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
LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 28: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers throws a pass during the game against the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Can the IOL hold up against Aaron Donald?

This Green Bay Packers’ offensive line unit has been the best in the NFL this season, but slowing Aaron Donald is a whole new challenge. Donald is a one-man wrecking crew who will single-handedly destroy your game plan. This season he totaled a ridiculous 104 pressures along with 13.5 sacks. And as a unit led by Donald, the Rams are allowing only 3.9 yards per carry, the fourth-fewest in the NFL.

Not often, but on two occasions this season, we’ve seen what happens to this Green Bay Packers’ offense when Aaron Rodgers is under constant pressure, and if you’ve forgotten, it’s not good. This is a week where the quick passing game can help negate Donald’s impact, and even if it’s tough sledding at times, Matt LaFleur cannot totally abandon the run game like he did in the second half against Carolina. If this Rams’ defensive front is able to pin their ears back, watch out.

This really could be the deciding matchup of this game. If Donald is able to wreak havoc, it could be a long day for the Green Bay offense. However, if the Packers’ offensive line can keep him in check — which is certainly a tall task — then it’ll make moving the ball much easier.

Can the Green Bay Packers’ passing game win downfield?

With Aaron Rodgers under center, this is going to be an offense that likes to take some shots downfield. And the Green Bay Packers have been very good at converting those attempts this season. According to Sharp Football, the Packers’ 57 explosive pass plays — which are plays of 20 or more yards — are the 11th most in the NFL and their explosive pass rate of 10 percent ranks fourth.

The Rams, however, are the best defense in the NFL at limiting those big pass plays. Defensive Coordinator Brandon Staley has a similar philosophy to Mike Pettine in that he wants to take away the explosive pass play, and they’ve been excellent at doing just that. This season, Los Angeles has given up only 39 explosive pass plays, the fewest in football, and their explosive pass play rate of six percent is the second-lowest.

Next. 3 X-Factors vs the Rams. dark

With Staley’s M.O. being take away the big play, perhaps more so than winning one-on-one matchups, it’s going to take some creative play designs from Matt LaFleur to get his receivers open downfield. And once again, whichever unit is able to win this matchup will better position their team to come away with the victory.