Falcons vs Rams: Potential playoff opponents
5 January 2018 Opinion
As Matt Ryan would say, “GET FUCKING SET!” The playoffs are coming…
The Falcons are flying to the west coast to face the Los Angeles Rams Saturday. The weather forecasts a cloudy but mild weather day for the wildcard match up.
Last year the Atlanta Falcons were soaring through the playoffs with the luxury of home-field advantage and an explosive offense but the picture has now changed. The LA Rams are now the highest-scoring offense in the league and will host last year’s NFC Champions for their first playoff run since 2004.
Under new coaching, the Rams are much improved since last season when these two teams faced so we will put very little weight into that 42- 14 Falcons victory.
THINGS TO KNOW FOR ATLvsLA:
Falcons’ starting left guard Andy Levitre was just put on IR. Rams had a tough few blows in December losing starting CB Kayvon Webster and pro-bowl kicker Greg Zuerlein for the year. Otherwise, both teams have been fortunate on the injury front this season and are largely healthy rosters going into Saturday’s game.
NOTABLE RAMS ADVANTAGES:
Per Next Gen, Rams’ Aaron Donald lined up across from opposing left guards on 46.7% of his snaps. This is a huge benefit for the Rams’ defense as he will now be facing a backup offensive lineman when lining up there.
Having home-field advantage will go a long way for a quarterback’s first postseason experience. Goff will have all his weapons including Robert Woods, who missed a few games this season, on the field. Easier said than done to shut down a running back playing at Todd Gurley’s level this season.
NOTABLE FALCONS ADVANTAGES:
The Falcons have the 9th best run defense and 12th best passing defense for the season. On a Gurley-depended offense, the Falcons have a chance to shut him down and force the 2nd-year quarterback to beat them through the air.
Matt Ryan’s playoff experience should help vs the Rams defense but the real truth is the Rams have a poor run defense. Having Freeman and Coleman against the 28th ranked run defense is always an advantage. With Webster now out for the Rams secondary, the 13th ranked passing defense may struggle more against Julio Jones and all the Falcons’ receiving weapons.
If the Falcons are able to beat the Rams this Saturday, they would be the Eagles divisional opponent next week. Otherwise, the Rams will go to Minneapolis to face the Vikings. Many feel it’d be difficult for the Falcons to pull off a victory over the Rams but looking at the match ups on paper, it is very possible.