Pregame thoughts, as the Los Angeles Rams pursue the second 8-0 start in franchise history against Green Bay. I can't recall another game that pits as many strength versus strength, as well as strengths versus weaknesses. Here are a few examples to watch:
1) JoJo Natson and Cory Littleton make LA lethal on punt return. However, the Packers have a rookie punter J.K. Scott who leads the NFL in hang time and might be able to negate their impact.
2) The league's top rushing attack and MVP candidate Todd Gurley face one of the worst run defenses on their schedule (GB 29th vs Run). The Rams offensive line should be able to lean on the Packers.
3) Green Bay rebuilt their secondary and changed defensive coordinators this offseason. Now, they're playing more man coverage than any team in the NFC. Guess what? McVay and Jared Goff destroy man coverage, ranking #2 in the NFL in passer rating against it. This would've been a great game for Cooper Kupp, as rookie corner Josh Jackson has been surrendering 1.7 yards per coverage snap in the slot... not good. Still, the combination of Cooks, Woods, Reynolds, Williams, and the tight ends should feast.
4) Aaron Rodgers will take his sacks. He hates giving up on plays until he absolutely has to. He averages 2.8 seconds in the pocket, which ranks among the NFL leaders. Meantime, the Rams generate pressure better than any team on the planet.
5) The Packers might have the best OL the Rams have faced this season. They're terrific at tackle and center. They're average at best at guard. That could favor a pass rush for LA that is led from the interior with Suh and Donald.
6) The Rams are so balanced, it's frightening. The Packers are so pass-heavy, it's equally intimidating. Green Bay's pass-play percentage has never been higher in the Aaron Rodgers era. And yet, he's only thrown one interception in 254 attempts. The LA defense is coming off its most dynamic performance of 2018, creating 4 takeaways (along with 7 sacks) at SF. Five Rams have picks this season. But Aaron Rodgers is no C.J. Beathard. Marcus Peters needs to have a great day. Troy Hill and Sam Shields, ditto. Nickell Robey-Coleman will be on the field a lot after barely playing versus fullback and tight end-driven SF.
7) The best 4Q defense in the NFL -- Rams have allowed just 16 points all season -- against perhaps the best 4Q quarterback of all time. Can't help but feel that this one is going down to the wire. I think Greg Zuerlein will have a kick to win it.