In the second game of Wild Card Weekend the Atlanta Falcons make the long trip west to take on the Los Angeles Rams in Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
The defending NFC champion Atlanta Falcons started the season with a Super Bowl hangover at 4-4. They then righted the ship, going 6-2 in their last 8 games to just squeak into the final NFC wild card spot. The fall from grace was led by quarterback Matt Ryan, who after putting up all time great numbers in 2016 experienced a textbook example of reversion to the mean, reverting to the form he displayed in every year of his career other than 2016. With Ryan falling hard the Falcons offense went from other worldly to just good, and the team lost its mojo. This is still a deep, talented and dangerous offense, with Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu at receiver and Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman at running back. For all its talent, however, the Falcons struggled all year to put points on the board, putting up 24 or fewer points in 10 of their 16 games.
The Los Angeles Rams, on the other hand, had no such problems. The Rams, led by second year sensation Jared Goff at quarterback and All Pro Todd Gurley at running back, put an explosive offense on the field. Goff was 5th in the NFL in passer rating and Gurley led the NFL in yards from scrimmage. Led by Goff and Gurley the Rams offense put up more points than any team in the NFL. The Rams scored 32 or more points an absurd 9 times in the 2017 season. It's tough to beat a team that explosive.
The Rams have had one achilles heel all season: the odd home field disadvantage. On the road the Rams put up a sterling 7-1 record, but at home the Rams were just 4-4. This game is at home for the Rams; it will be interesting to see how they respond.
It's the Rams and the Falcons in what could be a wild shootout in La La Land. Enjoy the game everybody.