Aaron Donald is expected to play versus the Packers.
The Green Bay Packers‘ league-best scoring offense will face their toughest challenge of the season in Saturday’s divisional round game against the Los Angeles Rams.
The Rams’ top-ranked scoring defense will provide plenty of problems for Matt LaFleur’s offense.
Aaron Donald is a major reason why.
Donald, a first-team All-Pro for the past six seasons and twice the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, is expected to play despite suffering a ribs injury in last week’s wild-card win over the Seattle Seahawks.
Rams head coach Sean McVay sounded confident about Donald’s status when asked whether the star defensive tackle would play.
Donald is a future Hall-of-Famer and is having another incredible season. He recorded 13.5 sacks and 27 quarterback hits in the regular season, while also forcing four fumbles.
This matchup will be a huge test for the Packers’ offensive line, which has been the league’s best for most of the season. Green Bay leads the league in both ESPN’s pass block win rate and run block win rate metrics for 2020. Although it’s worth noting that David Bakhtiari was a big reason for the team’s success and he’s now out for the rest of the season.
Still, the interior of the offensive line has been outstanding all year with first-team All-Pro center Corey Linsley and Pro Bowl guard Elgton Jenkins. The two of them will see a lot of Donald in this game and the Packers will likely double-team Donald regularly. This is a matchup the Packers need to win up front, or hold their own at the very least.
In Donald’s most recent matchup against the Packers, back in 2018, he made two sacks, four quarterback hits, and two tackles for loss. Green Bay can’t allow Donald to find similar success this weekend.
How Donald’s injury impacts him remains to be seen. It’s likely he won’t be at 100 percent. But Aaron Donald at 20 percent of his best would still make him one of the top defensive players in the league.
The Packers should expect Donald to be at his All-Pro best, and they’ll need a good plan to slow him down.