Here are three key X-Factors for the Green Bay Packers in their NFC Divisional matchup with the Los Angeles Rams.
It is strength versus strength as the Green Bay Packers’ top-scoring offense takes on the Los Angeles Rams’ top-scoring defense in the NFC Divisional Round of the playoffs.
And while matchups like Jalen Ramsey verse Davante Adams and Aaron Donald verse Corey Linsley are going to dominate the headlines, just like every other week, Green Bay is going to need those non-star players to step up. These players are your X-Factors.
In order to win a Super Bowl or even a playoff game, it takes all 53 players, and these three players, in particular, can really leave their mark on Saturday’s game and move the Packers one step closer to their ultimate goal.
Green Bay Packers X-Factors: Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling
Jalen Ramsey isn’t one to shy away from following the opponent’s top receiver. In fact, according to NFL Next Gen Stats, he shadowed DK Metcalf in the Wildcard Round on 69 percent of his routes.
The Green Bay Packers should expect much of the same with Davante Adams, and while Adams will find some success — he’s just that good — Aaron Rodgers will have to look elsewhere if they plan to move the ball consistently through the air. That means both Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling are going to play very important roles.
Since returning from his core injury, Lazard has been relatively quiet, totaling over 23 yards in only two of the Packers’ final seven games and averaging just 9.8 yards per catch over that span. However, he has still been efficient, hauling in 69 percent of his targets. That reliability is going to be crucial, as is his ability to pick up first downs and keep the chains moving.
When it comes to Valdes-Scantling, he very well may have to make his impact on the short and intermediate routes — something that he’s done much better this season — because the Rams’ have given up the fewest explosive plays in the NFL this season. I’m sure Rodgers will still take a shot or two downfield, but for Valdes-Scantling to leave his mark, he will likely have to do it by picking up yards after the catch on those crossers and throws to the flat.