|LA Rams||Rank||@||Green Bay||Rank|
|39.5%||8||Opp. Rush %||40.8%||12|
|60.5%||25||Opp. Pass %||59.2%||21|
Against the Spread
Packers ATS at Home: 5-3
Rams ATS Away: 5-4
Packers ATS as Favorite: 8-5
Rams ATS as Underdog: 3-2
Green Bay had the lone bye in the NFC. A year ago, they were not the No. 1 seed, but were in this spot hosting and beating Seattle 28-23.
They will host the Rams, who are coming off a 30-20 win in Seattle a week ago. The Rams are no strangers to winning on the road, holding a 23-11 record (21-13 ATS) under Sean McVay on the road, the fourth-best record away from home since hiring him. As a road underdog, they have a 6-5 record under McVay, which is just one of four teams to have a winning record outright as a road dog while they are also 8-3 ATS spread in those spots.
The story of this game is definitely geared up as the Green Bay offense versus the Los Angeles defense. The Packers are the highest-scoring team in the NFL while the Rams have allowed the fewest points per game entering the weekend.
With that, the Packers were the top offense in expected points added offensively this season, but their gap to the other top offenses were packed closer than the gap the Rams held over the field in EPA defensively. The Rams’ 107.6 EPA defensively this season was nearly three times that over the next defense (Pittsburgh) at 33.2.
As things stack up on the schedule front, the Rams only faced two top-10 teams in offensive EPA this season in the Bills and Buccaneers. They gave up a season-high 35 points to the Bills back in Week 3 to go along with 375 yards, but limited the Buccaneers to 24 points and 251 yards, the second-fewest amount of yards Tampa Bay had in a game this season. Without facing a ton of elite offenses, the Rams also did only have three games this season against teams in the bottom-10 of offensive EPA.
The Packers faced four top-10 defenses in EPA this season (Buccaneers, Saints, Eagles, and 49ers) and scored 30 or more points in three of those four games. Unlike the Rams defense, they did get a ton of bottom-dwelling units, having eight games versus teams in the bottom-eight of defensive EPA. To their credit, they did what an elite offense should do in the majority of those spots. Green Bay scored at least three touchdowns in every game but two this season.
Scoring three touchdowns could put the Rams in a bind. Last week against Seattle, the Rams scored a touchdown on two of their 14 possessions and over their past four games, the Rams have scored a touchdown on 4-of-45 offensive possessions.
Aaron Rodgers: Rodgers hits the postseason as the favorite to be named the league’s Most Valuable Player. Rodgers led the league in completion rate (70.7%), touchdown passes (48), touchdown rate (9.1%), and interception rate (1.0%) while his 8.2 yards per pass attempt were his most in a season since 2014.
For fantasy, Rodgers had at least 18.3 points in every game except for one. His lone blemish was that rough game against Tampa Bay when he completed just 16-of-35 passes that game for 4.6 Y/A and zero touchdowns on his way to just 3.8 fantasy points.
In that game, the Bucs were able to pressure Rodgers on a season-high 43.9% of his dropbacks, when he was just 4-of-13 for 48 yards under pressure. For the season, Rodgers had a 77.1% completion rate when kept clean, which was second in the league. Under pressure, however, that rate dropped to 45.3%, which was 29th. He was just not under pressure often. Rodgers was pressured on just 14.0% of his dropbacks, the lowest rate of all full-season starting quarterbacks and the Packers faced just three teams in the top-10 in pressure rate and sacks generated defensively.
This will be Rodgers’s toughest task since that game. The Rams actually do not generate a ton of consistent pressure defensively, ranking 18th (22.6%) and blitz just 27.3% of the time (19th), but the pressure they do get is not wasted as their 53 sacks in the regular season were second in the NFL while they added another five sacks last week against Seattle. Aaron Donald is expected to play Saturday, but we still do not know if he will be impacted by his rib injury from a week ago. That is a big development here to go along with the Packers losing David Bakhtiari for the remainder of the season.
We mentioned it last week, but no team defends the deep pass better than the Rams. They have allowed a league-low 0.28 passing points per attempt on throws over 15 yards downfield and a league-low 30.8% completion rate on those targets with just two touchdown passes. Only Deshaun Watson produced more fantasy points (115.4) than Rodgers’s 102.8 points on throws over 15 yards downfield among quarterbacks this season.
In totality, the Rams led the NFL in passing points allowed this season (11.0 per game), allowing over 15.0 passing points in three games this season to Josh Allen (26.4), Jimmy Garoppolo (22.7), and Kyler Murray (16.9).
Jared Goff: With John Wolford out for Saturday, we fully know the offense is back under Goff.
With a game plan built for Wolford last week prior to injury, the Rams then turned to Goff, who completed 9-of-19 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown.
With Goff starting, we have a few narratives and trends working against him over his early career. For one, Goff has not exactly been hot. He has five touchdown passes over his past six games played with 6.5 Y/A over that span.
He also has not been a high-flying postseason performer to date. In five career postseason games now, Goff has completed 54.1% of his passes for 6.6 Y/A with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
We will also get Goff in a cold weather game with the game temperature expected to be in the mid-20s on Saturday in Lambeau. Goff has just two career games played at 32 degrees or lower, but his totals in those games are 34-of-72 (47.2%) for 381 yards (5.3 Y/A) with zero touchdowns and five interceptions. Now, that is a minuscule two-game sample, but hand size and cold weather, precipitation concerns were a concern for many on Goff entering the league.
The Packers closed the season eighth in the league in passing points allowed per game (14.1) on the strength of closing out the season allowing 6.2 Y/A over their final eight games after 8.0 Y/A over their opening eight games. The schedule did help them out some as Philip Rivers (8.0 Y/A), Matthew Stafford (7.2 Y/A) and Ryan Tannehill (5.0 Y/A) were the only fantasy-relevant starters they faced, but they did allow only Rivers to hit 20 fantasy points out of those options.
Cam Akers: The Rams have really gotten Akers going to close the season and leaned on him to carry their offense down the stretch as their passing game has been largely underwhelming.
Over his past five games, Akers has received 22, 31, 16, 25, and 30 touches for 612 yards. Over that same span, other Rams backs have totaled 29 touches with just one game over that span in which another received more than five touches in a game alongside Akers. Akers also has at least 22 receiving yards in four of those five games, with 52 and 45 yards through the air the past two weeks.
Last week, Akers tallied 176 total yards against a Seattle defense that entered last week 10th in the league in yards per carry and in rushing points allowed to backs. This week, he draws a Green Bay defense that enters the postseason 17th in YPC (4.48) and 20th in rushing points allowed per game (13.6). The Packers did close the season with some success there to their credit, holding Derrick Henry and David Montgomery to a combined 167 rushing yards on 45 carries over their final two games of the season.
Aaron Jones: Jones enters the postseason posting 1,459 total yards and 11 touchdowns in his 14 games played. Jones once again did not receive top-shelf usage like his RB1 peers, averaging 17.7 touches per game (12th), but remained one of the league’s most explosive backs, matching a career-high with 5.9 yards per touch.
Jones was fifth among all backs this season in rushing yardage on explosive carries (552 yards) which accounted for 50% of his rushing yardage.
The Rams are the league’s best run defense in EPA and allowed the fewest explosive rushing yardage per game (29.1 yards per game). Just three backs posted 100 or more yards against the Rams this season, with all three of those coming in the opening three weeks of the season. Chris Carson’s 82 yards last Saturday were the most by a back against Los Angeles since Week 3.
Davante Adams: This is a matchup we are all here for.
Adams was the league’s fantasy wideout of the season, averaging a robust 25.6 PPR points per game. That per game total was good for fifth all-time for a wideout in a season and the most in a season since Jerry Rice in 1995.
Despite missing two games, Adams caught a league-leading 18 touchdowns and has caught 25 touchdown passes over the past 22 games played dating back to last season with just six games during that run going scoreless.
The Rams allowed a league-low 7.1 yards per target and 2.5% touchdown rate to opposing wide receivers this season. To go with that, they were second in the NFL in points allowed to opposing WR1 (12.0 per game). The only 100-yard game the Rams allowed to a lead wideout was to Deebo Samuel back in Week 12, who had an average depth of target of 0.4 yards and 136 yards after the catch. The only other 100-yard game they allowed was a 6-100 game to Cole Beasley in Week 3.
But D.K. Metcalf did notch a 5-96-2 game last week, to show a ceiling can still exist for a top wideout. That is because the Rams have not always used Jalen Ramsey to strictly shadow wideouts. But when he has been in coverage, he has turned in a stellar season. Of all cornerbacks to play at least 50% of the snaps this season, Ramsey ranks second in completion rate allowed (50%) with 0.55 yards allowed per snap (second).
Adams and Ramsey have only met once, coming in Ramsey’s first ever career game in 2016. In that game, Adams caught 3-of-7 targets for 50 yards and a touchdown with one catch (one target) for five yards in the coverage of Ramsey himself.
Robert Woods: Woods sustained being the most reliable Rams wideout this season, catching 4-of-8 targets for 48 yards and a touchdown last week in Seattle. The downside is that Woods has not cleared 56 yards in any of his past five games as this offense has struggled in totality.
The Packers were also strong against lead wideouts in 2020, allowing just 12.8 points per game to opposing WR1, which was fourth in the league. Woods is 50/50 wideout inside and out, running 49% of his routes in the slot. With Kupp out in Week 17, Woods ran 71% of his routes from the slot. That can help him out in avoiding Jaire Alexander in man coverage situations to a degree as Alexander has played just 15 snaps in the slot this season.
Cooper Kupp: Kupp suffered a knee injury last week against Seattle and his availability for Saturday is unknown heading into Saturday early in the week. Kupp has even more viability over Woods inside, running 62% of his routes from the slot this season. The downside for Kupp outside of his injury is that he has just three touchdowns on the season, which has magnified his career-low 10.6 yards per catch.
Should Kupp be unavailable, Van Jefferson received a team-high eight targets (4-50-0) and Josh Reynolds six targets (4-29-0) with Kupp out Week 17.
The Packers were seventh overall in yards allowed per target to opposing wideouts (7.8 yards) and fifth in catch rate (60.6%) on targets to wideouts.
Allen Lazard: Outside of a 6-146 game on eight targets in Week 3 without Davante Adams available, Lazard’s game highs outside of that week are six targets, five catches, and 63 yards over his other nine games played. Since returning to the lineup in Week 11, Lazard has cleared 23 yards just twice on 13.7% of the team targets.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling: Valdes-Scantling did close the season leading all qualifying wide receivers in yards per reception at 20.9 yards, catching 33-of-63 targets for 690 yards and six touchdowns. It all comes down to whether or not Valdes-Scantling can cash in on one of his long targets for a score. In his five games this season reaching the end zone, he averaged 20.3 fantasy points. In his other 11 games, Valdes-Scantling averaged 3.3 points per game with single-digit points in all 11.
Getting loose here will be a tough ask. The Rams have allowed a league-low 30.8% completion rate on throws over 15 yards downfield this season. D.K. Metcalf’s score on one of those targets last week was just the second touchdown they allowed on one of those targets all season.
Robert Tonyan: With Tonyan, it is all about the touchdowns. Tonyan matched Travis Kelce for a league-high 11 touchdown receptions among tight ends this season. But those touchdowns made up for 37.4% of Tonyan’s fantasy production, the highest scoring dependency for all tight ends in the top-30 of scoring this season. Tonyan has scored a touchdown in six of the past seven games, but also has 44 or fewer yards in six of those seven. He has hit 50 yards in just four games all season and in just two with Adams also in the lineup. An equal opportunity pass defense good versus all positions, the Rams were second in catch rate (59.3%), and fourth in yards per target (6.1 yards) allowed to opposing tight ends, but did allow seven touchdowns to tight ends compared to nine to wideouts to keep Tonyan as a touchdown-centric option.
Rams TEs: This is still a team effort as both Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett are running nearly identical pass routes per game. Over the past five weeks, Higbee has seen 20 targets (13-180-1) and been a touch more effective than Everett has been on his 18 targets (7-75-0). Higbee does have a 10-9 advantage in red zone targets and a 4-3 edge in end zone targets between the two.
Opposing teams targeted their tight ends just 19.3% of the time versus Green Bay (seventh-lowest) with the Packers checking in allowing a 64.7% catch rate (eighth) and 7.3 yards per target (16th) with a 5.5% touchdown rate (13th) on those opportunities.
More Divisional Round Fantasy breakdowns from The Worksheet: