Rams Vs Packers: Puka Nacua Holds The Key To Victory In Week 9

The Los Angeles Rams are still smarting after suffering a defeat at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys last week. However, the NFL is a “next week” league and their next opponent is ready to battle. The Green Bay Packers will be hosting the Rams and while things are not going great for Jordan Love in his de facto debut season, the Rams cannot write them off.

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NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles Rams
Rams vs Packers: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Rams vs Packers Keys To Victory

At this point, Matthew Stafford is objectively a prerequisite to victory because if he doesn’t play, the team’s chances shrink exponentially. However, if he does play, the player under the biggest spotlight becomes Puka Nacua. Right now, the team’s running game has proven to be useful in spots, but not quite at a level to build a gameplan around.

Darrell Henderson and Royce Freeman appear to be splitting the backfield duties in two, so one player likely doesn’t have much more effect on the game than the other. In passing situations, Henderson has gotten the looks whereas in orthodox running situations, Freeman has largely gotten the nod.

Both players are important, but the true area of importance in Rams vs Packers will be at wide receiver. Cooper Kupp will be taking on Jaire Alexander and likely another defender at the same time on most downs. As such, Puka Nacua should get plenty of targets from Stafford or Brett Rypien. If he can catch those and help out the quarterback, the Rams will be just fine this week. However, if there’s a repeat of last week where he earned just 43 yards, most of the game will be spent with Sean McVay turning his playbook in knots trying to find another weakness in the defense.

How do the Rams Win in Week 9?

Packers quarterback Jordan Love has proven thus far that he can’t win games with his arm. If the Rams can get even ten points up via Nacua receptions, Henderson and Freeman can take the game the distance. However, if Nacua struggles to get open and the game remains close, it will allow Packers running backs Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon to groove, which could prove detrimental to the offense. If the Packers get a lead and can then lean on their two easiest players to use, Stafford might be in for another rough day, assuming he plays.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles Rams
Rams vs Packers: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports