Los Angeles Rams (7-3) at Green Bay Packers (8-3)
The Packers’ lost to the Vikings last week, their second loss of the season with Aaron Rodgers under center and their third loss overall, dropping them to 8-3, after a 7-1 start. The Packers have bigger concerns though. Even when they were winning games, they weren’t doing so in impressive fashion. Just three of their wins came by more than 10 points and those came in games in which they were down at halftime at home to the winless Lions, outgained at home on a per play basis by Washington, and facing an underwhelming Seahawks team that was starting a much less than 100% Russell Wilson.
The Packers did go into Arizona and win, but they were very reliant on the turnover margin in that game, losing the first down rate battle by 5.93%, but winning by a field goal in a game in which they won the turnover battle by three. One of those turnovers was a late interception to seal the game when the Cardinals were in range to at least send the game to overtime, if not win outright. The Packers scored off the Cardinals’ other two takeaways too, so if any one of those turnovers doesn’t happen, the Packers could have easily lost. Given how inconsistent turnover margins are on a week-to-week basis, the Packers can’t count on that again and, given that the Cardinals outperformed the Packers in other key metrics, the Cardinals would likely win a rematch more often than not, so even that was not a dominant win.
On top of that, the Packers injury situation seems to get worse by the week. Already without left tackle David Bakhtiari, edge defender Za’Darius Smith, and cornerback Jaire Alexander, three of the best players in the league at their respective positions, who have missed all of most of the season, the Packers will now be without Kevin King, their best cornerback in Alexander’s absence, even if only by default, and Elgton Jenkins, a talented offensive lineman who has been by far their best offensive lineman in Bakhtiari’s absence.
The Packers could get back Rashan Gary, their best edge defender in Smith’s absence, and top running back Aaron Jones, who both missed last week and seem likely to return this week, but even that isn’t a guarantee and, even if both played, their return would be offset by the loss of Jenkins and King. That doesn’t even include the injury that Aaron Rodgers is playing through, which is costing him valuable practice time and likely limiting him in games as well.
The Rams have a similar record to the Packers, but have been a much better team. They lost their last two games before the bye week, both by multiple scores, but in one game they threw multiple pick sixes, which won’t happen every week, and in the other they played a very underrated 49ers team. The Rams should also get a lot more out of mid-season acquisitions Odell Beckham and Von Miller this week, after both played sparingly across the two games before the bye. If both play close to a full set of snaps, the Rams are simply a much more talented team than the very banged up Packers right now.
This line favors the Rams by 2 points in Green Bay, but given the talent disparity between those two teams, my calculated line favors the Rams by 5. I am hesitant to bet heavily against the Packers because of how good Aaron Rodgers has been in his career at home and off of a loss, going 48-22 ATS in home games that he has started and finished and that had live crowds and going 41-21 ATS in the week following a loss, but the Rams are also coming off of a loss and a bye week as well, so they should bring their best effort this week and still worth a small play because of the value we are getting with them in a game in which they basically just need to win to cover.
Los Angeles Rams 31 Green Bay Packers 27
Pick against the spread: LA Rams -2