Ultimately, we all watch football for the same reason: To see our team win and hopefully watch a good game. The rest is just icing on the cake.
There's plenty of icing this week. The Falcons will host the Rams in a game that will serve as a homecoming for one executive, a chance to face the past for one player and a chance to determine the direction of the season.
Here are the story lines to think about heading into tomorrow's game.
Steven Jackson vs. Rams
Steven Jackson was drafted by the Rams back in 2004. He's had a decent career since then, if you call rushing for 10,000 yards, scoring 64 touchdowns and reeling in 412 balls for 3,369 yards decent.
This will only be Jackson's second game out of a St. Louis uniform, and he gets to play the team he had a pretty legendary career for. He's not young any more, but as he showed us a week ago, there's enough tread left on those tires to make him mighty dangerous. Given the Falcons' struggles in pass protection and Roddy White's continuing high ankle sprain woes, Jackson's going to get all he can handle against his former team.
S-Jax won't lack for motivation in this game, and I expect him to have a nice one. It's likely to be a bittersweet day for Jackson, but i'm hoping it leans toward sweet.
Les Snead vs. Thomas Dimitroff
Snead was one of Dimitroff's trusted lieutenants for years, and he certainly deserves a lot of credit for helping to assemble the Falcons team that has brought winning football back to Atlanta. Now he'll be watching the Rams he rebuilt play his former team.
Snead made a name for himself in scouting, and he's clearly excellent at it. Under his watch, the Rams have released a lot of crappy holdovers, added genuine talent on both sides of the ball and look like a very underrated, dangerous team for 2013. They may not be there yet—the 49ers and Seahawks play in their division, after all—but this is a team on the rise.
His former boss is trying to finesse the difficult job of keeping a potential Super Bowl contender going with getting a younger roster together, and certainly the jury's still out on how that's going.
It'll be interesting to see how the teams these two have built fare against one another.
The Rest Of The Season
The Rams will be trying to start the season 2-0 for the first time in years. The Falcons will be trying to avoid their first 0-2 start of the Mike Smith era. Considering how tough the NFC South and NFC West are likely to be, these are important little milestones for both teams.
What story lines will you be watching?