The Green Bay Packers play the Los Angeles Rams in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the first time since 1978 on Sunday, there they will find the last undefeated team in the NFL this season.
The Rams (7-0) will be playing at home for the first time in more than a month.
“I think every week is a chance for our football team to continue to try to demonstrate the consistency that they’ve played with through seven weeks,” Rams head coach Sean McVay said. “Right now our sole focus and concentration will be on the Packers.
” … Being back at home should be fun and that’s really what it is. It’s a week-to-week league and we talk about it all the time. The narrative is written every single week and we want to continue to try to do a good job. We don’t have to do anything other than try to be the best that we can one day at a time and hopefully that leads to a good performance. The confidence that we have in our coaches and in our players’ ability to execute, I think can allow them to operate with a quieted mind and go play to the best of their ability and we’ll hopefully get the result that we want.”
Coming into the game, the Rams have lead the NFL in total yards behind quarterback Jared Goff and running back Todd Gurley, who leads the NFL with 686 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns.
The Packers are second in total offense, but quarterback Aaron Rodgers, playing on a gimpy left knee, will have to avoid a devastating pass rush led by Aaron Donald, who leads the NFL with eight sacks, and Ndamukong Suh.
Rodgers has been sacked 17 times, but also has a knack for avoiding losses because of innate ability to throw the ball away at just the right time.
Green Bay is 3-2-1 against teams with a combined record of 17-21-1, but the Packers’ next five games are against teams with an overall mark of 23-10-1.
“We’re going to have to play better,” said Rodgers, who has played well this season despite not practicing much because of his injury. “We’re going to have to play a lot better than we have to win those games.
“This is an important stretch in our season. I’m not going to say it’s going to define our season but it’s definitely going to shake things out when we get on the other side of this and get back home in six weeks on where we’re at in the race and what we’re playing for.
“If you want to be a competitive team that’s playing in January, you’ve got to win some of these games.”
It won’t get any easier for the Packers, who in the next several weeks will play the New England Patriots (5-2), the Miami Dolphins (4-3), the Seattle Seahawks (3-3) and the Minnesota Vikings (4-2-1).
Green Bay is going to need more of what Rodgers, delivered in his last game, when he completed 25 of 46 passes for 425 yards and two touchdowns in a 33-30 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football.
Rodgers, who is playing with a knee brace, threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Davante Adams to tie the game, 30-30, with 1:55 left in regulation and then drove the Packers down the field for Mason Crosby’s game-winning 27-yard field goal as time expired.
“If I’m completely healed, I don’t need to wear a brace,” Rodgers said. “I feel more comfortable without it obviously. Having dealt with a knee injury for much of my football life, obviously you’re more protected. You see some guys who do wear it all the time without having issues, but I just feel more comfortable without having it on. So if it’s not on that means I’m feeling great and if it is, that means I’m not quite all the way back.”
This is one of the NFL great, old-time rivalries, with the Rams and Packers playing for the 93rd rime in the regular season, and incredibly there are tied, 45-45-2.
The Packers have won the last five, but will need some more magic from Rodgers to keep that going.