Even though most NFL players tend to shrug off the idea that they’re driven to exact revenge from a previous loss (especially if it’s a nasty one) when they play that team again, I believe that these guys have so much pride that they have to bring that emotion into these games.
When the Los Angeles Rams face the Atlanta Falcons on Wild Card Weekend, guys like DT Aaron Donald, DT Michael Brockers, and LB Robert Quinn are going to be pumped up for a playoff game just like new Rams players like WR Cooper Kupp and WR Robert Woods. However, the players on last year’s squad are going to have some extra incentive when they glare at QB Matt Ryan as he lines up behind center. This is the team that gave them the worst drubbing of the season last year. 42 to 14. A loss so bad that the Rams became an official embarrassment to the NFL.
And now we’re in the playoffs and Aaron Donald is going to kick the Falcons’ ass so hard it’s going to be hilarious.
Let’s get bold.
Matt Ryan will be sacked 7 times
If you’ve been watching the Falcons this year, you’ve noticed that their offense isn’t like it was last year. It’s boring. They don’t try any innovative sets — WR Julio Jones and their other receivers can’t get open as often; it’s not fun to watch. Wade Phillips is going to key in on this and make Matt Ryan pay once they fall behind and are forced to pass. Look for Aaron Donald to get all of his adrenaline out early, strip sacking Ryan in the first quarter. Michael Brockers, Donald, and Robert Quinn will collectively sack the QB 7 times, two those turning into turnovers.
Jared Goff’s first throw will be a deep bomb to Sammy Watkins for a TD
Coach McVay is going to set the tone for the game immediately, showing that that the Rams’ offense has more weapons than the Falcons can handle.
Todd Gurley will get his yards on the ground, the old fashioned way
The non-bold prediction would be that Gurley will eat all day with screen passes, accumulating an obscene amount of yards after the catch. But, since we’re being bold, look for Coach McVay to call some creative running plays for Gurley. The Falcons have been pretty legit at stopping the run as of late — since allowing a season-high 201 rushing yard in Week 9 to the Carolina Panthers, Atlanta have given up just 93.6 yards per game on the ground. But Todd Gurley is rested and ready to rock, shocking the Falcons D with 145 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns.
The Falcons will make several penalties that will ruin them
In the nicest way possible, the Falcons don’t have elite coaching. They aren’t great at causing turnovers and even when they do, they end up racking up penalties that negate the play. In fact, the Falcons had five interceptions this year that were called back due to penalties. I predict that their defense will meltdown once Goff and Gurley get rolling, making silly penalties and in the end, the Falcons will cause zero turnovers.
Pharoh Cooper will take a kick return to the house
The crowd is going to like this one (this take was brought to you by Captain Obvious). Cooper is proving to be clutch in this position and I got a great feeling about him for this game.
I am going to eat 3 helpings of nachos at the game
I will be sitting in the end zone seats with the Rams season ticket holders, making some major dietary mistakes. I love nachos, even overpriced ones. So, as the Rams win and the crowd goes nuts, my Rams shirt will be covered in a glorious nacho cheese sauce. Whose house? Rams house.
This game is going to be emotional and fun. The Rams will take is easily, 38-17 (but 14 of those points for the Falcons are going to come in garbage time). Soak it up, Ramily!