Rams at Packers betting preview: Will L.A.'s defense spark another win?
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Even a rash of quarterback injuries couldn't derail the Rams from upsetting the Seahawks on Wild Card Weekend. They'll face a much stiffer test against the Packers (-7, 45.5), who are the favorites to emerge from the NFC but could struggle to match up with Los Angeles.

Trends and results

Green Bay enters the contest with just three losses on the year and a six-game winning streak to close the regular season. Both teams ended the campaign on a 4-2 run against the spread, but the Packers are 6-2 ATS in their last eight playoff games and could benefit greatly from a first-round bye.

Teams coming off a first-round bye are 6-2 ATS over the last two postseasons, while touchdown favorites have covered five of their last seven games after a cold spell in the years before. Similarly, Aaron Rodgers is 11-6-1 ATS in the playoffs and 4-2 ATS when favored by more than a field goal.

The Rams are 4-2 ATS this year as underdogs but could be due for a letdown spot this week. Playoff teams coming off an outright win as a 'dog have gone 6-12-1 ATS since 2016, including 3-6-1 ATS in the last two postseasons. NFC West teams have particularly struggled in the playoffs, going 1-8-1 ATS since 2014 when catching points against non-divisional foes.


Rams defensive front vs. Packers offensive line

There are numerous compelling matchups and X-factors in this game: Davante Adams versus Jalen Ramsey; Cam Akers versus the Packers' suspect run defense; Los Angeles' revolving door at QB. Yet the one that will decide this game is the Rams' elite front against Green Bay's stout offensive line.

Since Rodgers took over as a starter in 2008, the Packers are 117-74-2 ATS (61.3%) when allowing four or fewer sacks, the best mark in the NFL. When they've allowed five or more? They're 6-26 ATS (18.8%), with those 26 losses ranking second among all teams.

The Rams sacked Russell Wilson five times last week and ranked second in sacks (53) during the regular season despite blitzing at a below-average rate (27.3%). Some of that is raw talent up front, but some is creative scheming by first-year defensive coordinator Brandon Staley, the mastermind behind the NFL's top defense in yards (281.9) and points (18.5).

Green Bay has one of the league's best O-lines, but it's struggled this year against creative pressure schemes - and that's only exacerbated by the loss of All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari, who suffered a season-ending injury two weeks ago. Do the Packers have an answer for Aaron Donald, Leonard Floyd, and the onslaught of pressure coming their way?

Best bet

Rams +7 (-120)

The trends love Green Bay. The quarterback matchup screams Green Bay. I still love the Rams, whom I think pose a matchup nightmare for the Packers in this one.

Los Angeles' front should give Rodgers fits, and his top target faces a stiff test against Ramsey. The Rams' rushing attack also faces a plus-matchup against Green Bay's inconsistent defense, which is magnified by what should be near-freezing conditions Saturday. It all adds up to a brutal spot for the Packers, who could easily lose this one outright.

(Odds source: theScore Bet)

C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.

Rams at Packers betting preview: Will L.A.'s defense spark another win?
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