Butler's Breakdown: Packers vs. Rams


I know everyone has a few bad memories from the last few times the Packers have gone to St. Louis to play the Rams in their place, so if you're looking at this game with a little bit of a revenge factor, there might be some, but this team needs to keep their focus on this season and this five-game winning streak.

The biggest story around this game has got to be Brett Favre's 200th straight start. Just think about this. Everything you've done or everything you will do - think about doing it 200 times. You will know just how great this feat really is.

Whether it's eating 200 hamburgers, jumping rope 200 times, or even watching 200 games in a row can be tough. In this day and age, a football player only averages playing about 50-75 games in their entire career, but this guy has now been out there to start every game for 200 in a row, playing through adversity both on and off the field, and he continues to lace 'em up every week.

He is a role model for players in this league. You hear young quarterbacks say that they use to watch Brett growing up. Well, guess what - some of the guys who are playing in the league still watch Brett and look up to him.

I want to congratulate Brett Favre for making his 200th straight start and I hope he has another 100 after this one.

Now on to the game. St. Louis comes to Green Bay after going to Buffalo and getting beat soundly in nearly every area of the game. Their defense is now ranked 28th in the league, and their offense, which is supposed to be the "Greatest Show on Turf" - guess what boys, you're outside in the Packers' element. Welcome to our world.

The weather should be in the 30s or even the 20s, but who cares - the game will be outside and it will be cold. The Lambeau Field legend is starting to come about. It's fall, it's heading into winter, and teams don't want to come to Lambeau.

The St. Louis Rams have two of the best receivers in the league in Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce, not to mention one of the best running backs in the history of the NFL in Marshall Faulk. Marc Bulger is a very capable quarterback, but he has shown that he will force passes into coverages at times and turn the ball over.

Bulger is also not afraid to stand in the pocket, so hopefully we'll see Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila come around the corner, knock the ball out of his hand and recover it for a big turnover. That's just what this Packers defense has been missing.

I'd like to see any Packers who come on the blitz this week to go after the football when they get to Bulger. He holds the ball very loosely and before he throws it, he has a little hitch in his throwing motion.

Let's not kid ourselves, though, this is a very dangerous Rams offense. They were down 17 points to Seattle in the fourth quarter and they came back to beat the Seahawks on the road. That shows that this team will not quit.

Mike Martz is an offensive wizard, so the Green Bay will have its hands full. Look for the Packers to play a lot of combination coverages, a lot of cover two, and a lot of cover four to keep guys in front of them. You do not want to give up the big play and give this team any kind of momentum.

The one thing about their offense is that they will keep throwing the ball. This team is almost three-to-one in pass to run, and they will throw the ball down the field, over the middle, until you stop them.

Where the sparks should really fly is when the Packers are on offense. The Green Bay offense is right now third in the league and Brett Favre is still on a hot streak. He is showing that if you're going to stack the box with eight or nine people to try to stop the run, he will kill you with the receivers he has.

Javon Walker is tops in the NFL in receiving yardage and should land a starting spot in the Pro Bowl. He has been putting up some great numbers and he's catching every pass and running after the catch. Donald Driver is also making huge strides this season. Right now, I'd put him at about the fourth-best receiver in the NFC and in the top 10 in the whole league. He has great hands, runs great routes, and is a real playmaker.

Just like you, I'm not sure who's going to starting the game at running back for the Packers, but I think any of the Green Bay backs will have success Monday night, because the offensive line will take this game over.

The problem that the St. Louis Rams pose on defense is that they blitz from different parts of the field. On third downs, you have to be especially watchful of Leonard Little because he's having a great year getting after the quarterback.

This secondary can be had, but they love to bring strong safety Adam Archuleta up into the box for an eight-man front. If Brett Favre sees that and gets one-on-one coverage on the outside, look for the Packers receivers to make some big plays down the field.

I think this defense can really be exploited in the red zone. Bubba Franks in the middle against the St. Louis linebackers is a match-up that I'm looking forward to.

All in all, the Packers are on a five-game winning streak. To get that number up to six, they are going to have to play a good game against a good team Monday night. They can't afford to turn the ball over, and they must focus on limiting the big plays on defense.

I know it's a late game, but you've got to stay up late and support your team to the very end. Also remember that every Packers game is probably going to be a close one from here on out. If they get behind, don't worry. If they get ahead, don't get too excited. You just have to watch the whole game to make sure that the Packers will do the most important thing, and that's winning the game.

*LeRoy Butler played 12 seasons for the Green Bay Packers, helping them to two Super Bowls and earning NFL All-Decade Honors for the 1990s, before retiring in July 2002. This season Butler is again providing exclusive analysis to Packers.com beginning with training camp and later with a breakdown of the upcoming game on Saturdays, followed by a column and Q&A session on Tuesdays during the preseason and regular season.

Butler's autobiography, 'The LeRoy Butler Story ... From Wheelchair to the Lambeau Leap,' is available on his website, leroybutler36.com.*

LeRoy serves as the host on the new DVD, 'Brett Favre - On and Off the Field'. Click here for more information on the DVD.

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