Special teams spark Falcons past Rams

Experts heavily favoring Rams over Falcons for wild-card matchup

The Atlanta Falcons and Los Angeles Rams were NFC West rivals from 1970 through 1994.

The juxtaposition of the two franchises makes for an interesting storyline as the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is expecting 70,000 fans for the first National Football League playoff game at the stadium in 40 years.

The game between the Falcons and Rams will kick off at 8:15 EST and will be televised on NBC.

Los Angeles would get on the scoreboard in the second quarter when quarterback Jared Goff would find Cooper Kupp for a touchdown, then get to within a field goal when Sam Ficken connected on a field goal just before halftime, cutting the Falcons lead to 13-10. Goff doesn't have as much responsibility in the Rams' offense as Ryan does in the Falcons', but he's been an integral part of their success.

In some respects, the Falcons could now been seen as playing with house money. They clinched the final spot in the playoffs and are the only team in the NFC to return from a year ago. "When you've been through some of the fire together, you come out the other side stronger as a brotherhood".

Per OddsShark, the Rams have an implied team total of 27 points.

The young Rams served notice of their vast potential with a 42-7 shellacking of the Seahawks - who had won the NFC West three of the previous four years - in Seattle two weeks ago.

The NFL playoffs open Saturday night. Los Angeles? Just 21.

"Age doesn't make any difference with me", Phillips said.

"It was actually my first year [in Atlanta], so I remember him really well", Quinn said. "It doesn't matter where we're going, we're going".

The Falcons have won the past four meetings, the most recent being a 42-14 victory in 2016. In the last game he played this season, a Week 16 win for the Rams against the Tennessee Titans in Nashville, Gurley II became just the third player in National Football League history to have at least 100 yards rushing and 150 yards receiving in the same game, joining Ollie Matson (1954) and Herschel Walker (1986).

If you were told last August the Saints would be NFC South champions after an 11-5 season, your money would've been on Drew Brees dropping another 5,000 yards to go along with at least 35 touchdowns.

Now, it's impossible to expect Atlanta's defence to bottle up Rams star Todd Gurley completely, especially on the ground AND in the passing game...

NOTES: Pro Bowl kick returned Pharoh Cooper missed his second straight day of practice with a shoulder injury, but McVay remains confident he will play this weekend.

The health of Julio Jones might play the biggest factor in whether Ryan can put up similar numbers in these playoffs, as the wide receiver comes into the game nursing an injured left thumb.

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