The Rams, a high-scoring machine of gifted receivers, one young quarterback and one versatile running back will have to work this weekend against a well-prepared defense.
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The bigger issue at hand is whether anyone in the L.A. market will care to tune into NBC at 8:15 p.m. ET on Saturday.
This is a team whose attendance was 26th in the league in 2017, although I should note that number coincides with a cap of 65,000 fans per game at the Coliseum this year.
Los Angeles last welcomed a playoff game back in 1993 when the Raiders took on the Broncos in a wild-card game. The Rams last brought postseason hope to L.A. in 1989, although it won a Super Bowl while playing in the confines of St. Louis (1999).
Come to the coast, have a few laughs, win some games and the fans will follow; or so they said. That sentiment gets its first true test this weekend with a home game against the Atlanta Falcons.
If ever there was a time to welcome fair-weather Angelenos onto the bandwagon it would be now.
With a few wins this winter, the franchise may just settle back into L.A. better than it ever has in its history. With just a few more weeks of success it may just solidify itself as the Los Angeles franchise it was always meant to be
Who: Falcons vs. Rams
What: NFC Wild Card playoff game
When: Saturday, January 6, 2018
Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Time: 8:15 p.m. Eastern
Livestream: NBC Sports Live
Line: Rams -6.5
Falcons notes: QB MATT RYAN has 41,796 career pass yards & surpassed PEYTON MANNING (41,626) for most pass yards by player in his 1st 10 seasons in NFL history. Passed for 4,095 yards, his franchise-record 7th consecutive season with 4,000+ yards. In his past 3 games vs. Rams, has 864 pass yards (288 per game), 7 TDs & 0 INTs for 114.4 rating. Has 1,410 pass yards (352.5 per game), 12 TDs & 1 INT for 129.2 rating in his past 4 playoff games. Aims for his 5th in row in postseason with 100+ rating. * RB DEVONTA FREEMAN had 1,182 scrimmage yards, his 3rd consecutive season with 1,000+ scrimmage yards. In 3 career playoff games, has 330 scrimmage yards (110 per game) & 3 TDs (2 rush, 1 rec.). RB TEVIN COLEMAN aims for his 4th playoff game in row with TD. * WR JULIO JONES led NFC with 1,444 rec. yards. Has 9,054 career rec. yards & reached 9,000 yards in his 95th game, fastest in NFL history. In his past 4 postseason games, has 30 receptions for 516 yards (129 per game) & 5 TDs. WR MOHAMED SANU has TD catch in 2 of his past 3 playoff games. * LB DEION JONES ranked 2nd in NFC with career-high 138 tackles. Has FF, INT & 3 PD in 3 career playoff games. S KEANU NEAL led NFC safeties with 113 tackles. Had career-high 13 tackles in SB LI. LB TAKKARIST MC KINLEY was only NFL rookie with 5+ sacks (6) & 2+ FFs (2). DE ADRIAN CLAYBORN led team with career-high 9.5 sacks. CB ROBERT ALFORD ranked 4th in NFL with 20 PD.
Rams notes: QB JARED GOFF ranked 3rd in NFC in rating (100.5) & tied for 5th in NFL in TD passes (28). Had 3 games with 300+ pass yards, 3+ TD passes & 0 INTs, most in NFC. * RB TODD GURLEY led NFL with 2,093 scrimmage yards & 19 TDs. Is 3rd different player in NFL history to have 2,000+ scrimmage yards (2,093), 10+ rush TDs (13) & more than 5 TD catches (6) in single season (HOFers O.J. SIMPSON, 1975 & MARSHALL FAULK, 2000 & 2001). Had 83 scrimmage yards & rush TD in last game vs. Atl. * WR ROBERT WOODS had career-best 781 rec. yards & tied career-high with 5 TDs. WR COOPER KUPP ranked 2nd among NFL rookies in rec. yards (869), 4th in receptions (62) & tied for 4th in TD catches (5). Set franchise rookie records in receptions, rec. yards & TD catches. WR SAMMY WATKINS has TD in 4 of his past 5. * DT AARON DONALD led team & tied career-high with 11 sacks & had 5 FFs, most among NFL DTs. Had sack in last game vs. Atl. Since entering league in 2014, leads NFL DTs with 39 sacks. LB ROBERT QUINN has 6 sacks & 2 FFs in his past 6. Had sack in only career game vs. Atl. (9/15/13). Since 2011, is 1 of 3 in NFL with 60+ sacks (62.5) & 20+ FFs (20). LB ALEC OGLETREE led team with 95 tackles, his 4th time in past 5 seasons leading Rams in tackles. LB MARK BARRON has 2 FRs in his past 3 vs. Atl. CB TRUMAINE JOHNSON led team with 14 PD. — NFL