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Inbox: It's the matchup everyone wants to see

This opportunity is what months of dedication and sacrifice have been about

WR Davante Adams

Don from Aurora, Ontario, Canada

All that really matters from here on out for the Packers is to win the last game they play. It's really that simple.

Simplicity is the spice of life…or something.

Henry from Brown Deer, WI

Wes, here's to going 1-0 this Saturday. I know that it is one and done. I trust in our HC, coordinators and assistants. Matt and Nathaniel will have a good plan because a predecessor once said this: When the baloney stops and I don't mean baloney. Your thoughts?

It's everything the Packers have worked for: This opportunity, to be one of the last eight teams remaining, is what months of dedication and sacrifice have been about. The Packers made a lot of history this year but here is their shot at greatness. Now, what are you going to do with it?

Randy from Westminster, CO

With the game being held Saturday afternoon, is there any advantage or disadvantage for the Packers players and coaches? Or will they be anxious and ready to play after being off a week?

Judging by Darnell Savage's "Is it Saturday yet?" tweet on Monday, I'd say the Packers are eager to get back on the field.

Jeff from Athens, WI

Excited for Saturday's matchup – the Packers' offense against one of the best scoring defenses in the league. The "wild card" of the divisional round should likely be the weather. What can the Rams do to prepare for the possible conditions? Am I correct to assume there are travel restrictions that keep them from going north to try for similar weather during the week leading up to the game?

This is the way it should be, good on good. All these successful teams have built winning resumes with different players, schemes and philosophies. Now, it comes to a head. Seeing how the Rams adjust to the conditions will be telling and a big reason I feel the Packers hold a decided advantage with this game being played at Lambeau Field.

Brett from Sioux Falls, SD

The Saturday game time gives the Rams (already banged up) one less day of rest, and not to look ahead...but would give the Packers an extra day of rest over their opponent in the NFC title game. How much of an advantage is this for the Pack, especially this late in the season? Side commentary: Big disadvantage for me as the game is scheduled for the same time as my nephew's 3-year-old birthday party…talk about brutal.

The Rams are banged up at some key spots and now have to make a cross-country flight to Green Bay on a short week, while the Packers have been resting for a week. When you throw in the current forecast, the Packers couldn't ask for a better home-field advantage. And sorry kiddo, Uncle Brett's got a game to watch.

Ryan from Merrimac, WI

Thanks to the football gods last weekend, the Packers-Rams game will be taking place at the same time as the baby shower for my first kid. Here's hoping they take an early commanding lead so I don't have to try to sneak off too many times to check the score.

Ryan, meet Brett.

Charlie from Cameron, NC

Hello, Wes. Please give us your perspective of a player's perspective as to which would provide the bigger home-field advantage: 15 degrees with clear skies, or 30 degrees and snowing. If I'm the Rams and had to choose one, which would I choose?

The colder, the better. The Packers aren't just built for those conditions – they're hardened by it. Most of these NFL players have played in snow before but few have experienced 20-degree evenings in northeast Wisconsin. It tests your mettle as a competitor. And then there's Jared Goff and his broken thumb, so a lot of layers to this game.

Daniel from Los Angeles, CA

I've waited until the playoffs to mention this: My exercise physiology class taught me the adaptation to cold and hot environments. Whether Lambeau in winter or Tampa in summer, home teams have that advantage. It takes at least a week before any adaptations occur in response to the weather. No way the Rams, Bucs, or Saints will be prepared for our cold.

See, it's science.

Thomas from Appleton, WI

Everyone knows how good Jalen Ramsey is, but the other corner Darious Williams has been playing lights out this season, as well. That being said, what's the status of Jace Sternberger?

Once in a while, a submission will start one way and then end with a question I didn't see coming. You win that award for today, Thomas. Sternberger has been cleared from the concussion but was a clean scratch against Chicago. He's ready when needed, though.

Omar from Boston, MA

So, it is confirmed that we will play the Rams this coming Saturday. Do you think that our high-powered offense can beat their huge defense? And what is more important in a game like this, in the snow...offense or defense?


Matt from Philadelphia, PA

For those concerned about Jalen Ramsey taking Davante Adams out of the game – Packers scored 37 on the Saints without Adams and 30 on the Falcons without Adams and Allen Lazard. This offense knows how to put up points! It's the matchup everyone wants to see.

You said it. We got a small taste of that matchup in 2016 but Adams and Ramsey are now two of the very best at their positions. Adams lives for these moments. He wants to go down as one of the best to ever play his position. I can think of no better way to put a stamp on his historic season than a strong showing against one of the game's top corners.

Bruce from Green Bay, WI

Pretty sure the Rams are watching plenty of film of the Packers' loss in Frisco last year to make a "run" at the championship game. Green Bay has improved its defense as the year went on but there is always room for improvement. If you were the defensive coordinator, what would you work on as a priority going into the Rams game? Gap discipline, gang tackling, run blitz, not letting plays break to the outside...

All of the above, because it comes down to containing Cam Akers. The Rams played a good enough all-around ballgame to handily beat the Seahawks, but Akers' production was what allowed the Rams to breathe easy despite losing John Wolford in the first half.

Ben from Milwaukee, WI

Which is more likely to lead to success against the Rams: winning TOP or the turnover battle?

Turnover battle. Even though LA was second to only Green Bay in time of possession, the Packers were the better team in terms of turnover differential – plus-7 to the Rams' minus-3. And you all know by now Green Bay's record when the offense doesn't turn the ball over. Cough, 11-0.

Andy from Kalamazoo, MI

Marquez Valdes-Scantling has had a few high-profile mistakes this season, but he's also had far bigger/wow plays. He led the league in yards per reception, at 20.9, as well as first-down rate (82% of his catches earned first downs). When's the last time a Packers receiver led the league in yards per reception and how does 20.9 rate among other Packer receivers all-time?

It's the first time since at least 2000 a Packers receiver has led the NFL in yards per reception. The 20.9-yards per reception ranks 10th all-time in team history (minimum 24 receptions). Don Hutson holds the record at 24.88-yards per catch in 1939.

Michael from Montréal, Quebec

My wife, who is a physician, said that a rib cartilage injury is a serious injury. It impairs a person's ability to take deep breaths and to cough. Even with a localized anesthesia and protective covering, being active – let alone participating in a professional contact sport – risks serious complications. Given this, why wouldn't GB open with AJ Dillon running right at Aaron Donald behind Corey Linsley and Elgton Jenkins? He may win a few early battles, but this will be a war of attrition. What do you think?

Based on the reports, I can't see Donald being anywhere close to 100% but I still don't think it would be wise to target your game plan at the NFL's reigning Defensive Player of the Year. The game is physical enough as it is. So it won't take long to see where Donald is at. If an adjustment is warranted, I expect the Packers will be primed to make it.

Mark from Seattle, WA

In Wes's article on breakout players, Kenny Clark stated he's been trying to tell Kingsley Keke "to use more power to set up his moves." Is Clark essentially saying Keke needs to work more on using his overall physical strength to his advantage?

Yeah, playing with power and leverage. Keke has some Mike Daniels to him but that doesn't happen overnight. You have to learn how to "win" inside when you're not a 6-foot-4, 320-pound defensive tackle and Keke really started to tap into that potential this year. Hopefully, he can work his way through the concussion protocol and get back on the field this postseason.

Dano from Seal Beach, CA

I really hate to reveal my ignorance, but exactly where do you think Damon "Snacks" Harrison will play on the DL? Will he give Clark rest during the game or will he play alongside Clark? If Damon Harrison plays next to Clark, who will be sitting? Any insight of how Snacks will be used?

It's not that Harrison is taking anybody's "spot." He's part of the rotation in the base package. You even saw him play a little next to Clark in run nickel against the Bears. If Keke can get back on the field against the Rams, then the Packers can really get creative with how they want to utilize Clark depending on the game plan.

Stefan from Bonaduz, Switzerland

Good morning, Wes. Now that the Colts' season is over, are also their recently signed tackles available again or is Jared Veldheer under contract until the league year ends?

You know how things work, nothing is official until it's official…but as I mentioned with what I called the "Garth Gerhart" rule, all practice-squad contracts expire once a team's season is over – and those players are free to sign anywhere. So Veldheer is in position to become the first player in NFL history to play in the same postseason with two different teams.

Drake from Ottawa, Ontario

I am a Packers fan, first and foremost. However, having been born in Niagara Falls, Ontario, I have a soft spot in my heart for the Bills. Was there any larger free-agent acquisition this year than Stefon Diggs? I am happy that the Bills got him and even happier the Pack don't have to face him twice a year anymore. Man is a beast!

The Bills acquiring Diggs is a good reminder that trades don't always need to be about a "winner" and a "loser." Both the Vikings and Bills prospered from that deal.

Jeff from Frisco, TX

Great work guys, love reading the Inbox! In response to Michael from Morrison, IL, as a longtime Packers fan it is not that hard to fathom 24 years without a playoff win. The Packers went from their Super Bowl II victory on Jan. 14, 1968, until Jan. 8, 1994, to win a playoff game after a full regular season. No question, I am just here help remind everyone not to take the last 27 years for granted (P.S. – The 1983 victory over the Cardinals was like kissing your sister!)

You know what's the most sobering for me? We're the same number of years removed now from Super Bowl XXXI as the Super Bowl XXXI team was from the 1972 squad that won the NFC Central. What a difference in 24-year spans? Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

I'm trying to plan out my week here...Is there going to be an Insider Inbox on Saturday morning? Also, I was happy 70,000 Steelers fans didn't pay good money and spend a whole day only to watch their team get run out of the stadium in the first 15 minutes.

I ran into town for groceries and to pick up dinner on Sunday night. When I got home, I threw everything on the table, opened a San Pellegrino and turned on my TV. I was dumbfounded when I saw the score. It took like a few seconds to process the Steelers were down 28-0 and the second quarter hadn't even started yet.

David from Anchorage, AK

How about JC Tretter and his game? I am very happy for him. I think they can and will beat K.C. Your thoughts?

Tretter is a class act and a great ambassador for the game of football. He'll be successful in whatever he does in life but right now it's being a darn good center for the Browns.

Nic from London, UK

I'm sorry but how do you fire your coach three years after he brought you your only Super Bowl with a backup QB against the greatest dynasty in North American sports? Have they forgotten what they were for their entire history prior? Maybe Doug Pederson didn't help himself but he also didn't seem to be the main problem, and I'm not sure there's a Matt LaFleur out there just ready to step in and go 26-6.

I have no idea but if you have to part ways with a head coach three years after winning a Super Bowl, a lot more went wrong than just the record on the field.

Dan from Toledo, OH

Insiders, do you feel like the seventh seed will have the unintended consequence of more coaching turnover? There must be more than a few owners out there with an average-to-below-average squad (that may be truly a year away) that expect to make the playoffs next year if an 8-8 squad got in this year.

Sure, but I don't think it's going to directly relate into more coaches losing their jobs. Expectations are expectations. I don't think the No. 7 seed sweetens the beverage that much. Either you believe in the vision the coach has or you don't.

Bill from Raleigh, NC

Hi II, I'm on board with Russell Wilson being HOF. I've pulled against him since he left NC State because he thought he could learn to hit a curveball, but there are two opposing QBs that I just know are going to pull out comeback victories: Tom Brady and Wilson. Wilson could not do it Saturday and that shows how tough the task against the Rams is going to be, with or without Donald.

Russell Wilson is a Hall of Famer. End of debate. And I'll issue the same warning with the Rams that I gave with the season finale against Chicago – don't overlook LA. The Rams have some issues, namely on the offensive side of the ball, but that's a championship-caliber defense.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Hello Wes. I just wanted to apologize for not coming through last Saturday. I tried to get some thoughts together Wednesday evening and Thursday, and on Friday when I sat down at the keyboard, and just couldn't get my mind on lighthearted football thoughts. My heart and mind were clouded with the awful events at our nation's capital on Wednesday. Sorry, but after watching 22 hours of playoff football over the weekend, I'll be ready to go this Friday. God Bless America.

Rest up, Dean. It's divisional playoff week and you gotta big day coming up Saturday morning. Have a good week, folks.