When Rams have the ball
Brett Rypien is expected to start at quarterback in place of Matthew Stafford, who suffered a right thumb sprain during a 43-20 defeat to the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday. Coach Sean McVay said the Rams would wait until game time to make a decision about Stafford’s status, but the 15th-year pro did not practice this week and McVay would not confirm whether he could even grip a football. Rypien replaced Stafford against the Cowboys and completed five of 10 passes for 42 yards. The Rams also could be without right tackle Rob Havenstein for the second consecutive game because of a calf injury. Joe Noteboom is expected to start in his place. Receiver Cooper Kupp will be key, but the 2021 NFL offensive player of the year has been in a minislump the last two games. Rookie Puka Nacua and Tutu Atwell are other targets. With running back Kyren Williams still on injured reserve because of an ankle injury, Darrell Henderson probably will start for the third game in a row. Linebackers Rashan Gary and Preston Smith and nose tackle Kenny Clark lead a Packers defense coordinated by former Rams assistant Joe Barry. The Packers traded cornerback/Rams nemesis Rasul Douglas to the Buffalo Biills but they still have cornerback Jaire Alexander.
When Packers have the ball
The Rams are relieved they no longer have to face future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who is now employed by the New York Jets. Third-year pro Jordan Love has passed for 11 touchdowns, with eight interceptions. He also has rushed for two touchdowns. Running back AJ Dillion is the leading rusher, but the Rams are well aware of Aaron Jones, who was sidelined three games early in the season because of a hamstring injury. Receiver Romeo Doubs has five touchdown catches, Jayden Reed three. Tight end Luke Musgrave also is a top target. Rams linebacker Ernest Jones is out because of a knee injury, so safety Jordan Fuller will be the signal-caller for the defense. Christian Rozeboom, Troy Reeder and Jake Hummel will rotate at the inside linebacker spot. Star defensive lineman Aaron Donald had two sacks against the Cowboys and edge rusher Michael Hoecht recorded his third sack in two games. The Rams gave up four touchdown passes against the Cowboys, so defensive coordinator Raheem Morris could shuffle the secondary. Cobi Durant, who has played mainly as an inside cornerback, could move to the outside in place of Derion Kendrick. Safety Quentin Lake also is expected to get more opportunities.
When they kick
Rams kicker Lucas Havrisik had a successful NFL debut against the Cowboys, kicking field goals from 33 and 47 yards. Rams punter Ethan Evans has been nursing an ankle sprain suffered against the Cowboys. Packers kicker Anders Carlson has made nine of 10 field-goal attempts.
By the numbers
Gary Klein's prediction
Under McVay, the Rams have not defeated the Packers at Lambeau Field. Without Stafford, they are not likely to end that futility against a Packers team desperate for a victory. PACKERS 24, RAMS 20
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.