Preview & Predictions: at Rams – 2018 Week 8

Oh boy, here we go.

It’s the Rams.

Oh dear, the Rams!

How could we ever compete against St. Louis?

They haven’t lost a game!

They beat the Seahawks by 2 and the Broncos 3, oh my word, they’re unstoppable!

I can’t believe how many fans are already writing this off as a loss. Seriously it like they’ve never heard of an upset. This is not an unwinnable game for many reasons.

Mike McCarthy
I don’t care how much everybody hates him, Mike McCarthy has a great track record of coming hot out of the bye. He takes his time to gameplan and assess the season to date and usually comes out with a team looking hot (the week of rest doesn’t hurt, either). Going on the road against an undefeated team is just the kind of situation the McCarthy Packers have thrived under. The real question is if McCarthy will try to slow the game down using his running backs or use his QB (with healthy weapons) to try to keep up in a shootout. What will work? What won’t? I’m not sure, but I plan on Big Mike having the boys ready to rumble.

Aaron Rodgers
The brace will probably still be on, but having a week of rest must have done some good, especially since our favorite appeared to be getting better each week. He’ll face plenty of pressure, but should have his familiar targets back in Cobb and Geronimo. In a dome, that should be a recipe for points, even against good corners and a strong pass rush. Russell Wilson and Case Keenum combined for 5 TDs and 1 Int against the Rams in weeks 5 and 6, so it’s not like they’re impregnable.

Question of the Week
With everyone back healthy:

Who will lead the Packers in receiving yards against the Rams?

Enter your bet on our Twitter thread.

The Other Aaron
Fans (including me) love Aaron Jones. We all know he can be a game-breaker, but I favor limiting his carries to around a dozen because I think 20 carries a game would be a 100% chance of an injury. He’s shown he can be effective with limited carries, so let’s go with it. This week, however, will be a huge test. I want to see what he does trying to pick through creases between Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh. Whatever the outcome, I bet it’s gonna be entertaining. However, we don’t necessarily need to run a lot to win.

Pettine’s Plan
Mike Pettine has a heck of an assignment this week, but he’s had extra time to study. Given his propensity for making great adjustments at halftime when he has time to re-plan his approach, I expect some great midseason adjustments now that he’s had a week to re-plan his scheme with more familiarity with the players. I expect unscouted looks, exotic blitzes, and maybe even a Josh Jones sighting now that he’s had some time to think about how to use him. It won’t all work, but it should be fun to watch.

Predictions

MVS only gets a couple catches, but averages over 15 yards
The Packers bust out a jet sweep for the first time all year
Rodgers will gravitate to his familiar WRs, leaving MVS and EQ largely on the bench

Clay Matthews gets some pressure running the edge off a fast track
Jaire Alexander makes a rookie mistake
Todd Gurley will bang hard – he won’t be breaking huge runs all day, but he will be physical through the box

Mason Crosby doesn’t let the Rams return a single kickoff (or at least not from less than 5 yards deep)

Packers 31 – Rams 39

I expect this to be a lot of fun. I don’t expect to win – the Packers may even look boat-raced for an early stretch – but they’ll be close enough to keep us watching. Fans will act like it’s end of times when we lose, but it’s not.

It’s a long season guys and losing to the top team in the league, on the road, when everyone else in the division also has to play them, isn’t going to end our season in October.

 

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