Atlanta, GA (CBSLA)- The Los Angeles Rams entered 2019 with aspirations of returning to the Super Bowl and showing that there would be no hangover from their loss to the Patriots.
Things started off great with three straight victories over the Panthers, Saints and Browns. Then the train derailed a bit with three straight losses. The defense faltered in the first two (55-40 loss to Buccaneers; 30-29 loss to the Seahawks), then the offense clammed up last week (20-7 loss to the 49ers). Now 3-3 and trailing the 49ers by two games in the division, things look quite a bit more desperate.
In response, the team made a splash by acquiring top corner Jalen Ramsey from the Jacksonville Jaguars, while trading Marcus Peters to the Baltimore Ravens. Ramsey, arguably the league’s top cover corner, should help sure up a pass defense that ranks 20th in efficiency so far this season.
Adding Ramsey is a plus for the defense, while a matchup with the Atlanta Falcons and their porous defense is a plus for the offense. Atlanta is 1-5 on the season with the lone victory coming against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2, a game in which the Eagles saw multiple key players go out with injuries mid-game. The defense, under a defensive-minded head coach in Dan Quinn, has been disappointing.
CBS Local’s Katie Johnston notes that Atlanta “struggles to keep offenses off the board”, allowing opponents 31 points per game, which is only above the Miami Dolphins this season. Furthermore, the team has notched just five sacks on the year, and is allowing opposing passers to complete 71.4 percent of their passes, while averaging over 271 yards per game through the air. The performance of the defense in particular and the team overall leads Johnston to believe that Quinn “might be out of a job before the end of this season.”
That pass defense may be just the tonic an ailing Rams offense needs coming off that seven-point outing against San Francisco. According to Johnston, Goff should “manage to feel comfortable stomping on the Falcons defense up and down the field at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.” Considering that the Falcons pass defense ranks 31st in efficiency this season, that seems likely.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium was a house of horrors for the Rams offense in February against the Patriots, but Johnston believes they will be able to exorcise some of those demons against the Falcons on Sunday.
“It won’t be a blowout, considering play makers for the Rams are either injured (Todd Gurley) or underwhelmingly performing right now, but the Rams will take the win Sunday,” said Johnston.
The Rams are three-point favorites entering Sunday’s matchup in Atlanta. Kickoff is set for 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time.