Sunday, October 28, 2018

2018 NFL Week 8: Packers at Rams Preview & Prediction

How are we feeling today, Packers fans? Yeah, me, too. We know the Pack can play better than we've seen through their first six games, sitting at a middling 3-2-1 and coming off their bye week. They have yet to really play a complete game on either side of the ball.

Will they have been able to get healed up a bit during the bye? And will head coach Mike McCarthy's seeming magic coming out of the bye week, where he has gone 9-3 during his tenure, play out today agains the 7-0 LA Rams? How will the team handle not only what may well be the best team in the league at this moment, but start off a five-game gauntlet that could well determine the team's season?

Lots of questions. Answers -- at least a few -- will be revealed just a few hours from now.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers give WR Randall Cobb
a big hug after a TD reception.
(Photo: Rick Wood/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
As for our guess...the Packers have their work cut out for them today. A-duh, right? But if they wish to make a statement, this would be a good time to do so. In the Pack's favor, QB Aaron Rodgers has had an extra week to rest up his ailing left knee. That helps. It also helps that both veteran wide receivers, Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison, are ready to go this week, while Rodgers had time over the last few games during their absence to become more comfortable with a couple of the rookie wideouts; in short, a bigger talent pool to rely on in the passing game than he started the season with. The Packers will also get back CB Jaire Alexander to give some much needed help in the secondary.

Questions, of course, surround the running game. Not questions about the talent there, but rather about why RB Aaron Jones isn't given the ball more and why the running game in general isn't being used to take some of the pressure off the passing game. In today's contest, it might be best to consider approaching the game plan as most teams do against the Packers: the best defense is to keep the opposing team's offense off the field as best you can. Because, to borrow a phrase, that LA offense will mess you up!

The Packers defense has been a squad of two halves so far this season: ranking near the bottom of the rankings for first half performance and nearer the top in the second half. The defense needs to play well in both halves today for the Pack to have a chance in this game. If it gets out of hand early, some of those last minute comebacks we've seen might not be quite as possible today.

The Prediction

We could do further breakdowns, but really this game is going to come down to whether the Pack is able to play a complete game for the first time this season. If so, the game could turn into a shootout and, if so, the Packers may not only beat the 10-point underdog spread, but may also come out with an upset win. If the Packers, on the other hand, continue to play the way they have before the bye ... say bye-bye to this game.

Still, we think despite all the offensive firepower of the Rams, the Packers have some of their own in that regard. We think the defense will step up. Yes, Green 'n' Gold-colored glasses, perhaps. But what can we say?

We're calling it Packers 37 - Rams 34.

Go Pack Go!!!