So far, the Los Angeles Rams’ 2019 campaign has been at least halfway depressing. If you were to allow your spirit to sink even bit further into the darkness though, you would be Falcons-adjacent. The Atlanta Falcons, who many (me) thought might yank the NFC South from the clutches of the New Orleans Saints, have lost three games to good teams on the road, but also were beaten soundly by the Tennessee Titans at home and lost to the Arizona Cardinals.
Head Coach Dan Quinn has taken over the defense which is currently 31st in points allowed and 27th in allowed yardage. Their pass rush has been applesauce averaging a league worst 0.8 sacks per game so far. The Falcons pass defense, which has been missing the services of safety Keanu Neal, is surrendering 11.9 yards per reception and an opponent passer rating of 119.2. All in all, the defense is playing wretchedly despite the talents of linebacker Deion Jones and defensive tackle Grady Jarrett. Oh, and the Falcons’ top cornerback Desmond Trufant will be missing the game Sunday as well per the final injury report.
There’s always the chance that Quinn will go back to playing aggressive and Jarrett and defensive end Vic Beasley will harass Jared Goff into a bunch of mistakes in the Ninja Star Dome, but this week ultimately represents a week where the Rams offense can get well. If they don’t, there really isn’t much hope for this season.
On offense, the Falcons have actually gained a ton of yardage this season and are currently 2nd in the league in passing yards. Sure, they’ve played from behind a bunch, but second is second, and must be respected. Julio Jones hasn’t been playing at the height of his powers, but could be a problem on any given snap. We’ll see how the Rams choose to match up with Jones, now that Jalen Ramsey is in the mix. The Rams will also have to watch receivers Mohamed Sanu and Calvin Ridley, without the services of cornerback Aqib Talib or safety John Johnson III. Then there’s tight end Austin Hooper, who is currently enjoying a career year. If the Rams pass rush can’t win against a struggling Falcon offensive line enough to bother quarterback Matt Ryan, it could become a shootout in Hotlanta. Running back Devonta Freeman, hasn’t had a great year at all, but has played a bit better lately.
This game could look a lot of ways. It feels like a potential get-well game for the Rams who have played a tough schedule so far, but then again things could get sideways quickly if the Falcons connect downfield a couple times early, and the dome gets revved up. It’s really hard to know what to expect, but one of these battered fan bases will get a taste of victory Sunday.
The other, well...the NBA season starts this week.