Green Bay Packers

The Packers Defense Can’t Overlook the Rams' Offensive Weapons

Photo Credit: Joe Nicholson (USA TODAY Sports)

The Los Angeles Rams’ top wide receiver, Cooper Kupp, left the wild-card game against the Seattle Seahawks last weekend with a non-contact leg injury, but his knee injury wasn’t as serious as most people thought. He isn’t really participating in practice this week, but most reporters expect him to play on Saturday against the Green Bay Packers.

And even though he won’t be 100% and corner Jaire Alexander should have no problem covering him, the Packers defense needs to remember that even though their quarterback situation is uncertain, the Rams have some other impressive offensive weapons.

Robert Woods

Woods finished the regular season with 90 receptions, 936 yards, and six touchdowns. That ties his career-best for touchdowns and third-best in total yards since entering the league in 2013. He also had 24 rushing attempts for 155 yards and two touchdowns. Woods signed a four-year, $65 million extension this past September. $32 million of it is guaranteed, and he has a chance to make another $3 million with incentives.

The Rams actually locked up both of their top receivers at the beginning of the season. Cooper Kupp also signed a three-year, $48 million extension. Kupp, Woods and cornerback Jalen Ramsey all signed big deals with Los Angeles over a two week period at the beginning of the season.

NFL and football fans probably know his name, but he still is an extremely underrated wide receiver. Coming into the 2020 season, he was a top-15 receiver in receptions, yards after the catch, and receiving yards. He earned his new contract. Not to mention Woods came off a 1,000-yard receiving season in 2018 and 2019 and led all wide receivers with 577 yards after the catch. Woods ended fourth this season in yards after the catch with 509. Second place was Cooper Kupp with 533, and Davante Adams was first with 584. Saturday is going to be fun.

Woods averaged a little over five and a half catches per game in 2020. It’s possible he could have another double-digit receiving day against Green Bay, especially with Kupp not at 100%. On Nov. 23rd, Roberts had 12 catches for 130 years and a score. Two weeks later, on Dec. 6th, he had 10 catches for 85 yards.

In the Wild Card game, Woods had four receptions for 48 yards and a touchdown. It was below his average, but the Rams’ running game did most of the damage. Woods had a spectacular catch and Instagram post after the game too:

Depending on where Jaire lines up this Saturday, the rest of the Packers secondary better be covering Woods closely. Playing zone on him will only spell disaster. Let’s also remember not to keep him wide open for a touchdown as the Seahawks did.

Tyler Higbee & Gerald Everett

I have a sneaking suspicion that Higbee and Everett will be heavily involved in the gameplan this weekend. Their stats don’t exactly scream Pro Bowl, but both have had solid seasons.

Higbee closed out the regular season with 44 receptions, 521 yards and five touchdowns. He averaged almost 12 yards a catch and about three catches a game.

Everett didn’t see the end zone as much as Higbee, he only had one touchdown on the year, but he ended with 41 receptions and 417 yards. Could it be because he is three inches shorter than Higbee? Maybe, but probably not. If you want to compare, Marcedes Lewis had 10 receptions, 107 yards and three touchdowns as the No. 2 tight end for the Packers.

Those numbers probably don’t scare anyone going into a playoff game, but their Wild Card stats are what has me thinking they will have a few catches each and maybe a score or two — Higbee only had one catch for four yards against Seattle. Everett has less than that, 0-for-0. There is no way they won’t get more targets against Green Bay. The middle of the field and short-yardage plays seem to be Green Bay’s weakness, especially on later downs. I wouldn’t be surprised if Higbee/Everett get more catches than Kupp.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, Green Bay is also having these thoughts and will be prepared. Their secondary is talented, and they have some of the best safeties playing the game right now. But the Rams can’t be underestimated. If Green Bay can’t apply enough pressure on Jared Goff or stop Cam Akers and the run, players like Woods, Higbee and Everett will be able to open up and make some huge plays against the Packers.

Quiet days for these three players should lead to a Packers victory and a trip to a second straight NFC Championship game. But this time it will be at Lambeau Field.

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