NFL Divisional Round X-factors: Who could fuel a Super Bowl run? –

For the Rams to upset the Packers, the highest-probability formula is to limit the impact of the pass (especially the deep pass of 20-plus air yards) on defense and efficiently rush the ball on offense. Aaron Rodgers went deep on 14.1 percent of passes this season — the second-highest rate in the NFL, per Next Gen Stats, trailing only Tom Brady — posting a league-best 12:0 touchdown-to-interception ratio and a 128.7 passer rating (third-highest). But the Rams’ defense ranks in the top four against the deep pass in completion percentage (24.6), passer rating (37.9) and TD-to-INT ratio (2:5). Jalen Ramsey, who has yielded the fewest receiving yards (309, per Pro Football Focus) among cornerbacks with at least 500 coverage snaps, has been a big part of this success. And the first-team All-Pro’s versatility is key. Per NGS, Ramsey has aligned in the slot on 16.3 percent of defensive snaps this season, allowing just six receptions for 40 yards and zero touchdowns on 12 targets. Why am I pointing this out before this particular matchup? Green Bay’s first-team All-Pro receiver, Davante Adams, has lined up in the slot on 29.9 percent of routes — the highest figure for Adams since Next Gen Stats started tracking this in 2016. On slot targets, Adams boasts an 83.6 reception percentage, which is the second-highest mark in the NFL. While Ramsey’s responsibilities are likely to include more than just Adams, the corner’s continued excellence will be necessary to contain whatever Rodgers throws his way.

Quickly, because I can’t not hit on the Rams’ run game after briefly mentioning it as a big part of the winning formula above: L.A.’s ground attack led by rookie Cam Akers, who has averaged 92.5 rushing yards per game since Week 12, will be a huge complementary factor.

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