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Colts' defense to have hands full with Trent Richardson

The NFL is all about matchups. Finding an area to exploit and taking advantage. Sometimes that's easier said than done.

Here are three matchups that will go a long way in deciding games this weekend:

Green Bay Packers pass offense vs. St. Louis Rams pass defense

Aaron Rodgers regained his MVP touch with six touchdown passes against the previously undefeated Houston Texans last week. Even with Greg Jennings (groin) out, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Randall Cobb, Donald Driver and Jermichael Finley make up one of the league's best receiving corps.

The Rams bring the No. 5 pass defense (207.8 yards per game) to the field. Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins already are one of the better cornerback duos in the NFL. Finnegan signed as a free agent, and Jenkins is the rookie.

The Rams  have to win this matchup to have a chance Sunday.

Indianapolis Colts run defense vs. Cleveland Browns RB Trent Richardson

The Colts just served up 252 rushing yards on 44 carries to the New York Jets last week. And they'll be without linebacker Robert Mathis (knee), defensive end Cory Redding (knee) and defensive tackle Fili Moala (knee).

The Browns feature Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate Trent Richardson. He leads the team with 340 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Richardson also is their No. 1 receiver with 22 receptions for 186 yards and a score. Richardson has dealt with injured ribs this week, but he has been cleared to play.

The Browns  need to exploit this matchup and keep Andrew Luck on the sideline.

New Orleans Saints pass offense vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass defense

Drew Brees is on pace to break the single-season passing yardage record (5,476) that he set last year. 'Nuff said.

The Bucs' pass defense is ranked No. 31 (312.2 yards per game) in the NFL. Only the Washington Redskins are worse. They haven't pressured the quarterback -- eight sacks is No. 28 in the league -- but have been able to pick off eight passes (No. 5). Oh, and they're without starting cornerback Aqib Talib, who has been suspended for four games for testing positive for Adderall.

Tampa Bay doesn't have a prayer if it can't hang within this matchup.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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