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Matchups Week 2: Rams vs. Falcons

Matthew Stafford

Los Angeles Rams (0-1) vs. Atlanta Falcons (0-1)

Spread: Rams -10.

Game Total: 47.5.

Team Totals: Rams (28.75), Falcons (18.75).

Weather: Dome.

The Line Report

  • This line opened as Rams -10.
  • This line moved to Rams -10.5 mid-week.
  • DraftKings Pick’Em has the Rams -10.5.
  • Circa Sports Millions Pro Football Contest has the Rams -10.
  • This total opened at 47.5 points, with a few 47 options available.
  • This total currently remains at 47.5 points. 

Notable Injuries

Rams: C Brian Allen (Out), WR Van Jefferson (Questionable).

Falcons: LB Deion Jones (IR)

The Rams Offense vs. Falcons Defense

Pass protection was a major problem for the Rams on opening night against Buffalo, as Matthew Stafford was sacked 7 times. Thankfully, for the Rams, the Falcons have a bottom-tier front that lacks problematic edge rushers. That puts struggling left tackle Joe Noteboom in a much-needed “get well” spot.

The Falcons have one impact player on their front four: defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, who is coming off a sack-and-a-half performance on opening day. The Rams will be without their center, Brian Allen, against Atlanta. From a macro sense, the Rams may even have a slight edge in the trenches here if Allen was active, but the Jarrett matchup is concerning. 

Notes and Observations

  • The Rams are 0-1 against the spread this season.
  • The Rams are 0-1 on overs this season.
  • Per The Edge, the Rams were not a heavy play-action team last season. That trend continued on opening day as Matthew Stafford was 26th in play-action percentage against Buffalo.
  • Among quarterbacks that breached 1,000 snaps last season (meaning those that didn’t miss time), Stafford had the highest air yards per attempt. On opening night he was 27th, which we can attribute to the Rams' struggles in pressure management.
  • Against New Orleans on opening day, Atlanta gave up the seventh-fewest rushing yards and the third-fewest receiving yards to running backs. That’s noteworthy as it came against Saints running back Alvin Kamara.
  • The Falcons surrendered the fifth-most receiving yards and the seventh-most receptions to wide receivers on opening day.
  • Atlanta was torched on the outside by the Saints, giving up the second-most PPR points to perimeter receivers last week.
  • Per TruMedia Network, Cooper Kupp saw 56.1% of his snaps from the slot and 43.9% of his snaps outside on opening night. Allen Robinson was a non-factor in his first appearance as a Ram, but he saw 77.6% of his snaps on the perimeter against Buffalo.
  • Atlanta gave up the 16th-most yards and the ninth-fewest receptions to tight ends on opening day. 

The Falcons Offense vs. Rams Defense

The presence of Aaron Donald alone makes the Rams a solid front four. This will be one of the better matchups of the season for the Rams front led by Donald and pass rusher Leonard Floyd.

Dating back to last year’s Super Bowl, cornerback Jalen Ramsey has had a couple of tough outings against high-end receivers. As our Head of DFS Jordan Vanek has pointed out, NFL defenses play limited amounts of man and few cornerbacks travel. That said, Ramsey will be a tough draw for Atlanta’s two blue-chip, big-bodied pass catchers in tight end Kyle Pitts and No. 8 overall pick Drake London.

Notes and Observations

  • The Falcons are 1-0 against the spread this season.
  • The Falcons are 1-0 on overs this season.
  • Per The Edge, Marcus Mariota was third in play-action percentage on opening day.
  • Mariota was also a surprising fifth among starters in air yards per attempt in the opener.
  • The Rams yielded the 11th-fewest rushing yards and the 14th-most receiving yards to running backs on opening day.
  • Los Angeles surrendered the most yards and the third-most receptions to enemy wide receivers on opening day.
  • The Rams allowed the third-fewest yards and the third-fewest receptions to tight ends in Week 1.
  • Falcons mismatch weapon, Pitts, is not a traditional tight end. Per TrueMedia Network, Pitts saw 40% of his opening day snaps as an inline tight end, 25% in the slot, and 28.3% on the perimeter. 

This is What You’re Betting On in Rams vs. Falcons

A bet on the Rams is a bet on the defending champs in an obvious correction spot. In the Rams, you’re getting an elite quarterback, one of the best coaches in the game and the best defensive player of this era in Aaron Donald. Despite the blowout loss to Buffalo, Cooper Kupp showed last year was no fluke on opening night. They still have a variety of reliable, high-end talent. The downside here is that 10.5 points is a lot for an NFL game.

A bet on the Falcons is a bet on a talent-poor Atlanta roster exceeding expectations two weeks in a row. Atlanta took the Saints to the brink on opening day and, realistically, should have beat New Orleans. From a pure talent standpoint, the Falcons are ill-equipped to handle the defending champs coming off an embarrassing loss. That said, Atlanta is getting 10.5 points early in the season. They can lose by a touchdown and a field goal while still covering.

Winner/ Confidence Pool: I’m comfortable setting the Rams as the top option in confidence pool rankings. 

Spread Pool: I tend to avoid two-score favorites whenever possible, but there are several factors that have me considering the Rams here. The first is that Los Angeles made a regular habit of blowing out bottom-tier, uncommon opponents last year. The second is the Rams are in an obvious correction spot. Atlanta, on the other hand, is in a classic letdown position after taking the rival Saints to the brink last week. Factor in the Rams coming off a long week, and I haven’t crossed them off as a tournament option.

Survivor: The Rams are a strong survivor choice this week. If you want to check out future survivor spots for the Rams, here you go.

WATCH MORE: Listen to What Rich Gannon Thought About The Rams Following Their Loss to Buffalo