The banged up Los Angeles Rams travel to the Midwest for a tilt with the No. 1 seed Green Bay Packers on Saturday to open divisional round play. The Rams upset NFC West champion Seattle 30-20 in the wild card round, but the victory came at a price. Several key players sustained injuries in that game with Aaron Donald probably the most important, since he and LA’s top ranked defense will be tasked with slowing down Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ top ranked scoring offense. Green Bay hit the board as a 6.5-point favorite on the NFL betting line.
The divisional round matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and Green Bay Packers will take place on Saturday, January 16, 2021, at 4:35 p.m. ET from Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI. The game will be televised nationally on FOX.
Rams vs Packers NFL Odds
Los Angeles Rams +6.5
Green Bay Packers -6.5
The Rams came through when they had to beating Arizona in the regular season finale to earn a playoff berth. There were some anxious moments before that, though, with a loss to the Jets in Week 15 a near death-blow. Proof that it really is a second season the Rams knocked off Seattle in the wild card round as a 3-point dog, two weeks after suffering a 20-9 loss at the same venue. The Rams opened as a 7-point underdog with the line wagered down to +6.5. The Rams have been an underdog of at least 6.5-points twice in the Sean McVay era going 0-2 SU and 1-1 ATS.
The Packers had the benefit of a first-round bye and we’ll see how that works out for them. They closed the season winning six straight while going 4-2 ATS so the interruption came at a bad time. But as far as getting bodies healthy, the Packers are the only team in the NFC to claim that. They were favored by at least a converted touchdown in six games this season going 6-0 SU and 3-3 ATS. The last meeting resulted in a 29-27 Rams victory during the 2018 season, though the Packers have covered in the last six encounters.
Los Angeles Rams
Two years ago when the Rams reached the Super Bowl they relied on an offense that ranked second in points and yards. This season has been a complete turnaround. Boasting the top-ranked defense in the NFL, the Rams reached the postseason for the third time in four years. However, that group sustained a major blow when Donald sustained an injury last week. The two-time defensive POY finished second with 13.5 sacks during the regular season and he had two of LA’s five sacks of Russell Wilson in the wild card game. Teams are forced to double team him leaving alleys for other defenders. The Rams totaled the second-most sacks during the regular season and led the NFL in total defense, scoring defense and pass defense.
McVay hasn’t committed to a starting quarterback with John Wolford knocked out of last week’s game and Jared Goff still recovering from thumb surgery. Goff threw for 155 yards and a touchdown in relief, but it’s likely the Rams will lean on the ground game and smothering defense. Cam Akers rushed for 131 yards last week and the defense allowed just 278 total yards, scored a touchdown and held Seattle to 2 of 14 on third downs.
Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers has faced some good defenses over his career so don’t expect him to be scared of the Rams’ unit, though he probably should be if Donald plays. The Packers will use their strength against LA’s strength to decide this matchup. With Rodgers throwing a NFL-high 48 touchdown passes, the Packers boasted the top scoring offense averaging 31.8 points. Devante Adams is the go-to receiver. He set a team record with 115 receptions and led the NFL with 18 touchdown grabs. Opponents knew who was getting the football and they were still powerless to stop him.
The defense showed improvement over the second half of the season allowing 16 points or less in four of the last five games. They ended the regular season seventh against the pass and ninth in total defense while surrendering 23.1 points per game. Stopping the run will be key and that’s one area where the Packers struggled, allowing nearly 113 yards per game. One of the many things the Packers do well is take care of the football. They had the fewest turnovers during the regular season and they can’t give the Rams any momentum by coughing it up.
Rams vs Packers Prediction
Best Bet: Green Bay -6.5 and UNDER 45.5
The Packers earned the bye, now it’s time to take advantage. They saw the Rams get banged up in Seattle leaving a lot of questions for the visitors. Donald will likely play, but how disruptive is he going to be? The outcome will be decided by the Packers defense. With uncertainty at quarterback and Cooper Kupp dealing with an injury, I don’t see the Rams doing enough to get the upset.