Packers: Five players key to victory in divisional round vs. Rams

Green Bay Packers (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Green Bay Packers, Lucas Patrick
Green Bay Packers, Lucas Patrick (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

1. Lucas Patrick

The Rams bring a potent pass rush into the game. After floundering with the Bears and earning the bust label, Leonard Floyd found his game in Los Angeles and has put together a Pro Bowl-type season.

After getting five sacks against the Seahawks, the entire line needs to be on notice. That goes double for Lucas Patrick, the player likely to see Aaron Donald the most.

The expectation is that Donald will play, and will play at a high level. His injury is believed to be cartilage related and not broken ribs. While painful, it is something you can play through. I have no doubt Donald will take a numbing shot to help so he will be ready to go.

With an All-Pro and Pro Bowler on the interior — center Corey Linsley and left guard Elgton Jenkins — defensive coordinator Brandon Staley will try to exploit the former undrafted free agent.

There was some thought the Packers could play newly signed Jared Veldheer at left tackle, allowing Billy Turner to move back to guard to help contain Donald. But, that idea was lost when Veldheer was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Now it looks like the Packers will have to use the same starting five they started with against the Bears.

That’s not a bad thing. That starting five played as well as they could have, giving up only one sack against the likes of Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks.

In fact, Patrick has played as well, if not better than can be expected. But this matchup will be an entirely different beast. Donald is likely to win his third Defensive Player of the Year award and is the one guy who can absolutely wreck the Packers’ game plan.

If the Packers can keep Donald out of the backfield, in the run and pass game, they will have a great shot of beating the Rams.