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After dropping their home-opener against the Bills, the Rams will look to bounce back and get to .500 when they host the Falcons on Sunday. Should we expect a better showing from Matthew Stafford and company? NFL handicapper Jason Yamaguchi details his best bet for the game.

Los Angeles Rams vs. Atlanta Falcons Prediction, Pick, and Odds: Can Matthew Stafford and the Rams Cover?

The Rams hosted the opening game of the NFL season, facing the Buffalo Bills at SoFi Stadium. It was a poor way for Los Angeles to open their title defense, with Buffalo winning decisively by a score of 31-10. The Rams looked out of sync on offense, with their line unable to prevent the Bills' talented pass rush from getting home. On defense, they simply could not halt Buffalo's deadly, Josh Allen-led passing attack. LA will need a better approach moving forward, or their season will be in jeopardy.

Meanwhile, the Falcons snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, blowing a 16-point fourth-quarter lead to lose, 27-26, against the visiting Saints. In fairness, New Orleans executed to perfection on their final drives, with Michael Thomas catching two touchdown passes to lay the groundwork for a game-winning field goal from Wil Lutz. Still, it was an embarrassing meltdown for the Falcons, who were aiming to open the Arthur Smith era with an impressive home victory.

So, what should we expect when the Falcons visit the Rams on Sunday? Will the defending champions handle Atlanta with ease, or will they fall victim to the same problems that doomed them last Thursday? Here are our picks, predictions, and odds for Sunday's game between the Rams and the Falcons.

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Rams vs. Falcons Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

  • Date: Sunday, September 18th
  • Game Time: 4:00 pm ET
  • Where to Watch: FOX

Click here for Rams vs. Falcons odds

Los Angeles Rams vs. Atlanta Falcons Prediction

During the offseason, the Rams parted ways with two of the offensive linemen that started for the squad that won the Super Bowl just seven months ago, Andrew Whitworth and Austin Corbett.

The expectation was that their backups, Joe Noteboom and Coleman Shelton, would slide into their spots and replace them. The problem is that losing two starters from your offensive line without a legitimate plan to replace their production is a recipe for disaster. The proof is in the pudding — Buffalo sacked QB Matthew Stafford seven times for a net loss of 49 yards, and their constant pressure was partially responsible for the three interceptions that Stafford threw.

The good news is that the Bills have one of the best defensive fronts in the NFL; the Falcons is among the league's worst. In other words, this game will provide a chance for the Rams' offensive line to iron out the kinks before they face better competition. Stafford needs time to throw in order to run LA's offense effectively, and there's a solid chance that he'll have it against Atlanta.

This game will also provide an opportunity for Cooper Kupp to continue his unfettered dominance. Despite the Rams' offensive woes in Week 1, Kupp was undeterred, catching 13 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown. Many of those catches came against linebackers and safeties, which was the formula that helped drive Kupp's explosive 2021 campaign. The Falcons' safeties and linebackers are, for the most part, practice squad-caliber players. I expect the Stafford-Kupp connection to drive LA's offensive output on Sunday.

As for Atlanta's offense, the unit showed some signs of promise in the loss to the Saints. Marcus Mariota was serviceable at quarterback, completing 20 of 33 pass attempts and running for a score. Running back Cordarrelle Patterson had a quality performance, turning 22 carries and three catches into 136 scrimmage yards and a touchdown. Even rookie Drake London had a solid first game, logging 74 yards on five receptions.

However, all of these performances came against a weakened Saints defense. New Orleans has lost many of the pieces that were key to their winning seasons a couple of years ago, and those losses were glaringly obvious against Atlanta. The problem for the Falcons is that the Rams, despite allowing 31 points in Week 1, have a much better defense than the Saints. It's often difficult to remove recency bias from the equation, but it's necessary to do so here. The Bills have an elite offense led by a top-5 quarterback in Josh Allen, an elite receiver in Stefon Diggs, and a capable supporting cast. That group could make virtually any defense look as bad as the Rams' did last Thursday, meaning that the Rams' defense is probably a lot better than their Week 1 showing might indicate.

Overall, this is a great week to buy low on the Rams. No matter how they looked against the Bills, they still have most of the pieces that led to a championship last season. It's worth noting that LA was unable to properly utilize new signing Allen Robinson in Week 1 — all signs point to that changing in Week 2. Given that the Rams also have the home-field bump against the Falcons, I think that there's value on their side of the spread.

Los Angeles Rams vs. Atlanta Falcons Pick

Pick: Rams -10.5 (-105) (Bet $105 to win $100)

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Article Author


Jason Yamaguchi is an avid New York sports fan. He has a proven record of providing +EV bets by combining traditional handicapping tactics with advanced statistics. You can follow him on Twitter @TopMoneyPicks to view all of his bets, including NFL, NHL, and MLB picks.


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