GREEN BAY, Wis. – It meant a lot to have the top seed and a first-round bye in the NFL playoffs this year, because there was only one bye. So the top-seeded Green Bay Packers had the luxury of resting up last weekend while the Los Angeles Rams were getting banged up in their wild-card win at Seattle.
Injuries always play a factor this time of year, and quarterback John Wolford, the Rams' emergency starter last week, got knocked out of the game at Seattle with a neck stinger and isn't available. Jared Goff, who had thumb surgery just three weeks ago, came in and played well enough to get the win, and he'll get the start Saturday.
Weather is always a factor in Green Bay in January, but it shouldn't be a major issue on Saturday. Gametime temperature is projected to be around 35 degrees, with no rain or slow in the forecast.
Here's how to watch the Green Bay Packers' game with the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday:
Los Angeles Rams vs. Green Bay Packers
- WHAT: NFL divisional round game between the No. 6-seed Los Angeles Rams and the No. 1-seed Green Bay Packers in the NFC playoffs.
- WHEN: Saturday, 4:35 p.m. ET
- WHERE: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisc.
- POINT SPREAD: Green Bay is favored by 6.5 points on Saturday morning, according to the DraftKings.com gambling website. The over/under is at 45.5. The Rams were 3-point underdogs last week in the wild-card round, and beat Seattle outright.
- TV: FOX
- Stream: FOXSports.com
- TV Announcers: Kevin Burkhardt (play-by-play) and Daryl Johnston (color)
- RECORDS: Los Angeles Rams (11-6, 5-4 on the road this season); Green Bay Packers (13-3, 7-1 at home this season)
- LAST GAME: The Rams beat the Seattle Seahawks 30-20 in the wild-card round last weekend. The Packers, as the No. 1 seed, had a bye last weekend. They defeated the Chicago Bears 35-16 in the final game of the regular season on Jan. 3.
- ALL-TIME SERIES: The Rams lead the series 47-46-2.
- LAST MEETING: The two teams last met on Oct. 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, with the Rams winning 29-27 on a Greg Zuerlein field goal with 2:05 to go. Jared Goff passed for 295 yards and three touchdowns in the Rams' win.
- COACHES: The Rams are coached by Sean McVey, who's in his fourth year with team and has made the playoffs three times. He's 44-21 overall and 3-2 in the playoffs, including losing the 2019 Super Bowl to the New England Patriots. Matt LaFleur is in his second season with the Packers and has a 26-6 overall record and two NFC North division titles to his credit. He's 1-1 in the playoffs, beating Seattle in the divisional round before losing 37-20 to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.
Here are three things to look for in the Rams-Packers game
1. How Healthy is Jared Goff?
Jared Goff had right thumb surgery on Dec. 28, and he's being thrust into Saturday's playoff game in Green Bay, even if he's not 100 percent. Goff has been practicing with a glove on his throwing hand all week in preparation for the cold in Green Bay.
“He’s good,” Rams coach Sean McVay said about Goff. “He’s done a nice job throughout the course of the week. I think he’s been able to get a lot of good individual work with (Rams offensive coordinator) Kevin O’Connell, and then we had a little bit of physical work yesterday.
“And so he’s making good progress. I know he’s been pain-free, but I think the further away you get away from that (injury), the more normal functionality you’ll get from that thumb surgery. Feeling like yourself as far as getting the grip, throwing the football and all the different things that position entails from a ball-handling perspective.''
Goff is good to go, but his favorite receiver, Cooper Kupp, will be a game-time decision.
2. Will Aaron Rodgers play like an MVP?
No one ever disputes the greatness of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, but Saturday's challenge for the league's No. 1 offense is taking on the Rams and their No. 1-ranked defense.
Rodgers has passed for 4,299 yards this season, with 48 touchdown passes and only five interceptions. There are a lot of great NFL quarterbacks who had big seasons, but this looks like an MVP year for Rodgers, and he wants to keep that going in the playoffs. Rodgers led the NFL with a 121.5 passer rating, the second-highest single-season mark by a quarterback in NFL history, trailing only his 122.5 rating in 2011.
Rodgers enters Saturday’s game having thrown a touchdown pass in 14 consecutive postseason games.
3. Can Aaron Donald still dominate?
The Rams have the league's best defense, thanks to All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald and cornerback Jalen Ramsey. The showdown on the perimeter between Ramsey and Packers receiver Davonta Adams, who had 18 touchdown receptions this season, will be one to watch for sure, but it's all about how well Donald can play with injured ribs.
For the Rams to have a chance in this game, Donald and his pass rushers have to disrupt Rodgers and get him on the ground during the course of the game. A few rushed throws might lead to turnovers, something Rodgers has avoided all year, but the playoffs are a different animal and every mistake is magnified.