The Green Bay Packers have an opponent for the Divisional Round of the 2020 NFL Playoffs. The Los Angeles Rams pulled of a road upset of the Seattle 30-20 over Super Wild Card Weekend, and will travel to Green Bay as the lowest remaining seed in the NFC Playoffs.
Having secured the NFC’s top seed, the Packers watched Wild Card weekend at home. This week off gives the Packers an opportunity to get healthy prior to their potential playoff run. Only Kingsley Keke (concussion) did not practice in any capacity for the Packers on Monday. The Packers did have a few key players limited in practice however. Kevin King, Allen Lazard, Za’Darius Smith, and Rick Wagner practiced in a limited capacity, in addition to a few other non starters. Thus far there has been no indication of concern that any of the limited participants will not be able to go on Saturday.
The Packers are 6.5-point favorites on Saturday, according to the odds page at Sports Betting Dime. The Game’s spread opened at -7 in favor of Green Bay, so it is entirely possible that the Rams have since received a slight bump in odds because of the good news they received regarding injuries to a few key players, although this slight change could be attributed to many different things.
Aaron Donald is simply one of the best defensive players in the NFL, and he has been for a very long time. Given that fact, Rams fans were right to be concerned about the former Defensive Player of the Year when he left the game versus the Seahawks and did not return. On Monday, news broke that Aaron Donald suffered a torn rib cartilage. This is a very painful injury. Donald’s own teammate Cam Akers missed a pair of games with the same injury earlier this season.
Fortunately for the Rams, Donald is expected to play through this injury. He went as far as saying that he had “no pain” and “I feel good, I feel strong, and I’ll be ready come Saturday”. Donald dialed it back a little after being asked about the specifics of the injury saying “My damn side is sore. I’m good.”
Missing out on having to block Aaron Donald would have been a big break for the Packers on offense. The interior of the Packers offensive line is a bit shuffled around with the recent injury to David Bakhtiari, but the strength of the Packers line lies with Pro Bowl guard Elgton Jenkins and All-Pro center Corey Lindsley.
It was initially reported that Kupp had suffered a “non contact” knee injury against the Seahawks in the fourth quarter. He would not return to the game. Non contact knee injuries are often feared to be the worst, such as an ACL tear. The Rams really lucked out on this one. Not only did Kupp not have a non contact knee injury, he also was diagnosed with a knee contusion or bursitis. The Rams will likely have their slot receiver back for the game versus Green Bay, although he will almost certainly have to play through some pain and discomfort, especially in the freezing cold weather.
Jared Goff fractured his throwing thumb a few weeks ago. Goff was initially the emergency quarterback for the Rams last weekend, but he had to step in for John Wolford early in the game. Goff finished the game 9 for 19 in passing with 155 yards and a touchdown. The Rams leaned on Cam Akers 131 rushing yards instead of relying on tAhe injured Goff. It was very apparent that Goff was having a difficult time throwing with the injury, and that is only going to be more difficult outside at Lambeau Field. Sean McVay would not commit to Goff as the starter against the Packers when asked about the situation. Goff reportedly felt that he should have been the starter versus the Seahawks, and was not happy about being benched.
After being taken to the hospital with a neck injury, backup quarterback John Wolford is believed to be in good condition. Wolford escapes serious injury after a hit to the head from Jamal Adams, suffering just a stinger. He is reportedly in the mix with Jared Goff to start against the Packers.
The situation at quarterback is more worth monitoring than the situations with Donald and Kupp. The Rams can only go with one starting quarterback, and their decision will play large in the outcome of this game. Sean McVay will likely keep any information regarding the decision private so that Mike Pettine will have to prepare for Goff and the more mobile John Wolford.