They did it. The Atlanta Falcons made the playoffs. They did it despite being one of the most frustrating playoff-caliber Falcons teams I can remember, and despite the fact that the NFC South was unusually great this year, even by its own lofty standards. The division sent three teams to the playoffs, and the Falcons squeaked in as the #6 seed after dispatching the Panthers in Week 17 and watching Seattle lose. Either one of those would have done the trick, but hey, bonus!
Their reward is an opportunity to face a tough Rams team on the road, in what is anything but a cakewalk matchup for Atlanta. The Falcons will have to play stellar run defense to contain Todd Gurley, be disciplined to keep a potent Rams passing attack in check, and incredibly effective blocking to keep Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers out of the backfield. It’s a winnable matchup—every single one in the NFC is, honestly—but Atlanta’s not going to squeak by if they play their usual brand of error-filled, opportunity-squandering ball.
Here’s the essential information for tomorrow night’s game. Are you excited?
#6 Atlanta Falcons vs. #3 Los Angeles Rams
What: NFC Wild Card Round
Time: Saturday, January 6, 8:25 p.m. EST
Location: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California
TV Channel: NBC
Radio: 92.9 The Game
Odds: The Falcons are 5-6 point underdogs, depending on who you ask
Prediction: Falcons win, 24-21
Key Questions: Can the Falcons contain Todd Gurley? Will the Rams be able to hold Julio Jones in check? Can Atlanta score in the red zone for basically the first time in five weeks?
SB Nation Opposition Site: Turf Show Times