeff Fisher is going to make sure his teams play hard and aggressive defense. The Rams may not be the most talented group, but they bring a nasty attitude and pressure on the quarterback. They are especially dangerous when they play at home. If the Packers relax, Chris Long will bring the heat and make them pay.
- Special TeamsThe Packers are not afraid to use trick plays from special teams and they will throw or run the ball from punt formation if they sense a weakness in the coverage team. Randall Cobb had a big day against Houston as a receiver and as a returner. Mason Crosby is a dependable kicker.Greg Zuerlein had been sensational through the first five weeks of the season, but he lost his mojo in Week Six against the Dolphins as he made only 2-of-5 FG attempts. Still, Zuerlein is a brilliant weapon and he may have a stronger leg than Oakland’s Sebastian Janikowski. Johnny Hekker averaged 45.0 yards on three punts against the Dolphins and dropped two inside the 20.
While the NFL community is falling all over itself to praise Aaron Rodgers following his six-TD game against the Houston Texans, a visit to St. Louis is not going to be an easy game for the up-and-down Packers. St. Louis is a much tougher team at home and the defense can put pressure on Rodgers. Look for the Rams to get an edge from their special teams.