Changes are coming for this Falcons team, who are now sitting at 1-5 and are in the midst of a four-game losing streak. We’ve seen the offense catch fire over the last two games, scoring 32 and 33 points, respectively. Sadly, it hasn’t mattered because the defense continues to give up more than that. It’s truly an awful state of affairs when you score that number of points and still find yourself in double-digit deficits every week.
The sledding doesn’t get any easier in Week 7, when the Falcons take on the Los Angeles Rams (3-3). The Rams have had their own share of struggles this season, particularly in a division that is absolutely stacked with talented teams in the undefeated 49ers (5-0) and nearly-as-good Seahawks (5-1). Los Angeles is in desperate need of a win to keep pace in the playoff hunt, while Atlanta likely needs to find a win in the next two games to give Quinn any hope of keeping his job.
Let’s take a closer look at how the Falcons and Rams compare statistically on offense and defense heading into Week 7.
|Points/game||23.5 (15th)||17.9 (27th)|
|Total yards/game||370.3 (11th)||344.8 (20th)|
|Yards per play||5.5 (15th)||5.4 (18th)|
|Passing yards/game||288.9 (4th)||235.8 (14th)|
|Passing yards per attempt||7.4 (T-14th)||6.8 (T-18th)|
|Passing TDs||27 (T-5th)||20 (T-19th)|
|Rushing yards/game||81.4 (30th)||109.0 (15th)|
|Rushing yards per attempt||3.7 (T-26th)||4.5 (T-11th)|
|Rushing TDs||8 (T-23rd)||3 (32nd)|
|Third Down Efficiency||42% (14th)||33% (28th)|
|Turnover Margin||-6 (25th)||-3 (20th)|
Atlanta has continued to improve on offense since they bottomed out in Week 4 against the Titans. The Falcons are now 16th in scoring, 7th in total yardage, and 6th in yards per play. They’ve been elite in the passing game: 2nd in passing yardage, T-9th in yards per attempt, and leading the league in passing TDs with 15. The opposite is true on the ground: Atlanta is 29th in rushing yardage, T-23rd in yards per carry, and T-24th in rushing TDs with just 2 on the season. The Falcons have been very good on third down, converting 48% of their opportunities (7th), but they remain near the bottom of the league in turnover margin (-5, T-27th).
The Rams, meanwhile, haven’t quite had the league-leading offense they had hoped for. Los Angeles is currently T-10th in scoring, 12th in total yardage, and just 22nd in yards per play. In the passing game, the team is 6th in passing yardage, T-19th in yards per attempt, and T-19th in passing TDs. On the ground, the Rams are 22nd in rushing yardage, T-14th in yards per carry, and T-2nd in rushing TDs with 9 on the year. They’ve been about league-average on third down, converting 38% of opportunities (18th), and have also struggled with turnovers this season (-3 margin, T-23rd).
|Points/game||26.1 (25th)||25.2 (23rd)|
|Total yards/game||362.6 (20th)||372.4 (24th)|
|Yards per play||5.8 (21st)||6.0 (28th)|
|Passing yards/game||253.7 (23rd)||232.3 (14th)|
|Passing yards per attempt||7.8 (T-24th)||7.9 (26th)|
|Passing TDs||25 (22nd)||21 (T-15th)|
|Rushing yards/game||108.9 (16th)||140.1 (29th)|
|Rushing yards per attempt||4.1 (T-10th)||5.1 (31st)|
|Rushing TDs||13 (T-20th)||19 (31st)|
|Third Down Efficiency||43% (24th)||41% (22nd)|
|Sacks||24 (T-29th)||43 (T-5th)|
The Falcons defense continues to get worse every week, and surrendered another 30+ point game to the Cardinals. Atlanta is now 31st in points allowed—ahead of only the tanking Dolphins—26th in total yardage allowed, and 27th in yards per play. They’ve been miserable against the pass: 27th in yardage allowed, 30th in yards per attempt, and 31st in passing TDs allowed. On the ground, the Falcons have been slightly better: 20th in rushing yardage allowed, 9th in yards per carry (allowing only 3.9), and T-20th in rushing TDs. Atlanta has been the league’s worst third down defense, allowing an incredible 56% conversion rate. They’ve also failed to record a sack since Week 3, and are tied for the lowest number of sacks with, once again, the tanking Dolphins.
Los Angeles’ defense has been far from perfect, but they’re about average overall. The Rams are currently T-24th in points allowed, 12th in total yardage allowed, and 9th in yards per play. Against the pass, the team is 14th in yardage allowed, T-15th in yards per attempt, and 18th in passing TDs allowed. Los Angeles has been better against the run: 16th in rushing yardage allowed, an impressive T-4th in yards per carry, and T-20th in rushing TDs allowed. They’ve been below average on third down, allowing a 42% conversion rate (20th), and are about league-average in sacks with 13 on the season (T-18th).
The Falcons finally get to return home in the midst of a four-game losing streak. They certainly haven’t played measurably better at home—their two best offensive performances have come on the road in back-to-back weeks—but perhaps it will help them in some way for Week 7’s matchup against the Rams.
On offense, the Falcons actually hold a pretty clear advantage. I never would’ve guessed that coming into the season. Despite some poor games, Atlanta has improved their scoring and yardage outputs every week since the horrible loss to the Titans. They feature an elite passing game helmed by a more calm Matt Ryan, who may be having one of the best seasons of his career in 2019. Meanwhile, the Rams have struggled a bit, particularly with their running game and with turnovers.
On defense, the Rams hold the clear advantage. Only a tie in the number of rushing TDs allowed—7 for each team—prevented Los Angeles from pulling off a clean sweep in the statistics. While the Rams have been far from ideal on the defensive side of the ball, they’re a whole lot better than a Falcons defense that boasts the fewest sacks and worst third down conversion rate in the entire NFL.
The only way for the Falcons to win this one is to score 30+ points, again, and hope that they can keep the Rams below that number. I’m not convinced it’s possible, as Atlanta just allowed a career day to rookie QB Kyler Murray and a Cardinals offense that hasn’t come close to matching the Rams overall production—especially in the passing game. The statistics say that this could be a close game, but I’m not sure I believe it. Atlanta holds a narrow edge on offense, but the Rams hold a gigantic one on defense. Even at home, I think the Rams should be favored.
Overall Advantage: Rams
How do you think the Falcons and Rams compare statistically? What’s your prediction for the game on Sunday?