With the news that receiver Cooper Kupp is out due to bursitis in his knee, that’s a big blow for the offense of the Los Angeles Rams because Jared Goff targets him so much.
Look for rookie receiver Van Jefferson to replace some of the reps of Kupp and Josh Reynolds to have a bigger role in the offense.
With David Edwards also out, expect Bobby Evans to start at left guard. Evans did a nice job as a run blocker for the Rams against the Seattle Seahawks last week.
“Bobby’s a guy that when he’s had his opportunities to play, he has always come in and played well,” Rams head coach Sean McVay said. “One of the things when you watch him, I love his play energy. He’s got just a great juice about himself. You can see he's one of those guys that he's a physical, tough football player, but he enjoys playing out there.”
Rams inactives: WR Cooper Kupp, QB John Wolford, LB Terrell Lewis, OL David Edwards, WR Trishton Jackson, C Brian Allen and QB Bryce Perkins.
The Rams will have just two quarterbacks active in Jared Goff and Blake Bortles.
Here are five keys to the game for the Rams:
The Cam Akers show: Expect the Rams to get the ball to the Florida State product in a lot of ways. The rookie finished with 176 yards from scrimmage last week against Seattle, including 131 rushing yards. But Akers was also a prolific high school quarterback in Mississippi, so could we see the Rams run some Wildcat with Akers at QB on Saturday? Expect the innovative McVay to empty out the playbook on Saturday.
Take care of the football: For the first time this season, the Rams did not turn the ball over in a playoff game last week against the Seattle Seahawks. Goff and the Rams will need to do the same thing against Green Bay and play a clean football game. The Packers had a plus-7 turnover differential in the regular season and have turned it over just twice in the last six games.
Get after Aaron Rodgers: The Rams have to find a way to make Rodgers uncomfortable and move him off his spot. Aaron Donald had two sacks against Rodgers the last time these two teams met, a 29-27 win for the Rams in Los Angeles during the 2018 season. The Rams need more of the same to have a chance today.
Fast start: The Rams had an 81-66 scoring advantage during the regular season in the first quarter. It will be important for the Rams to get off to a good start and not let the game get away from them early. It will be hard for L.A. to be in comeback mode with Kupp out and Goff playing with a swollen thumb on his throwing hand.
Strong finish: Last week, the Rams did a nice job in their four-minute offense of grinding clock, getting first downs and ultimately scoring a touchdown by Robert Woods on a pass from Goff to salt the game away. If they can get a lead going into the fourth, Akers, Goff and the play of the offensive line will be important to ice the win.