Green Bay Packers: 5 Key Questions Heading into Divisional Round

Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images /
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Green Bay Packers
Dec 20, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) throws the ball in the first quarter against the New York Jets at SoFi Stadium. The Jets defeated the Rams 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

How will Jared Goff handle the cold?

Jared Goff doesn’t have a ton of experience at the NFL level in the cold — only two games — but he has struggled, completing just 34 of 72 passes for 381 yards with no touchdowns and five interceptions. On top of that, he’s still not that far removed from thumb surgery.

Add it all together, and it’s fair to wonder how effective Goff and this Rams’ passing game can be this weekend.

This is a game where I hope to see more aggressiveness from Mike Pettine. I’ll get to it in more detail here shortly, but the Rams are going to try to run the ball, so Green Bay needs to limit their success on the ground, take away as many of the easy throws as they can, and force Goff to beat them downfield.

The Green Bay Packers’ secondary has been playing at an extremely high-level with the play of Jaire Alexander, Adrian Amos, and Darnell Savage, so let’s see if Goff can make those difficult throws in the cold.

Can the Green Bay Packers’ run defense find more success?

For all the grief that the Green Bay run defense gets, they’ve been playing pretty well for the last six weeks or so. They were able to contain Carolina’s Mike Davis and Tennessee’s Derrick Henry, and they held the Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Detroit, and Chicago running backs all under four yards per carry.

This week, the Packers should be prepared for a heavy dose of Cam Akers. In Akers’ last five games, he’s had at least 20 rushes in four of them, including two games where he totaled 28 and 29 carries. Even if Akers isn’t finding much success, head coach Sean McVay will continue to stick to the ground game, as evidenced by Akers’ 21 carry game against Arizona, where he averaged only 1.62 yards per rush.

Last week, with John Wolford getting the start and Goff still recovering from thumb surgery, this Rams’ offense was built around Akers, and he responded by putting up 176 all-purpose yards. Green Bay should expect much of the same this week.

As I mentioned above, the Packers need to stop the run, put the ball in Goff’s hands, and make him beat this defense.