St. Louis, MO - The Green Bay Packers have high hopes for their offense this season, but that unit has struggled to get in gear.
Those troubles seem minor compared to what the St. Louis Rams are going through.
The Packers try again to fix some of the issues affecting the offense Sunday when they visit the Rams, who look to avoid a franchise-record 13th straight loss.
Oddsmakers from online sports book SPORTSBETTING.com have made the Packers –6.5 point spread favorites (View NFL odds) for Sunday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 84% of bets for this game have been placed on the Packers –6.5 (View NFL bet percentages).
With quarterback Aaron Rodgers entering his second season as the starter after a stellar 2008, expectations are high for Green Bay (1-1). The Packers' first-string offense was nearly unstoppable in the preseason, but it has not carried that success into the regular season.
Green Bay had three touchdowns in last Sunday's 31-24 loss to Cincinnati, but cornerback Charles Woodson scored one on an interception return and set up another with an interception and return to the Cincinnati 11-yard line.
Rodgers and the offense couldn't get in sync and star receiver Greg Jennings was held without a catch for the first time in his career.
"We have not played to the standard that we need to play," coach Mike McCarthy said.
The offensive woes have stemmed from the Packers' inability to protect the quarterback. Rodgers was sacked six times last weekend, bringing Green Bay's total allowed to a league-worst 10.
Four of last week's sacks came after backup left tackle Daryn Colledge was beaten by Bengals defensive end Antwan Odom, who finished with five. Colledge was replacing veteran Chad Clifton (sprained right ankle), whose availability for Sunday is unclear.
"There should be a level of concern,'' running back Ryan Grant said. "We need to do a better job, from the back and from the line of protecting Aaron, make sure he doesn't get touched. That's the number one emphasis of our offense, plain and simple: Our quarterback doesn't get touched, and everything starts with that. We haven't gotten that done at any level.''
If the protection problems continue this week, the Packers could be in real trouble for the rest of the season. The Rams (0-2) have recorded one sack this year.
In addition to its inability to keep Rodgers upright, the offensive line has had trouble opening running lanes for Grant, who has rushed for 107 yards on 30 attempts in two games. Grant should have more success against a St. Louis team that has allowed an average of 146.0 rushing yards on the season.
While Green Bay's offense is struggling, the Rams' is even worse, ranking last in the NFL with seven points and tied for 30th in total offense at 259.5 yards a game.
St. Louis lost 9-7 at Washington last Sunday, its 12th straight defeat since winning Oct. 19. The Rams tied the franchise mark for consecutive losses set in 1937-38 and matched in 1959-60.
Playing at home might not help St. Louis avoid the record-setting defeat. The Rams dropped their final five games at the Edward Jones Dome last year and are 2-14 there since 2007.
That skid includes a 33-14 loss to Green Bay on Dec. 16, 2007, the last meeting between the teams.
"It's time to just tighten things up, do what we need to do, and go out and get a W," offensive lineman Adam Goldberg said.
The offense did show some signs of getting on track against the Redskins. St. Louis had three drives that lasted 10 plays or more and was 6 for 12 on third down after going 2 for 12 in a season-opening 28-0 loss to Seattle.
The running game was also effective, with Steven Jackson gaining 104 yards on 17 carries.
Jackson will try to build on that performance against a Green Bay team that allowed Cedric Benson to rush for 141 yards last week. Jackson has had little trouble finding room to run against the Packers lately, rushing for 241 yards in the last two meetings.
St. Louis coach Steve Spagnuolo, though, knows that his team playing better last week doesn't guarantee anything for Sunday.
"Be careful not to think just because it was 28-0 a week ago and this week it was a two-point deficit that it's automatic,'' he said. "It doesn't happen that way. Every week is a new week, and we've got a new challenge this week with Green Bay.''
Posted: 9/23/09 3:50PM ET