Falcons vs. Rams: 3 Keys to the game

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It’s becoming painful to write this segment each week. Because every time I do, the Falcons execute none of it. But like you readers, I’m a trooper, and I will march on regardless of how miserable things get this season. Atlanta has the Rams coming into the Benz this week, who are struggling in their own right. However, Steve Smith called the Falcons “the get right team.” Whatever teams are doing wrong usually gets fixed when they play the Falcons. It’s not easy to accept, but how can you disagree with him after what we’ve seen these last few weeks? Let’s hope something changes, or Atlanta, who had Super Bowls hopes coming into the season, is heading for an unimaginable 1-6.

Pressure the QB

The Falcons have gone up against two notoriously pitiful offensive lines in the Texans and Cardinals the last two weeks. They couldn’t even record a quarterback hit against Deshaun Watson and didn’t sack Kyler Murray once last Sunday. Part of that is because the Falcons pass rush is a laughing stock featuring Vic Beasley, and part of it is because Atlanta’s secondary is so porous, and the defensive scheme is so predictable that quarterbacks can get the ball out of their hands quickly. Quinn said the Cardinals had about 20 passes last week come out in two seconds or less, which is just ridiculous. The Falcons have another miserable offensive line coming into their house this week – this time – the worst unit in the league. If they can’t pressure Goff, they are in trouble, because this secondary has zero chance of covering the Rams weapons.

Julio Jones vs. Jalen Ramsey

If you haven’t heard already, Jalen Ramsey is now a member of the Los Angeles Rams. There’s no official word if he will be ready for Sunday’s game, but if I had to guess, he wouldn’t miss a chance to line up across from the best receiver in the game. This will be a matchup to watch all Sunday, and I’ll be interested to see if the Rams will be willing to leave Ramsey on an island with Jones. I’ve seen teams try to do that, even with the best cornerbacks in the game, and it often turns out terribly. I say this time and time again, Julio Jones is unguardable one-on-one. Even if Ramsey is the best corner in the game, he is going to need help on Sunday, or we could see Jones go off for 150-200 yards.

Neutralize the Rams’ rushing attack

If you go back to last season when the Rams offense was humming, it all revolved around Todd Gurley and their rushing attack. The Patriots were able to take that away in the Super Bowl, and Los Angeles could not move the football. The same thing is happening this year. Los Angeles hasn’t been able to run the ball since Week 2, and it’s no coincidence that they are 1-3 since then with their only win coming in a low-scoring slugfest against the Browns. Two things play into that: Todd Gurley’s inconsistent health and their aforementioned lackluster offensive line. The Falcons have been hot and cold against the run this season, resulting in an opponent’s average of 3.9 yards per carry. If they can neutralize this Rams rushing attack, they might actually be able to keep them in check.

 

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