Atlanta Falcons @ Los Angeles Rams Tips | Saturday 6th January 2018
NFL boffin Tom Selwyn analyses the weekend’s NFL wildcard play-off matches, continuing from Los Angeles.
Atlanta Falcons @ Los Angeles Rams | Sunday 7th January 2018, 01:15 | Sky Sports
It’s quite hard to believe how big a difference, especially to the offense, that new coach Sean McVay has made to this Rams team and this could quite easily be the game of the weekend if Atlanta, who played a great game last week to secure their play-off spot, plays to their potential.
The Falcons certainly didn’t make it easy this year and the offense seemed to suffer without Kyle Shanahan coordinating, but in the end they made it to the post-season and can still pose a threat to any team.
They have a fast, young defence and boast QB Matt Ryan, WR Julio Jones and RB Devonta Freeman on offense – a trio that only really Pittsburgh can better. If they can stop Rams RB Todd Gurley (easier said than done), they will definitely have a chance to pull off an upset.
With that being said, the Rams are rightly the favourites and I expect them to win. They are very good in all phases – offense, defence, special teams – and, crucially for me, have such a diverse offense designed to keep opposing teams off balance.
I fully expect McVay to have spent all week drawing up a variety of misdirection plays to take advantage of Atlanta’s defensive speed.
Player to Watch – Atlanta
Deion Jones – LB: If the Falcons are to stop Gurley, a lot will fall on Jones. Gurley is just as dangerous in the passing game as he is in the running game and Jones figures to be key in trying to stop him in both.
Player to Watch – Los Angeles
Todd Gurley – RB: Could it be anyone else? Gurley has accounted for over 2,000 yards and 19 TDs this season, with 591 yards and eight TDs in his last three games alone. He’s been a joy to watch.