Atlanta Falcons vs Los Angeles Rams Live NFL KICKOFF Game: Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. TV: FOX, Dick Stockton, David Diehl, Kristina Pink.
SERIES HISTORY: 77th regular-season meeting. The Rams lead the series, 47-27-2. The Falcons won the last meeting with the St. Louis Rams, 31-24, on Sept. 15, 2013. The Falcons won their last game against the Rams in Los Angeles, 8-5, on Oct. 2, 1994.
Falcons run offense vs. Rams run defense: Devonta Freeman has rushed for 785 yards and seven touchdowns, and also has two touchdown receptions. Tevin Coleman has rushed for six touchdowns. The Rams are giving up 114 yards rushing per game, which ranks 21st in the NFL. Middle linebacker Alec Ogletree has a team-best 112 tackles for a defense that has suffered several run-related lapses the last two games. Saints back Mark Ingram ran for 146 yards two weeks ago, including a 10-yard touchdown run on a fourth-and-one play. Last week, New England’s LeGarrette Blount scored on a 43-yard run on fourth and one.
Special teams: The Rams would be far worse off if not for their punt coverage unit. Johnny Hekker’s 45.8 net-yard average ranks first in the NFL. Bradley Marquez has been a season-long standout for a unit that has forced opponents to start inside the 20-yard line 40 times. Greg Zuerlein has made 16 of 19 field-goal attempts. With Benny Cunningham sidelined because of a neck injury, Mike Thomas or Pharoh Cooper could return kickoffs. Tavon Austin has returned from a chest injury so he will probably supplant Cooper returning punts. Falcons kicker Matt Bryant has made 27 of 29 field-goal attempts, including three of five from 50 yards or farther. Matt Bosher averages 46.9 yards per punt.
Gary Klein’s pick: The Falcons are averaging a league-best 32.2 points a game, more than double the Rams’ league-worst 15. It’s conceivable that the Rams’ defense could have a great day, but even if it holds the Falcons to half their average, there is little evidence to suggest the Rams might outscore them. On the plus side for the Rams, they will be playing at the Coliseum, presumably not in rain, which affected Goff’s first start. With three games under his belt, Goff is gaining confidence. And the Falcons’ defense is a much easier riddle than the Patriots. Still, it’s asking a lot for Goff to outduel Ryan.