20

October

Green Bay Packers at St. Louis Rams Key Matchups

Jordy Nelson

Jordy Nelson will be a focal point of the Rams defense

The Packers head to St. Louis to take on the Rams this Sunday.  Both teams are 3-3 and seem to match up evenly on paper.  Let’s take a look at the key matchups this game will bring.

Rams CB Cortland Finnegan vs. Packers WR Jordy Nelson/Randall Cobb

Finnegan has been a good free agent pick up for the Rams and is reunited with Jeff Fisher, who was Finnegan’s head coach in Tennessee.  According to ProFootballFocus, Finnegan has been targeted 40 times this season and averages just 8.8 yards/catch.

I have Finnegan matched up on both Nelson and Cobb because Finnegan is likely move over to the slot in the Rams’ nickel package.  Packers QB Aaron Rodgers passed just 29 times in last year’s game so depending on how many 4-5 wide sets the Pack use will determine who Finnegan lines up on.

In last season’s matchup between these teams, Nelson had just 2 catches but the most memorable was a 93 yard catch and run on a slant for a TD.  Of course, St. Louis didn’t have Finnegan or this same quality secondary.  Whoever Finnegan is blanketing will definitely be earning every ball caught.

With the Rams secondary needing to respect Nelson, Cobb and James Jones, one of the three should put up some good numbers.  My bet is on Cobb as it’s just plain dumb to leave Nelson one on one, even against the trusty Finnegan.  The Rams can only offer so much help over the top so they will have to pick their poison.

Packers OLB Clay Matthews vs. Rams LT Joe Barksdale

It was noted via Twitter on Friday that Rams LT Wayne Hunter has not practiced at all this week and is doubtful to play on Sunday.  Hunter was already in to replace the injured Roger Saffold who was the Rams’ opening day starter at left tackle.

Getting the start in Hunters’ absence would be Barksdale.  Barksdale was just recently awarded to the Rams after being waived by Oakland in late September.  He is a backup tackle at best and only has to come in and face one of the best pass rushers in Matthews.  With the Rams extremely thin at left tackle, they are forced to play Barksdale despite the fact that he has virtually zero experience on the left side.

14

October

2011 NFL Season Week 6: Green Bay Packers vs. St. Louis Rams Preview–IT’S A THROWBACK TRAP!

Admiral Ackbar has a warning for the Green Bay Packers

It’s finally here. The weekend many of us Packers bloggers and fans have been waiting for: Throwback Weekend! No clue what I am talking about? Look here for all the details from our friends at CheeseheadTV.

Lost amongst all the hype for the festivities is that there is an actual game to be played at Lambeau Field on Sunday! The 5-0 defending world champion Green Bay Packers take on the 0-4 St. Louis Rams.  The Packers will be wearing their 1929 throwback jerseys that they wore against the 49ers last season, hence why it is called “Throwback Weekend.”

Last Week in Review

The Packers got off to sluggish start against the Atlanta Falcons on national television, trailing 14-6 at the half.   After the break however, the defense came alive and Aaron Rodgers kept doing his thing as the Packers shut out Atlanta in the second half and won 25-14.  Rodgers completed 26 of 39 for 396 yards and two touchdowns while throwing to 12 (12!) different receivers.

The Rams mercifully had their bye week.

Rams players to watch

QB Sam Bradford

With the arrival in the offseason of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, it was expected that he would take Bradford’s game to the next level after his stellar rookie season a year ago.

We’re still waiting.

Bradford has all the tools.  He’s smart, he’s accurate, and he’s poised.   Of course, no quarterback can put up big numbers while on their back.

In four 2011, Bradford has completed 49.7% of his passes for three TDs and one INT.  The glaring statistic is that he has been sacked 18 times (that’s more than four times a game).

With an aggressive Packers pass rush, Bradford’s life won’t be getting better any time soon.

RB Steven Jackson

Jackson does not run around you. He runs over you.

One of the most bruising backs in the league, Jackson has gone over the 100 yard mark each of the last two times he has faced the Packers.  With a passing game that is struggling badly, Jackson will need to carry the load if he hopes to lead his team to victory.