Davante Adams ready for matchup against 'super elite' corner Jalen Ramsey
NFL 

The Divisional Round kicks off Saturday afternoon with the best 1-on-1 matchup around: Green Bay Packers receiver Davante Adams vs. Los Angeles Rams corner Jalen Ramsey.

The two are tops at what they do.

Adams is a red-zone monster, leading the NFL in TD receptions, and despite missing two games, finished second in catches with 115 and fifth in yards with 1,374. Meanwhile, Ramsey was the league’s top corner, ranking first in receptions allowed when targeted, allowed the fewest yards, and was tied for sixth in TDs given up.

Ahead of Saturday’s showdown at Lambeau, Adams said he admires the NFL’s top cover corner but is focused on his own game.

“I respect Jalen’s game,” Adams said, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “He’s at the top of the list, for sure. I think there’s probably three or four super elite — is what I like to call them — corners, and he’s definitely one of those guys. He’s been playing at a high level, got great confidence. Does a lot of barking, which feeds into his confidence more. And he’s made a lot of plays. He’s definitely earned that. He’s a good player.”

Despite Ramsey’s proclivity to talk, Adams doesn’t expect much banter during the bout.

“With Jalen,” Adams said, “I don’t know how much talking is going to happen. Honestly, I don’t see a whole lot of talking. It’ll probably get a little chippy every now and then, but I’ve got respect for him. I’m sure based on our conversations we’ve had before, he’s got respect for me. So it won’t be no disrespect or stuff going on out there, but it will probably get heated.”

Adams’ confidence stems from the fact that he gets off the line of scrimmage better than any wide receiver currently playing in the NFL. That innate ability allows the star wideout to blow past corners before they can get hands on him and disrupt the play’s timing. It’s also why he’s the deadliest red-zone receiving weapon.

Adams believes that get-off will allow him to produce in one-on-one matchups against Ramsey.

“It’s just basically rooted in my confidence and the way that I play,” Adams said. “There’s certain guys who dictate or change the way they play based off who they’re playing, and that still may translate to success for them, but the way that I play is, like I say, I’m in the driver’s seat.”

The superlatives for both players is off the charts.

Ramsey allowed the fewest receiving yards (309) in coverage among 33 CBs with 500-plus coverage snaps in the regular season, per Pro Football Focus. He also allowed a 50.0 completion percent in coverage this season, including playoffs (T-2nd lowest in NFL, minimum 50 targets).

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Adams became the only player in NFL history with 100-plus receptions and 18 receiving TDs in a single regular season. He’s also the only player in NFL history to average 8-plus receptions per game and 1-plus rec TD per game in a regular season.

According to Next Gen Stats, Adams averaged 3.1 receiving yards per route this season (most in NFL, minimum 150 routes).

The Packers receiver is the first player to lead the NFL in both receiving YPG and receiving TDs in a season since Carolina’s Muhsin Muhammad (87.8 rec YPG & 16 rec TD) in 2004 — he’s the first Green Bay WR to do so since Sterling Sharpe in 1992. Adams’ 115 receptions broke Sharpe’s GB single-season record (112).

Adams is one of four players with 500-plus receptions and 50-plus receiving TDs since 2014 (when Adams was drafted), joining DeAndre Hopkins, Antonio Brown and Mike Evans. Each of those three players has faced Ramsey at least once in 2020; none had 60-plus receiving yards, and all had 40 or fewer yards while guarded by Ramsey, per NFL Research.

Heading into Saturday’s showdown, we expect to see Ramsey matched up with Adams every time he’s aligned out wide. The question is how much the Rams corner will follow the wideout into the slot, where he does a lot of his damage, especially in the red zone.

Parsing Aaron Rodgers’ comments, we may see Adams in the slot a lot to get him matched up on anyone but Ramsey.

“The Rams have a dynamic, dynamic player in Jalen,” Rodgers said, “but they have been playing a lot more two-shell. So I don’t know how much mano a mano is going to be out there. I’m sure there’s going to be some opportunities, and he is super talented.”

Adams aligned in the slot on 29.9 percent of his routes this season (highest for Adams in the last five seasons). He generated an 83.6 reception percent on slot targets this season (2nd-highest in NFL, minimum 25 slot targets). Seven of his 18 receiving TD came when aligned in the slot this season (3rd-most in NFL).

On the flip side, Ramsey has aligned in the slot on 16.3 percent of defensive snaps this season, including playoffs, per Next Gen Stats. It’s by far the most Ramsey has played in the slot in his career, but still suggests he hardly ventures there.

According to PFF, Ramsey allowed six receptions, 40 yards, 0 TDs on 12 targets aligned in the slot this season, including playoffs, and gave up 50% completions while aligned in the slot (T-3rd lowest among CB with a minimum of 10 targets aligned in the slot).

Even if the Rams defense dictates Ramsey doesn’t always follow Adams to the slot, we still should see plenty of two of the NFL’s best at what they do go head-to-head Saturday in Green Bay.

Tune in. It’s sure to be a show.

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