Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ offense will get a tough test on Saturday, but the MVP candidate signal caller has a way to exploit the Rams’ defense
The Green Bay Packers earned the No. 1 seed in the NFC, so they’ll welcome the Los Angeles Rams to Lambeau Field on Saturday in the Divisional Round. MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers has a tough test in front of him.
The Rams had the NFL’s No. 1 defense during the regular season, both by points allowed and total yardage. They followed that with a strong effort in a Wild Card Round, holding the Seattle Seahawks to 278 yards of offense and 11 first downs with five sacks of Russell Wilson. Defense travels in the playoffs, and defensive tackle Aaron Donald (ribs) is on track to play against the Packers.
But Aaron Rodgers has as a path to success against the Rams
Rodgers has had another terrific season in 2020, with a league-high 48 touchdown passes (against just five interceptions) with a league-best completion rate (70.7 percent) and a league-high 9.6 adjusted yards per attempt. He also led the league in passer rating (121.5) and QBR (84.4).
ESPN’s Mina Kimes had the following statistical anecdote on Wednesday.
Rodgers off play action this year:
1st in QBR
1st in completion %
1st in TDs
you the idea…. https://t.co/CSn3YoNHWq
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) January 13, 2021
As a play-action passer this year, Rodgers is No. 1 in QBR, touchdowns and completion percentage. The Rams had the No. 1 pass defense in the league, and they were the only team that allowed less than 10 yards per completion during the regular season.
But against play-action the Rams are just 24th in QBR, 22nd in yards per attempt and dead last in average yards of separation (where more is bad, obviously). The aggressiveness of their cornerbacks, led by Jalen Ramsey, is a big factor there.
So if Los Angeles is vulnerable anywhere, it’s against play action where that aggression can be made to work against them. Rodgers surely knows that weakness, but so does Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley. So the chess match, and how the Packers make headway in the passing game, if they can, will be something to watch.