The Atlanta Falcons (1-5) will welcome the defending NFC Champion Los Angeles Rams (3-3) to Mercedes Benz Stadium in a battle between two teams trying to define their defensive identities.
Things have not gone as planned for either the Atlanta Falcons or Los Angeles Rams this season with both teams trying desperately to find answers on defense. A loss by the Falcons would all but wipe away any slim chance of making the playoffs they might have, and a loss by the Rams will put them in a difficult spot in one of the most competitive divisions in the league.
Falcons vs Rams Gameday Info via AtlantaFalcons.com
When: Sun, Oct. 20, 1:00 p.m. ET
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium
TV Announcers: Play-by-play Sam Rosen, color analyst Charles Davis, sideline reporter Pam Oliver
Radio: 92.9 The Game
Radio Announcers: Play-by-play Wes Durham, Color analyst Dave Archer
Good seats still available at StubHub.com
Falcons vs Rams: Betting Odds and Lines
The Rams are currently 3-point favorites, per The Action Network, with the over/under sitting at a consensus 54.5 points. Considering the struggles these two defensive units have had in recent weeks, that might be a pretty low total.
With the way Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has been heating up in recent weeks, and the gaping holes due to injuries and subpar play on Atlanta’s defense, we could be looking at another shootout with the last team holding the ball winning the game.
The Rams primary offensive weapon, running back Todd Gurley II, was sidelined last week and has been limited in practice thus far this week. It’s likely Gurley will be a game-time decision. Without him in the lineup, the Falcons pass rush has a chance to key on Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who has looked fallible when pressured this season.
Falcons Injury Report
The biggest injury concerns for the Falcons this week are on defense. Defensive end Takkarist McKinley, who has not practiced as of Friday, according to AtlantaFalcons.com is questionable for Sunday’s game. McKinley is suffering from a groin injury, which can be lengthy rehabs. Cornerback Desmond Trufant will not play, which is another blow to an already thin Falcons secondary. Other notable players who have been limited in practice this week include fullback Keith Smith, offensive guard James Carpenter, defensive end Adrian Clayborn, and wide receiver Julio Jones.
A healthy Julio Jones would be able to feast on a Rams secondary that has been a bit suspect this season. Los Angeles just traded for cornerback Jalen Ramsey from the Jacksonville Jaguars, but with less than a week to learn the Rams playbook and get some practice in, he may not be able to have a big impact on the game.
Rams Injury Report
The Rams could possibly be missing three key players for this game, with running back Malcolm Brown, and linebacker Clay Matthews both missing practices this week. It’s possible both could still play, but not having to face Matthews will allow the Falcons offensive line to key on game-wrecker Aaron Donald.
Falcons Fantasy Football Outlook
Normally against a stingy Rams defense, you might look to another option at quarterback if Matt Ryan is slotted as your starter. However, this isn’t the 2018 Rams defense, and if the offensive line can give Ryan some protection, his hot streak of 300-plus yard games will likely continue. Keep an eye on the Clay Matthews injury. If he ends up being able to play, that could change things a lot for the Rams pass rush.
Julio Jones’s hip injury has limited him in practice and effectiveness. It’s hard to sit a guy like Jones when you have him on your roster, but if you have another strong WR1, it might be wise to bump Jones down this week.
Despite some unexpected struggles on defense, it’s still pretty difficult to run against the Rams, who are only giving up 3.5 yards per carry and 105 rushing yards per game. Devonta Freeman isn’t the kind of back who has success against the Rams, so probably best to sit Freeman or possibly relegate him to a flex option if you’re carrying him and have some bye week issues.
Sit ’em: RB Devonta Freeman, WR Justin Hardy, ATL Defense