The Rams are just 24 hours away from welcoming the Atlanta Falcons to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for this year’s NFC Wild Card round. Los Angeles will be making its first playoff appearance in over a decade and will be looking to keep things rolling after an incredible 11-5 season.
And with the playoffs just around the corner, we took to the sports media landscape to figure out who the top sports analysts are picking in Saturday’s contest:
Bleacher Report: Rams
Prediction — Rams 27, Falcons 24
“No one in the NFL is as hot as Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley following two incredible performances against the Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans to close his regular season. Now he faces an Atlanta Falcons team that hasn't fared well against pass-catching running backs. Per Football Outsiders, Atlanta ranked just 21st of 32 NFL teams in DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) against running backs through the air.”
CBS Sports, Pete Prisco: Falcons
Prediction — Falcons 5.5 at Rams
“I think the playoff-experienced Falcons can go on the road and win against a Rams team with little playoff experience. So if you are going to give me that many points, I will grab them. In fact, I am calling the Atlanta victory as they run on the league's 30th-ranked run defense when it comes to per-carry average. Upset special.”
NFL.com, Elliot Harrison*: Rams *
Prediction — Rams 28, Falcons 20
“Taking the Rams at home in what should be an entertaining Saturday night game. While these defenses are fairly even (slight edge to Atlanta), the Rams' multi-barreled attack will be too much.”
Pro Football Talk, Mike Florio](http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/01/04/pfts-wild-card-picks-7/): Falcons**
Prediction: Falcons 27, Rams 23
“The Rams are believed to have wanted to slide to No. 4 on the playoff tree, so that they’d face the Panthers instead of the Falcons this weekend. It didn’t work out that way. The Rams may be the best team playing this weekend, but they also may be the home team most vulnerable to losing. If the Falcons can hold a fourth-quarter lead.”
Prediction: Rams 32, Falcons 21
“The Rams have been perhaps the most fun team in the league this year, with exciting young players on offense and defense, not to mention an exciting young coach. It’s a shame that they still haven’t really caught on in Los Angeles, but maybe a playoff win will do the trick. They should win this game handily, as they’re a better team than the Falcons on offense, defense and special teams.”
Yahoo! Sports*: Rams *
Prediction — Rams 31, Falcons 26
“Over the last six weeks the Falcons have given up 23 points or fewer in each game; that included two games against the Saints and single ones against the Vikings and Panthers, all potent offenses. The irresistible force of the Rams offense — led by Todd Gurley, who led the NFL in combined rushing and receiving yards — should still be too much.”
New York Times*: Rams *
“The Rams got an M.V.P.-caliber season from running back Todd Gurley II, and when he was not chewing up yardage as a rusher and receiver, quarterback Jared Goff stretched defensive backfields with a receiving corps led by Robert Woods, Sammy Watkins and Cooper Kupp.
The Falcons playoff experience might overwhelm the youthful Rams, but more recent performances suggest the Falcons will be overmatched.”
Prediction — Seven out of 10 ESPN NFL analysts picked the Rams to win the NFC Wild Card round.