Breakdown: If you call winning six of the last eight games in the second half of the season a hangover, then I hope Dan Quinn gets a couple kegs delivered to the locker room before Saturday’s game.
As I wrote in last week’s article, I told Atlanta fans not to worry because the Falcons would beat the Panthers and clinch a wild card spot. Though I said it would be due to Matt Ryan’s aerial attack (which he threw for 300+ yards), mainly the defense deserves to be credited for their second consecutive postseason appearance. Grady Jarrett and the rest of the defensive line was all over Cam Newton, but will they get to Jared Goff?
After so many costly mistakes and turnovers, the offense knows to be careful with the ball at this point. If they manage the ball on their side, there isn’t really much to be concerned about. The matchup to key in on is the Falcons defense against the Rams offense.
More than likely the coach of the year, Sean McVay has revamped and breathed life into his offense. The difference between Jared Goff in 2016 and this season is night and day. Goff and MVP candidate Todd Gurley have been the main reasons behind a more open offense that has confused defenders this season. It’s hard to stop them. Atlanta’s mission is to stare down Gurley and limit him in the passing game, because that is what’s leading to the openness and allowing Gurley to score 40 fantasy points a game (still mad I didn’t draft him).
If Atlanta’s outside rushers effectively read the screen plays thrown in Gurley’s direction, the Falcons will come away with a big road win in only the second postseason meeting ever between these two teams.
Prediction: Atlanta 20, Los Angeles 17