Sunday, November 21, 2010

Falcons vs. Rams Game Preview

The St. Louis Rams will take on the Atlanta Falcons today in what I am calling a must win for the St. Louis Rams. The Rams are 4-5 and have won four straight games at home. With their next three games on the road the Rams must beat the Atlanta Falcons to have a chance to win the NFC West.

The Atlanta Falcons come into this contest with the best record in the NFC (7-2) and three straight wins. The Falcons have been the most consistent team in the NFL and their two losses were against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles.

The Atlanta Falcons feature the big three - Matt Ryan is very safe with the ball and has a 16-5 TD to INT ratio, while also producing. The Falcons are 8th in points scored, and 12th in passing. On the ground the Falcons will feature Michael Turner who is 5th in the NFC with 733 yards rushing. Through the air the Falcons have arguably the best receiver in football in Roddy White. White has 70 catches for 934 yards and 7 TDs already

On defense the Falcons are also solid as they are 8th in points allowed. The Falcons leading tackler Curtis Loftin and leading sacker John Abraham are both inured and we will see if they play. If they are out the Rams will have a much easier time moving the ball.

On offense the Falcons will try to control the ball and clock with Michael Turner. The Falcons who are 12th in passing also have a hard time getting the ball to other wide outs. People talk about the Rams and their depth but Harry Douglas is the Falcons #2 wide-out with 16 catches on the season. The Falcons go to Tony Gonzalez and Michael Turner as receivers more than their other wide-outs. The Rams must find a way to get to Ryan and lock down on Roddy White and at least take the deep ball away.

The Rams are coming off of a terrible road loss to the San Francisco 49ers in a game they basically gave away. The Rams must use their confidence at home to win another huge game. The Rams can not afford to lose this game. The Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals should both lose today so the Rams have another chance to make a move in the NFC West. A loss here will drop the Rams to 4-6 and they play their next three games on the road where they simply do not know how to win. I do not see the Rams winning more than one road game so it is very important for them to win out at home for a shot at 8 wins.

The Rams are similar to the Falcons but just without all the talent at the moment. The Rams also will try to control the ball on the ground with Steven Jackson and use a short safe passing game to keep the Falcons off the field. The Rams who are 29th in points scored are going to need to go outside the box today and get the ball down the field to someone.

Key matchups today will be Chris Long who must hurry Matt Ryan, will be going up against a huge RT in Tyson Clabo 6'6" 330 pounds. Long must find a way around Clabo. In the secondary Ron Bartell who is without an interception but has played well in covered will need help against Roddy White. The Rams must lay some hits on White and keep him in front of them.

The Falcons are also running more and more no huddle which the Rams have not seen a lot of. The Rams like to rotate in a lot of players and they may not be able to do that today against the Falcons. Overall I believe the Falcons are just too solid and the Rams just have too much trouble putting up points. I think the Falcons will smother the Rams and control this game. Again I hope I am wrong but I believe the Rams still need some more pieces to win a game like this. The Rams must be at least a +2 in turnover margin to stay in this one.

Prediction Atlanta Falcons 24 - St. Louis Rams 13

By Stlvinnie -

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