Packers-Rams: Key matchups

Here are some key matchups between the Green Bay Packers and St. Louis Rams. The two teams meet Sunday at noon (CT) at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. St. Louis is coming off a 41-34 win over Detroit Sunday while the Packers are trying to rebound from a 31-9 loss to Philadelphia Monday.

Rams QB Marc Bulger vs. Packers secondary
The irony of the intraconference teams' rekindling a longstanding rivalry is the Packers this week let go one of the few players who neutralized Bulger and the Rams' potent aerial attack in the last meeting two years ago. Ahmad Carroll had perhaps his finest hour in an underwhelming start to his career as a first-round draft pick that season with a 40-yard fumble return for a touchdown and an interception in the Packers' 45-17 home victory.

Bulger still managed to throw for 448 yards, the most ever allowed by a Green Bay defense, and more of the same isn't out of the question given the accommodating state of the Packers' cover men. The league's 31st-rated pass defense has given up an astounding 29 completions of at least 16 yards. As the Packers scramble on a short week to plug in someone more dependable than Carroll at the nickel spot, the heady, mistake-free Bulger undoubtedly is poised to pick his vertical spots with Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce, who had nine catches for 170 yards but also two fumbles-turned-into-touchdowns in the last encounter with Green Bay.

Packers QB Brett Favre vs. Rams SS Corey Chavous
Going on a safe presumption that St. Louis' offense will have little trouble moving the football and should be putting up ample points, figure Favre will be throwing more than he's handing off. Of course, that's assuming Favre is A-OK after suffering head and shoulder injuries Monday.

Before he got hurt on what was his last play, Favre reverted to his careless habit of winding up late and chucking a tailor-made interception down the middle of the field. Chavous has been a beneficiary in those maddening situations when he played against Favre twice a season for the previous four years with Minnesota. The ninth-year veteran picked off three Favre passes in just the 2003 season. Chavous' knowledge of Favre's hit-and-miss tendencies can't be discounted, especially if the Packers have to play from behind yet again.

Rams WRs Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce vs. Packers CBs Charles Woodson and Al Harris
Both Holt and Bruce are both on pace to catch passes for more than 1,200 yards. Woodson and Harris are as solid a cover duo in the league, but have struggled at times this season. Woodson is coming off a good performance against Philadelphia, but was beaten on a long pass near the end of the first half. Harris was penalty prone against Philadelphia.

Rams DT La'Roi Glover vs. Packers RG Jason Spitz
Glover is one of the most consistent inside defenders in the game. He'll be going against a rookie who is getting his baptism under fire in the NFL. Spitz is starting his first game since Week 1 when he sustained a deep thigh bruise against the Bears.


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