St. Louis Rams Week Five Preview
The Rams D-Line getting pressure on Aaron Rodgers is crucial if the Rams are going to beat the Packers on Sunday. Photo via Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports.

On Sunday October 11th, the St. Louis Rams take on the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field at noon central time. The Rams are coming off of a 24-22 win over the previously undefeated Arizona Cardinals to move to 2-2, while the Packers are coming off of a 17-3 win over the San Francisco 49ers to improve to 4-0. The last meeting between these two teams came in the 2012 regular season when the Packers defeated the Rams 30-20 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. The Rams lead the all time series 46-45-2.

Headlines

Rams Without Playmaking linebacker Alec Ogletree

Last week against the Cardinals, Rams leading tackler Alec Ogletree hurt his ankle when safety TJ McDonald fell on it while the two were making a tackle. Ogletree’s injury required surgery and Ogletree will likely be out for the season. Ogletree was a key piece to the Rams defense and his presence will be missed. The Rams re-signed linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar, who they cut during the preseason. Dunbar knows the Rams defensive schemes and knows the Rams defense like the back of his hand. A mix of Dunbar, Daren Bates, Akeem Ayers and Mark Barron will be used to replace Ogletree.

Containing Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers without a doubt is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He hasn’t thrown an interception at home in 19 games and he’s thrown 48 touchdowns since his last interception at home. He’s great at extending plays and drawing the defense offsides for free plays. Rodgers does a great job taking advantage of the defense on those free plays. The Rams defense has to be disciplined and stay onside. Getting past a great Packer offensive line and putting pressure on Rodgers early and often will be crucial if the Rams look to upset the Packers on the road.

Offensive Consistency

The Rams offense has been horribly inconsistent thus far in 2015. The offense struggled against Arizona last week, but all of their points came off of turnovers. They aren’t consistent but sure are opportunistic. The Rams offense has to put together several consistent drives against a good Packers defense to stay in the game. The keys to the offense will be the offensive line and opening up holes for Todd Gurley, just as they did in the fourth quarter of last week’s game. Another key to the offense is getting the ball to wide receiver Tavon Austin. He has been a star for the Rams offense thus far this season along with quarterback Nick Foles, who has looked great through four games. There is a variety of plays the Rams can use the speedy receiver in, such as play action and putting Austin in motion.

Bye Week Blues?

The Packers are one of, if not the best team in the NFL. They are undefeated and haven’t lost at home since Week 16 of the 2013 season. The Rams have let close games with the Washington Redskins and Pittsburgh Steelers slip away and could easily be sitting at 3-1 or even 4-0. They head into their bye week after the game with the Packers and an upset of the Packers would be huge for the Rams going into a week if rest and further preparation. It would put them at 3-2 and they will head into a four game stretch where they play the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears at home, and then the Minnesota Vikings on the road. All four games are winnable games and a win against the Packers would put the Rams in a great spot. If not, they will be heading into the bye week at 2-3 with no momentum heading into the bye week and the game against the Browns.

Prediction

The Rams looked really good last week. If they can keep up play on both sides of the ball, they have a big chance of upsetting the Packers at Lambeau. This author really likes the chance they have on Sunday.

Score: Rams 30 Packers 28

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