By The Associated Press
Jan. 05, 2018
LOS ANGELES (AP) — ATLANTA (10-6) vs LOS ANGELES RAMS (11-5)
Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET, NBC
OPENING LINE — Rams by 5
RECORD VS. SPREAD — Atlanta 7-9, Los Angeles 9-7
SERIES RECORD — Rams lead 47-29-2
LAST MEETING — Falcons beat Rams, 42-14, Dec. 11, 2016
LAST WEEK — Falcons beat Panthers 22-10; 49ers beat Rams 34-13
AP PRO32 RANKING — Falcons No. 9, Rams No. 4
FALCONS OFFENSE — OVERALL (8), RUSH (13), PASS (8).
FALCONS DEFENSE — OVERALL (9), RUSH (9), PASS (12).
RAMS OFFENSE — OVERALL (10), RUSH (8), PASS (10).
RAMS DEFENSE — OVERALL (19), RUSH (28), PASS (13).
STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — Rams' first playoff game in 13 years is against defending NFC champions. ... Falcons were NFL's highest-scoring team last year. Rams were tops this year. ... Falcons in postseason for second straight year after last season ended with memorable collapse in Super Bowl. ... Falcons routed Rams 42-14 at Coliseum in December 2016. Rams coach Jeff Fisher was fired next day, eventually paving way for Sean McVay, who went to high school near Atlanta. ... QB Matt Ryan making sixth playoff trip in 10 years. He had 20 TD passes this season after throwing 38 last year as league MVP. ... Rams offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur was Ryan's quarterbacks coach last season. ... Falcons' offense didn't flow under first-year coordinator Steve Sarkisian, who coached USC at Coliseum until getting fired in 2015. ... Falcons put starting LG Andy Levitre on injured reserve this week, changing O-line dynamic with Rams line-wrecker Aaron Donald looming. ... Falcons WRs Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu remain among NFL's best duos, combining for 2,147 yards and eight TDs. ... Rams GM Les Snead was in Falcons' front office for 13 years, and assistant GM Brian Xanders worked for Falcons for 14 years. ... Rams earned first winning season and NFC West title since 2003 and first playoff berth since 2004 season with spectacular one-year transformation under McVay, now youngest coach to make playoffs in NFL history, breaking record set by 33-year-old Ray Flaherty with Washington in 1936. ... No rookie head coach won NFL playoff game in any of past four seasons. ... Rams hosting wild-card playoff game for second time in franchise history, first since December 1984 in Anaheim. Rams haven't had playoff game at Coliseum since Jan. 7, 1979. ... Rams are only 4-10 at Coliseum in two seasons since relocation, going 3-4 this year. ... LA went from 32nd in NFL in scoring in 2016 to first in 2017. ... RB Todd Gurley led NFL with 2,093 yards from scrimmage and 19 total TDs. ... Rams LT Andrew Whitworth was key to turnaround. He is 0-6 in playoffs during career spent previously with Cincinnati. Whitworth is one of six Rams with playoff experience. ... Counting on new K Sam Ficken after Pro Bowl selection Greg Zuerlein got hurt last month. ... Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was Falcons defensive coordinator and interim head coach in 2003. ... Rams' last playoff game was at Atlanta in January 2005. Michael Vick ran for 119 yards in Falcons' 47-17 win. ... Rams are second team in NFL history to host playoff game in temporary home stadium. Minnesota did it three years ago.