Two of the best teams in the NFC will clash on Sunday afternoon when the Los Angeles Rams visit the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in a Week 12 showdown. Los Angeles returns from a bye week at 7-3 overall after most recently playing on November 15 in an ugly 31-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers as a 3.5-point road favorite. Green Bay will look to recover from a 34-31 road loss to the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday as a one-point favorite that dropped the Packers to 8-3 on the year.
These teams met in the Divisional Round last season, with the Packers winning 32-18 at home. The Packers have won six of the last seven head-to-head meetings overall.
Rams hope to shake off slump during bye weekAfter rolling to a 7-1 start, the Rams are suddenly looking for answers after turning in two ugly primetime performances in a row, including a blowout Monday night loss to the 49ers to cap off Week 10. A dominant 93-yard drive that took up most of the first quarter set the early tone for San Francisco, as the Rams only touchdown came early in the second quarter on a 10-yard Tyler Higbee reception with the 49ers otherwise totally in control.
Gotta keep applyin' the pressure. pic.twitter.com/5igCOCI0PF— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) November 23, 2021
Matthew Stafford has another rough game, completing 26 of 41 pass attempts for 243 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Cooper Kupp had a standout performance with 11 catches for 122 yards on an otherwise sluggish night for the offense. The Rams were outgained 335-278 while turning the ball over twice, with the 49ers owning the trenches on both sides of the ball.
"I choose to believe that these last couple of weeks are not who we are. I refuse to believe that, event that, you know what, you're only as good as your last game," head coach Sean McVay said via NFL.com. "These last two weeks have certainly been humbling."
Los Angeles hasn't been as good against the spread at 4-6 and has failed to cover in its last four games including an ugly loss to the Tennessee Titans as a touchdown favorite. Overs are 5-4-1 for the Rams, although just one of their last six games has gone over the betting total.
Even with the tough stretch, the Rams are seventh in the NFL in scoring offense at 27.1 points per game on 387.2 yards per contest. Los Angeles defense hasn't graded out quite as well, with opponents putting up 22.7 points and 34.6 yards per game.
Stafford has had some ups and downs, completing 245 of 362 pass attempts for 3,014 yards, 25 touchdowns and eight interceptions in his first year with the Rams. Darrell Henderson leads the Rams in rushing with 126 attempts for 595 yards and five scores, while Kupp is the NFL's top receiver at 85 receptions for 1,141 yards and 10 scores. Aaron Donald is having yet another huge season defensively, racking up 45 tackles including nine for a loss, six sacks, 14 quarterback hits, three pass breakups and a forced fumble.
The Rams took a huge hit a couple of weeks ago with second-leading receiver Robert Woods going down to a torn ACL. Linebacker Leonard Floyd is in concussion protocol but was at least able to return to a limited practice on Thursday, while corner Dont'e Dayton is also questionable with a thigh problem. Defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day (pectoral), rookie wideout Tutu Atwell (shoulder) and running back Cam Akers (Achillies) are among the key Rams on injured reserve.
Packers lose shootout to division rivalAfter a few weeks of defensive struggles, the Packers' offense came to life in a big way last Sunday in Minnesota, but Green Bay was unable to hang on in a wild back-and-forth game to take just its third loss of the season. A slow start had Green Bay down 23-10 late in the third quarter before Davante Adams recorded two straight scores over a span of 10 minutes. A 75-yard catch and run by Marquez Valdes-Scantling would tie the score at 31 with 2:07 to go just seconds after Minnesota took the lead, only for the Vikings to respond with a lengthy drive to record the game-winning field goal.
Aaron Rodgers turned in his best game of the season, completing 23 of 33 pass attempts for 385 yards and four touchdowns. Valdes-Scantling piled up 123 yards and a touchdown on just four catches, while Adams had seven receptions for 115 yards and two scores. The Packers finished with a 467-408 advantage in total yards, yet just could not get any stops on third down with the Vikings going 9/13.
“When you’re playing an offense that’s hot and has a hot quarterback and stud receivers and a stud back, you’ve got to keep scoring,” Rodgers said to the Associated Press. “We’ve got to start faster.”
No team in the NFL has been a better bet as Green Bay is 9-2 against the spread, with last week's loss snapping a nine-game cover streak. Overs are just 3-8 for the Packers after last Sunday's game snapped a run of seven straight unders.
That was a strong showing from a Packers offense that hasn't always been sharp this season with an average of 22.5 points and 351 yards per game. Green Bay's defense has largely made up for it, allowing 19.5 points per game to rank fifth in the NFL with opponents managing just 318.18 yards per contest.
Rodgers hasn't matched his MVP level numbers from last year but is still effective, completing 219 of 328 pass attempts for 2,571 yards, 21 touchdowns and four interceptions. Aaron Jones has been an all-around weapon with 123 carries for 541 yards, 37 receptions for 298 yards, and seven total touchdowns, while Adams has been fantastic again with 72 catches for 979 yards and five touchdowns. De'Vondre Campbell is a breakout star to lead the Green Bay defense with 95 tackles including four for a loss, five quarterback hits, two interceptions, two forced fumble and four pass breakups.
With Jones returning to limited practice on Thursday, he appears on track to return from a one-game absence due to a MCL sprain. Rodgers has missed practice with a fractured toe, but seems likely to play through the injury. The injury news was less positive for key offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins, who suffered a torn ACL last weekend. Offensive tackle David Bakhtiari is close to returning from a torn ACL but isn't practicing yet, while corner Kevin King also missed practice with hip/knee problems. Wideout Allen Lazard (shoulder) and linebacker Rashan Gary (elbow) are questionable after being limited. Green Bay remains without its two top defensive players until late in the year, with corner Jaire Alexander (shoulder) and pass rusher Za'Darius Smith (back) on injured reserve.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Rams certainly have the ceiling of being one of the NFL's best teams, but have struggled badly in their last two games with inconsistent play from Stafford and now get a major test at Lambeau Field. Green Bay continues to be undervalued despite being so good against the spread, and should not be an underdog here at home given Los Angeles' recent struggles.
Los Angeles' offense was dominated during that two-game losing streak, as the lack of consistent running game plus the injury to Woods caused some problems, in addition to a few questionable decisions from Stafford while facing a lot of pressure. This game won't be any easier, as the Packers are fifth in the NFL with 5.2 yards per play allowed, and they will be able to get in Stafford's face with pass rush just like the Titans and 49ers before them.
The likely return of Jones is huge as Green Bay's running game struggled last season, and Rodgers turning in an MVP-like performance despite dealing with a toe injury is a scary proposition for the rest of the NFL given how well-rounded the Packers are elsewhere. Until the Rams prove they are back on track after a pair of woeful showings, the Packers are the pick at home.
Full-Game Total Pick
Even with all the star power on the offenses, both of these defenses have been among the most efficient in the NFL and won't make anything easy. The Rams are just behind Green Bay on the defensive leaderboard with 5.3 yards per play allowed, and Jalen Ramsey is one of the few corners in the NFL who has a hope of limiting Adams in the passing attack.
Injuries are going to make it hard for Green Bay's offense to be at its best here, as losing an excellent lineman in Jenkins is tough before a contest against the Rams' elite front, while Jones and Rodgers could also be a bit sore. With both defenses playing so well in general, this game will be on the lower-scoring side.