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The Falcons must get the red zone offense right to beat the Rams

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It hasn’t been right for weeks, as we’ve all noticed.

Jacksonville Jaguars v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Tomorrow, when the Atlanta Falcons are taking the field and hopefully readying themselves to beat the Los Angeles Rams, it will help to remember this one bit of wisdom that I am about to share with you. That bit of wisdom is that you should always try to score touchdowns.

The Falcons have, of course, struggled with this in recent weeks. Atlanta has managed three touchdowns just once in its last five games, in that 24-21 victory over the Buccaneers that still managed to turn into a nailbiter. In their other four games, the Falcons have scored zero, two, one, and one touchdowns, for a combined total of seven touchdowns in five games. That’s not very good!

It’s little wonder, then, that Steve Sarkisian is talking about spending time working on the team’s red zone performance for Saturday’s game against the Rams. You’re probably not going to beat Los Angeles by kicking a ton of field goals, sadly, so the Falcons will have to bust out of their scoring slump and make some noise inside the 20. You’ll remember that they moved downfield and had chances against the Saints, Panthers, and even Vikings, but squandered those opportunities thanks to mistakes and uninspiring play calling. It has been a season-long struggle that has become an acute concern, given the postseason stakes the Falcons are now facing.

There’s no magic bullet for improving this red zone offense, or the team probably already would have found it. They just need to try to get favorable matchups for their best red zone options—and Julio Jones and Austin Hooper, who should qualify for that designation, have not had many—and avoid drops and fumbles. They’re good enough to put up 20-plus points on this good-but-not great Rams defense, but if they’re going to continue to drop the ball (ha) in the red zone, Atlanta will struggle to do so.