The Green Bay Packers (3-3) take on the Rams (3-3) at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis on October 21st. It will be the 93rd meeting between the two teams dating back to 1937. The Packers trail the all time series 44-46-2. Green Bay has won the last three meetings, including last season's 24-3 victory at Lambeau Field on October 16th.
After opening the 2012 season with a lackluster 2-2 record, the Packers hit bottom on October 7th when they infamously blew an 18 point lead and lost at Indianapolis 30-27. It looked to me like the 2012 season was turning into a bust, but the humiliation in Indy appeared to wake up the lethargic Packers. They went to Houston and soundly defeated the Texans 42-24 on October 14th, and looked good both offensively and defensively. The task now is to keep up the momentum in St. Louis and win back to back games for the first time this season.
St. Louis has struggled on offense this year, averaging 18.3 points per game (26th in the league) and 308.7 yards per game (28th). However, while the Rams scored only 14 points in their loss at Miami October 14th, they did have 462 total yards and the Green Bay defense has some injuries to key players. The Packers were without tackle B.J Raji against the Texans, but I was impressed with how the rest of the line stepped up and held Arian Foster to just 29 yards. They'll have to do that again, this time against perennial 1000 yard rusher Steven Jackson, as Raji's ankle injury will keep him out of action again.
The Packers also are missing starting linebackers D.J. Smith (out for the season) and rookie Nick Perry, but veterans Erik Walden and Brad Jones should be adequate replacements. Cornerback Sam Shields is out as well, but rookie Casey Hayward has been very impressive with three interceptions and has earned the opportunity to start. The Packers' secondary will not have to deal with Danny Amendola, as the Rams' leading receiver is out with a shoulder injury.
While the Rams' offense has had trouble putting points on the board, the Packers will be facing a very good St. Louis defense. The Rams have allowed 18.5 points per game, fifth best in the NFL. They've allowed an average of 207.8 passing yards per game, also fifth best in the league. They'll have their hands full if Aaron Rodgers continues to play the way he did against the Texans. The Packers' quarterback played like a man on a mission, throwing a career high six touchdown passes. James Jones and Jordy Nelson had five of the TD receptions, and Jones leads the league with seven touchdown catches. Add Randall Cobb and tight end Jermichael Finley (when he actually catches the ball and doesn't drop it) into the mix and the Packers will challenge the Rams' secondary even without Greg Jennings, who again will be out with that nagging groin injury.
Running back Alex Green is showing that that he's fully recovered from last season's ACL injury and opposing defenses will still have to respect the run even with Cedric Benson out. James Starks is also back, but Green has earned the opportunity to start.
It's always tough to win on the road in the NFL, and St. Louis is 3-0 at home this season. If the real Packers finally appeared in the Houston game, they should be able to win this one.
Mark Hudziak is a Featured Contributor in Sports for the Yahoo! Contributor Network and a lifelong fan of the Green Bay Packers.
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