The Atlanta Falcons have had their chances to take control of the NFC South race, and with all four remaining games against teams with losing records, another opportunity lies ahead. The Falcons hope to bolster their division title hopes when they travel to face the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.
Atlanta let one get away in a 29-28 loss to Kansas City last week, slipping into a first-place tie with Tampa Bay at 7-5. Although the Falcons have a favorable schedule down the stretch, their final two games are against division rivals, which could loom large in the case of a tie. “You wouldn’t expect it any other way,” Atlanta coach Dan Quinn told reporters. “This league, we battle. But knowing that we control what we can – that’s a way better feeling than, ‘If this happens, then this happens.’ So we’ll take that on ourselves." The Rams have lost three straight to fade from the playoff picture and are coming off a 26-10 defeat at New England last week in which they were outgained 402-162.
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Falcons -6.5. O/U: 45
ABOUT THE FALCONS (7-5): Atlanta has the league’s top scoring offense, as quarterback Matt Ryan and receiver Julio Jones are having huge years. Ryan ranks second in the league in passing (3,813 yards) and third in touchdown tosses (27) while Jones leads the league in receiving yards (1,253). The Falcons also have the league’s worst pass defense, though, and have been terrible in the red zone - allowing touchdowns on 76.2 percent of drives inside the 20.
ABOUT THE RAMS (4-8): Los Angeles’ offense ranks last in the league, and things have not improved since No. 1 overall draft pick Jared Goff took over at quarterback. After putting up respectable numbers in a loss to New Orleans two weeks ago, Goff went 14-of-32 for just 161 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions against the Patriots. The defense that carried the Rams early in the season has been exposed in the last two games, allowing a season-high 555 yards versus the Saints before giving up 402 last week.
1. Ryan has averaged 308.2 passing yards with 14 touchdowns and three interceptions in his last six road games.
2. Los Angeles DE Robert Quinn has recorded a sack in five straight home contests.
3. Atlanta LB Vic Beasley leads the NFC and ranks second in the league with 10 1/2 sacks while Los Angeles has allowed 31 - including seven in its last two games.
PREDICTION: Falcons 27, Rams 16