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Packers vs. Rams: The Biggest Mismatch

If there's one thing that jumps off the page headed into Sunday's big showdown, this is it.

GREEN BAY, Wis. – You know what would be a mismatch?

The Green Bay Packers’ injury list taking on the Los Angeles Rams’ injury list.

By numbers and skill, the Packers would have an overwhelming advantage, and that puts them in a big disadvantage for Sunday’s NFC showdown at Lambeau Field.

According to ManGamesLost.com, a subscription site that charts injuries for the NFL and other professional sports, no team has been bitten harder by the injury bug than the Packers.

Man Games Lost uses a metric called “Lost.av.” Lost-av measures the injury impact based on a player’s Approximate Value from the previous season. What’s Approximate Value? Created by Pro Football Reference, Approximate Value is an attempt to put a single number on the seasonal value of a player at any position from any year.

Green Bay is No. 1 in Lost-av. The Packers have had three high-profile, extended absences. All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari hasn’t played this season, Pro Bowl outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith has played in only one game and All-Pro cornerback Jaire Alexander has missed the last seven games.

By Lost-av, Bakhtiari has been the most important injury in the NFL this season. Smith is second and Alexander is eighth.

Throw in big-play receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling and veteran cornerback Kevin King missing five games apiece, and the total has added up. Pro Bowl lineman Elgton Jenkins’ season-ending knee injury will only add to that number.

Los Angeles is No. 29 in Lost-av. The Rams have only one starter on injured reserve, receiver Robert Woods, who suffered a torn ACL at practice a couple weeks ago.

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Here’s the tale of the tape:

Games lost due to injuries (ManGamesLost.com): Green Bay, 15th. Los Angeles, 31st.

Starters on injured reserve: Green Bay, 5 (Alexander, Jenkins, C Josh Myers, Smith, TE Robert Tonyan). Los Angeles, 3 (Woods, RB Cam Akers, DT Sebastian Joseph-Day).

Starters on final injury report: Green Bay, 5 (Bakhtiari is out; King is doubtful; Rashan Gary, Aaron Jones, Allen Lazard are questionable). Los Angeles, 0.

Starters who potentially will not play: Green Bay, 9 (Alexander, Bakhtiari, Jenkins, Jones, King, Lazard, Myers, Smith, Tonyan). Los Angeles, 3 (Akers, Joseph-Day, Woods). (Note: We are not counting Gary because, if everyone were healthy, the Week 1 starters might have been Za'Darius Smith and Preston Smith.)

Consecutive weeks of games: Green Bay, 11. Los Angeles, 0.

Practices missed by the starting quarterbacks this week: Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers (toe), 3; Los Angeles’ Matthew Stafford, 0.

With the bye coming, Packers coach Matt LaFleur has to weigh the value Gary, Jones and Lazard could provide this week with the potential payoff of giving them this week off so they can perhaps be healthy for the stretch run.

“I would say if guy’s cleared to play we’ll let him go,” he said on Friday. “But you're also mindful of what you have in front of you. Certainly, we never want to put somebody in a position where you could subject them to greater risk where they could be out for a longer period of time.”