The Green Bay Packers are just hoping to get through the preseason alive. After suffering through a long list of injuries during the 2012 season, the Packers are already dealing with key players going down and the season hasn't even started.
On Saturday, they head to St. Louis to take on the Rams. While the Seahawks and 49ers get the attention in the NFC West, the Rams are building an impressive roster of their own. In the second week of the preseason, the Rams are hoping the new Greatest Show on Turf can take flight at the Edward Jones Dome.
Meet the Packers
Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFL, but Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb have both already been dealing with injuries. When healthy, Rodgers' receiving core is one of the league's best, but they need to stay on the field. The bigger issue may be Green Bay's offensive line. Bryan Bulaga tore his ACL, creating uncertainty at left tackle.
Green Bay's defense should improve with the addition of Datone Jones and a healthy Nick Perry. The Packers' secondary is rock solid, but the play of the front seven will be worth monitoring on Saturday. That was one of the team's undoings a season ago.
Meet the Rams
The Greatest Show on Turf Part 2? Not quite, but the Rams are hoping the offense they have built can help Sam Bradford take his game to the next level. Since being the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, Bradford has been a bit underwhelming but has also never been surrounded with a ton of talent. Now the Rams have a cast of young, fast wide receivers, including No. 8 overall pick Tavon Austin. Can this offense take the next step?
Defensively, Jeff Fisher is building a formidable unit in St. Louis. The team continues to draft well and will be relying on young, talented players like defensive tackle Michael Brockers, cornerback Janoris Jenkins and linebacker Alec Ogletree to make a big impact impact if they are going to challenge the Seahawks and 49ers in the loaded NFC West.
Local Takes: Packers
With the amount of injuries Rodgers' receivers have had, some might worry about the timing when the regular season starts. ACME Packing Company says McCarthy isn't one of those people:
As for the team's superstar, McCarthy said that Aaron Rodgers' timing with his receivers and exact accuracy has come to him earlier in camp this season than it did in years past. If he gets a running game and some time to throw, look out defenses.
Local Takes: Rams
The Rams have had injury issues of their own. Starting right tackle Rodger Saffold left the team's first preseason game, intensifying the competition for his backup. Here's the take from Turf Show Times:
Rodger Saffold dislocated his shoulder, and will miss some time during the preseason. So the race is on for backup tackle. Joe Barksdale took over for Saffold, but Brandon Williams will get some reps with the starters too. Both of those guys are working on the right side. So what about Ty Nsehke? He was listed right behind Saffold on the last depth chart (Barksdale was listed as the No. 2 left tackle).
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Be sure to check out SB Nation's team blogs, the Falcoholic and Baltimore Beatdown, for more analysis and highlights from the game.
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I've already seen three beat writers incorrectly label an offensive formation "the pistol" ... gonna be a confusing year in the NFL— ryan van bibber (@justRVB) August 16, 2013
The Rams are favored by 4.5 points in Saturday night's game, according to Odds Shark.
Next week, the Packers return home to take on the Seahawks, while the Rams head to Denver to play the Broncos.