It’s probably not on third down, where the Packers ranked second in the league in efficiency (49.4%) while the Rams defensively ranked third (35.4%). That one might be hard to win in any significant way.
But regarding turnovers and the red zone, the Packers are better and must play to that advantage. Green Bay’s 11 giveaways this season were the lowest total in the league, while LA’s 22 takeaways were a middle-of-the-pack number (tied for 10th).
There’s no discounting the factor turnovers were in LA’s wild-card victory at Seattle. The Rams, whose regular-season margin of minus-3 was a rarity for a 10-win team, won the turnover battle with the Seahawks, 2-0, converting one into their fourth pick-six of the season.
In short, the Packers protected the ball better than any team in the league and must continue doing so.
Similarly, the Packers were the best at turning red-zone opportunities into touchdowns, doing so at an 80% clip. They were even better in their six-game winning streak to end the season, going 20-for-22, with one of the failures and end-of-game kneel-down. Meanwhile, the Rams’ red-zone defense has been just a shade above average, ranking 12th at 58.7%.
This is another area the Packers have an edge, and they must keep it. They may not get as many chances as they’re used to against a defense as tough as LA’s, but when they get in close, they have to find the end zone.
“In the playoffs, there’s an even heightened level of urgency to score, not just settle for field goals because the points, it’s so much more competitive,” center Corey Linsley said.
“The games are that much tighter. Everything just tightens down into inches and single points and everything matters.”