The Falcons and Rams are coming off excruciating Week 1 losses. The former blew a 16-point fourth-quarter to their most hated rivals, while the latter was embarrassed on national television in the NFL’s season opener. Though LA holds the edge on paper, Atlanta is no slouch and possesses real talent on both sides of the ball. In that breath, here is a look at five Falcons to watch in Week 2 vs. the Rams.
Patterson continued his dominance from last year’s breakout campaign in the 2022 season opener. The veteran logged a career-high 22 carries for 120 rushing yards and one touchdown. The 31-year-old took a bulk of the carries for the Falcons after Damien Williams went down with a ribs injury. Atlanta will likely use him primarily as a rusher, but the Rams must account for his prowess as a pass catcher, which should be utilized in Week 2 more than the prior week.
A.J. Terrell, CB
Terrell is the team’s best defender outside of Grady Jarrett. The corner out of Clemson earned All-Pro honors last year after only allowing 200 total yards, 6.9 yards per reception, and 93 yards after the catch. Terrell didn’t have the game he probably wanted against the Saints, giving up two touchdowns in coverage on Michael Thomas. Terrell will need to have a better performance in Week 2 if the Falcons stand any chance of upsetting the Rams.
Kyle Pitts, TE
As well as Terrell and Patterson, Pitts broke out last season, compiling 1,026 receiving yards while averaging a league-leading 15.1 yards per reception. However, the tight end phenom struggled against the Saints last week. The Florida product was targeted a team-leading seven times but only hauled in two for 19 yards against New Orleans. Arthur Smith will have to get creative this week because the Rams defense will certainly be keying Pitts. The production has to be better moving forward.
Drew Dalman, C and Elijah Wilkinson, LG
I put these two together because of one single person — Aaron Donald. The best defender in football can be a one-man wrecking crew if opposing offenses let him. Donald is a force to be reckoned with, and the Falcons have to come into Sunday with a plan to neutralize him. Dalman and Wilkinson are the new starters along Atlanta’s offensive line and looked great in their Falcons debut against the Saints. They’ll have a real test this week; it’ll give us a great idea of just how effective the changes along the line can be going forward.
Photographer: David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire