No Thanksgiving game, fewer leftovers for Los Angeles Rams' Matthew Stafford

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Matthew Stafford loves to indulge in sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, turkey and pecan pie on Thanksgiving.

For 12 seasons, the Pro Bowl quarterback enjoyed what seemed to be the perfect holiday routine.

He would suit up for a mid-day kickoff, as the Detroit Lions played host to an annual Thanksgiving Day game, then arrive home around 5 p.m. to enjoy a hearty meal and watch the final NFL game that night.

"Almost felt like a fan there or a little bit, had a bunch of family in town," Stafford recalled earlier this week. "We'd get back to the house and have food and dinner and all that kind of stuff and it was a lot of fun having the next couple days off. You could eat leftovers and do all that fun stuff."

Stafford wasn't sure what to expect from his family's first Thanksgiving in Southern California without an NFL game to participate in, but the Los Angeles Rams' quarterback knew one thing for certain: Leftovers were likely off the table given the necessary preparation for Sunday's game against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers (8-3) at Lambeau Field (4:25 p.m. ET, Fox).

"Definitely going have to take it easy, which is tough to do," Stafford said, chuckling. "But you know, small sacrifices you have to make."

Small sacrifices, indeed, for what the Rams hope is a significant turnaround against a Packers team that knocked them out in the divisional round of the playoffs last season.

Stafford, who came to L.A. via a blockbuster trade over the offseason, wasn't part of last season's disappointing 32-18 defeat, but has his own trying history against his former division foe. Stafford is 7-13 against the Packers, 4-12 head-to-head against Rodgers and 3-7 at Lambeau Field, though he still describes the historic venue as one of his favorite places to play in the NFL.

"I love playing in the snow there," Stafford said. "That's what you dream about as a kid is getting to play the Packers at Lambeau Field in the snow."

The current forecast for Sunday in Green Bay calls for partly cloudy and 36 degrees, perhaps not the dreamy scenario for Stafford but undoubtedly a welcome one for a 7-3 Rams team coming off a bye and in need of reversing a two-game losing streak in which Stafford has thrown four interceptions, equaling the number of picks he threw through the first eight games of the season.

All four recent interceptions were thrown in the first half, and each were converted into touchdowns by their opponents, digging the Rams into considerable holes.

"When you look at it, what I think really stands out to me is he's played great football over the course of these 10 games," Rams coach Sean McVay said about Stafford. "There's been a couple of things as of late that haven't been in alignment with the way that he's played."

Stafford pointed to the turnover margin as a simple way to reverse fortune. The Rams are 7-0 when they win the turnover battle, 0-3 when they lose it.

"Want to do a better job of just in every single game, in every single play, every single situation, trying to make the correct decision," said Stafford, who acknowledged after losses to the Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers that he attempted to be overly aggressive in some scenarios, leading to turnovers, instead of throwing the easy pass. "From a personal standpoint, that's the thing that I'm focused on the most."

Despite recent woes, Stafford still owns the No. 1 total quarterback rating in the NFL at 67.9, throwing 24 touchdown passes with eight interceptions, and propelling the Rams to an average of 27.1 points per game, which ranks No. 4 in the league.

"He does such a good job of being consistent but also making some big-time throws and plays and like he's done throughout his whole career," said Kevin O'Connell, the Rams' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. "Just picking his spots to really understand when to maybe push the limits on a decision and trust his ability to make some tight-window throws versus checking the ball down, throwing completions, getting drives off to good starts -- all those things to kind of allow the consistency of our offense to kind of grab hold."

It's uncertain exactly what form the offense will take Sunday as McVay continues to adjust his scheme following the season-ending injury to No. 2 receiver Robert Woods, who tore his left ACL ahead of Week 10 and was depended on for short, intermediate and deep routes along with serving as an occasional threat out of the backfield.

"It's a collective group to kind of fill some of those responsibilities," O'Connell explained, "while also understanding how we need to maybe adjust and adapt to what our offense may look like now, compared to when you had a player like Robert Woods."

Cooper Kupp remains the NFL's leading receiver with 1,141 receiving yards and 10 receiving touchdowns, which is tied with Tampa Bay's Mike Evans for the NFL lead. Second-year pro Van Jefferson has become a trusted target for Stafford and Odell Beckham Jr., who the Rams signed earlier this month, is quickly learning the offense. McVay said he expected to see a lot of him on Sunday.

"I've been really impressed by what he's been able to grasp thus far," Stafford said about Beckham, who caught two passes for 18 yards against the 49ers before the bye.

An early frontrunner for the NFL's Most Valuable Player, McVay expressed confidence that Stafford will return to form as the Rams gear up for the seven remaining games of the regular season and the playoffs.

"He's a great player," McVay said. "I think he's going to play really well down the stretch for us."