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Game Preview: Rams, Falcons seek to end lengthy skids

The Rams (3-3) face the Falcons (1-5) in Los Angeles' final 2019 regular season contest against an NFC South opponent. Kickoff from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta is set for 10 a.m. pacific time.

Both teams are looking to snap extended losing streaks, as the Rams are in the middle of a 3-game skid compared to a 4-game stretch for the Falcons.

To get you ready for the contest, theRams.com compiled a quick preview featuring who to watch, what to watch for on offense and defense for both the Rams and the Falcons and three keys to victory for L.A.

Five players to watch

  • Rams LG David Edwards: After going to Jamil Demby initially when Joe Noteboom was knocked out of the 49ers game due to a season-ending ACL and MCL injury, Los Angeles will give Edwards a shot at the starting left guard spot.
  • Rams CB Darious Williams: He's the next man up if Jalen Ramsey is unable to play.
  • Falcons QB Matt Ryan: His sixth-straight 300-yard passing performance last week tied an NFL record tied an NFL record for 300-yard passing games held by Kurt Warner (2000) and Steve Young (1998), according to ESPN Stats and Info, but Ryan has played at a high level for a long time.
  • Falcons TE Austin Hooper: The former Stanford standout leads the team in receptions (42) and receiving yards (480) .this season.
  • Rams S Marqui Christian: He's the next man up for John Johnson III, who was placed on injured reserve this week.

What to watch for…

On offense for the Rams

How the offensive line looks with another change.

Chemistry was always going to be a work in progress, but Edwards is going to be making his first career start. Even with the reps in practice this week and the preseason, it will likely still take some adjusting.

On offense for the Falcons

Hooper has been Matt Ryan's top target statistically, or at least he's made the most of the opportunities that have come his way, so he should have the attention of the Rams' secondary.

RB Devonta Freeman will also be worth watching, as he's coming off arguably his best performance of the season.

On defense for the Rams

Jalen Ramsey vs. Julio Jones. Ramsey, an elite player in his own right, called Jones an elite receiver Thursday.

For the defense as a unit, the difference Ramsey makes in the secondary, and whether that impact carries over into the pass rush the Rams are able to generate on Sunday.

On defense for the Falcons

How a banged-up secondary looks. Starting safety Ricardo Allen (knee) and backup CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson were limited in Atlanta's first two practices before logging full participation Friday, but starting CB Desmond Trufant (toe) has already been ruled out.

Three keys to victory

  1. Keep the pocket clean: The Rams can only take advantage of the Falcons allowing the sixth-most passing yards per game if QB Jared Goff has ample time to throw.
  2. Choose secondary battles carefully: Jones remains one of the league's top five receivers, but Hooper has been productive for the first six weeks. L.A. can't afford to pay too much attention to one at the cost of diverting it from another. That doesn't account for Freeman, either, who had three catches for 30 yards and two touchdowns last week.
  3. Capitalize on red zone chances: The Falcons surrender the second most points per game, but the 391.3 yards per game (seventh in the NFL) produced by their offense shows they don't have much trouble getting into opponent territory. The Rams can't afford to settle for field goals in a game that will likely be a shootout.

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