The teams: The Green Bay Packers (3-3) vs. the St. Louis Rams (3-3).
The time: Noon CDT Sunday.
The place: Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis.
The TV coverage: WITI (Ch. 6 in Milwaukee), WMSN (Ch. 47 in Madison) and WLUK (Ch. 11 in Green Bay).
The announcers: Sam Rosen and Brian Billick, with Laura Okmin reporting from the sidelines.
The coaches: Green Bay's Mike McCarthy is 71-39 (including 5-3 in the postseason) in his seventh season as the Packers' coach and as an NFL head coach. St. Louis’ Jeff Fisher is 3-3 in his first year as the Rams’ coach after going 147-126 (5-6 in the postseason) in 16-plus seasons as coach of the Tennessee Titans/Houston Oilers.
The series: The Rams lead the all-time regular-season series, 45-43-2. The Packers won the last three meetings, including a 24-3 last year at Lambeau Field and 36-17 at the Edward Jones Dome in 2009.
The rankings: The Packers’ 18th-ranked offense is No. 23 in rushing and No. 14 in passing. Their 14th-ranked defense is No. 17 against the run and No. 18 against the pass. The Rams’ 28th-ranked offense is No. 16 in rushing and No. 27 in passing. Their seventh-ranked defense is No. 13 against the run and No. 6 against the pass.
The line: The Packers are favored by 5 points.
The injury report:
Out – DT B.J. Raji (ankle), CB Sam Shields (shin/ankle), LB Nick Perry (knee), WR Greg Jennings (groin).
Probable – TE Jermichael Finley (shoulder), RB Alex Green (shoulder), S Sean Richardson (hamstring), CB Davon House (shoulder), QB Aaron Rodgers (calf), TE D.J. Williams (hamstring).
Out – WR Danny Amendola (shoulder), LB Mario Haggan (thigh), T Rodger Saffold (knee).
Questionable – T Wayne Hunter (back).
Probable – CB Janoris Jenkins (back).
THE BREAKDOWN: FIVE THINGS TO WATCH
Stacking successes: While McCarthy has introduced plenty of buzzwords into the Packers’ lexicon – like punk mentality, which was added last week – one that has been a staple since his 2006 arrival has been the idea of stacking successes, something the Packers have done remarkably well over the years under him.
That is, except this season.
The same outfit that at one point had won 19 consecutive games – six to end the 2010 season en route to the Super Bowl XLV championship and 13 to open the 2011 season – has yet to win back-to-back games this season, alternating between defeats and victories the first six weeks en route to its .500 start. As a result, McCarthy dusted off his tried-and-true catchphrase during this week’s preparation.
“That’s our theme. We haven’t won two in a row this year, so that’s our theme this week – back-to-back,” McCarthy explained early in the week. “Stacking success is so important in this league. But it’s a new challenge every week.”
This week’s challenge for the Packers has been the injury report, with five starters (including inside linebacker D.J. Smith, whose knee injury landed him on injured reserve) out for the game (the other four – Jennings, Raji, Perry and Shields – do not have injuries that are season-enders).
On defense, the unit will need a variety of role players to rise to the occasion, with rookie second-round pick Casey Hayward poised to start at cornerback, veteran Erik Walden getting the start at outside linebacker and converted outside linebacker Brad Jones getting the call inside. The defensive line rotation fared well in Houston last Sunday night and must do so again.