Green Bay Packers will experience a franchise first against the St. Louis Rams

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For the first time in franchise history, the Green Bay Packers will play their third consecutive game in a dome. After road games with the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans, the St. Louis Rams are the next team to welcome Green Bay into their house.

The Rams (3-3) are an up-and-coming team with a stingy defense. All three of their wins have come at home, but they haven’t faced the Packers (3-3) Aaron Rodgers who’s the all-time leader with a 115.9 passer rating in domes (minimum 200 passes).

St. Louis Rams (3-3) Analysis: With Head Coach Jeff Fisher, the Rams are one of the most improved teams in the league. They were absolutely horrible in every facet of the game in 2011, but how quickly things have changed. St. Louis is part of the all-defensive division (a.k.a NFC West) where all four teams have top-five defenses. The Rams rank fifth in the league in scoring defense while allowing just 18.5 points per game. They’re good against the pass (have given up only four TD passes) and the run (held Miami to 1.1 yards per attempt rushing). Of course, it could be argued they haven’t seen an offense near as good as what Green Bay has.

On the other side of the ball, a young Rams team has improved with each game played. Without injured wideout Danny Amendola, St. Louis out-gained the Dolphins 462-to-192. How they lost 17-14 after posting a season-high in yardage still baffles me. Nonetheless, Sam Bradford is rounding into shape and is getting more comfortable with his wide-receivers Brandon Gibson and Chris Givens. Running back Steven Jackson has always been a staple of this team, but I get the feeling he’s running out of the gas and they would like to phase him out for rookie Daryl Richardson.

Green Bay Packers (3-3) Analysis: After failing to find their identity out of the gates, the Packers plethora of weapons are starting to shine.  Filling in for Greg Jennings (groin) as the lead wideout has been Jordy Nelson and James Jones. Nelson caught three touchdowns in a 42-24 win over Houston and Jones has caught two touchdown passes in each of the last three games. Coach Mike McCarthy also feels he’s found his starting running back with Alex Green. And oh yeah, Aaron Rodgers is being Aaron Rodgers.

Linebacker could become a problem for Green Bay as they are now very thin at the position. It was announced this week that D.J. Smith‘s knee injury will cause him to miss the rest of the season. Smith was already filling in for Desmond Bishop who’s also out for the season. Brad Jones will be the first in line to take the job if he plays well. Cornerback Sam Shields and linebacker Nick Perry are also nursing injuries they sustained against Houston. For a defense that needs to find a core group of players and create chemistry, it’s not looking too good. With the defense being a wild-card, it’s that much more important that the offense succeeds.

Prediction: Green Bay Packers 27 St. Louis Rams 20

With the way the Packers played against Houston, there’s no way you can justify picking the Rams in this game. The Rams have been fantastic at home and have played the fifth toughest schedule thus far this season (opponent’s winning percentage is .588), but the Packers have been tested even more with the fourth toughest schedule (.606). After this game, it can be said that the Packers have played four of the top five defenses (Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle and St. Louis). There’s your reason for the Green Bay offense not looking up to speed with their 2011 standards.

TV Coverage: FOX 12:00 PM CT with Sam Rosen (play-by-play), Brian Billick (color) and Laura Okmin on the sidelines.

Betting Lines: Packers favored by 5.5 with over/under set at 45.5 points.

2012 Record straight up: 2-4

2012 Record against the spread: 1-5

2012 Record in over/under: 5-1

What are you most looking forward in the Packers and Rams game? Let me know by commenting below.

Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers. He also enjoys to share Fantasy Advice and pretend to be a Golf expert from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best. If social media is not your thing, shoot him an email at grays@uwalumni.com.

Pictures:

Rams Hiking Ball (Ramsherd.com)

Sam Bradford (bleacherreport.com)

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