Packers vs. Rams: Basic History and the Outlook of Sunday's Game
When the 3-3 Green Bay Packers face the 3-3 St. Louis Rams on Sunday, it will be the 91st time the two teams have met. The Rams hold a 45-43-2 advantage over the Packers in the series, which has been going on since 1937.
The two teams have also met two times in the postseason, with each team getting a win on their way to a Super Bowl. More on that later.
The Rams were originally located in Cleveland, and remained there until 1946. While the Rams were in Cleveland, the Packers had a 12-3-1 advantage in the games the two teams played.
That changed once the Rams moved to Los Angeles. They took clear advantage of the series. The Rams held a 38-25-1 margin over the Packers while they were Hollywood's team.
Also, from 1950-1963, the Packers always ended their regular season on a west coast swing, where the Packers would finish the season playing the Rams in Los Angeles and the 49ers in San Francisco.
In addition to that, the Packers always played the Detroit Lions in Detroit on Thanksgiving in the same period.
In essence, the Packers sometimes finished their seasons on a three-game road trip. Plus, the Rams and Lions were usually two of the best teams in the NFL in the 1950s, with the Rams winning the NFL title in 1951, and the Lions winning the NFL championship in 1957.
Once can see why the 1950s were the low water mark for the Packers in their illustrious history, as Green Bay only had a 39-79-2 record in that decade. The only time the Packers had a record over .500 in the 1950s was in Vince Lombardi's first season, 1959 (7-5).
Back to the Rams now. The Rams once again moved to St. Louis in 1995. Since that time, the Packers and Rams have met ten times in the regular season, with the Packers holding a 6-4 advantage.
In terms of their postseason history, the most famous game ever played between the two teams was in the 1967 postseason, which would be Lombardi's last as head coach of the Pack.
The two teams had met in Los Angeles at the Memorial Coliseum late in the 1967 season, when the Rams blocked a punt late in the game and came back to beat Green Bay 27-24. The next week, the Rams beat the then undefeated Baltimore Colts and Johnny Unitas to win the NFL's Coastal Division, as it was called then, with an 11-1-2 record.
The Packers finished the 1967 season with a 9-4-1 record and easily won the NFL's Central Division. But the Packers lost their last two games of the regular season (including once to the Rams) going into the postseason, where they would take on the Rams (and the Fearsome Foursome) at County Stadium in Milwaukee eight days before the famous Ice Bowl
The Packers played their best game of the season that day, as they manhandled the Rams 28-7. Bart Starr was 17-of-23 passing the ball for 222 yards and one touchdown, while rookie running back Travis Williams, rushed for 88 yards and two touchdowns.
The defense of the Packers was magnificent, as quarterback Roman Gabriel of the Rams was sacked five times, including 3.5 sacks by defensive tackle Henry Jordan.
In the 2001 postseason however, the Rams (then in St. Louis) turned the tables on the Packers in the Divisional Playoff game. St. Louis took advantage of eight Green Bay turnovers, including six interceptions thrown by Brett Favre, as the Rams whipped the Packers 45-17.
In terms of the outlook of Sunday's game between the Packers and Rams in St. Louis, one needs to look at two key areas.
For one, quarterback Aaron Rodgers is coming off one of the finest performances of his career last week, where he threw six touchdown passes (tied a franchise record), without an interception, for 338 yards. Add to that, Rodgers has a very nice history against the Rams.
Rodgers is 2-0 vs. the Rams, and he has thrown five touchdown passes, compared to just one pick, for 585 yards. That's 122.7 quarterback rating folks. Expect another big day by Mr. Rodgers on Sunday, even though the Rams are ranked fifth in passing defense in the NFL.
The Rams are also ranked 26th in passing offense in the NFL and are now playing with a beat up offensive line that is missing some key regulars. That Rams have given up 18 sacks so far in 2012, and one can expect that total to get inflated with the Packers coming to town, as Green Bay leads the NFL with 21 sacks.
Overall the Rams are ranked 28th in total offense, plus quarterback Sam Bradford is missing his best weapon at wide receiver, as Danny Amendola is out with a separated clavicle. The Rams hope to be able to run the ball against the Packers. Otherwise it will be a very long day for Bradford.
Bottom line, expect the Packers to stay on a roll and win on the road for the second straight week. Also, a win would mean the Packers would be over .500 for the first time this season. Plus, the Packers would head to Green Bay for two straight home games (Jacksonville and Arizona) before the bye week in Week 10.
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