LA RAMS over Atlanta by 10
With the Rams playing their first playoff game in Los Angeles since 1985, let’s cut to the chase and set the table in this bicoastal battle: Super bowl losers (Atlanta) the previous season are 3-152 ATS in their first playoff game the following season when coming off a win. And to top it off, the Falcons are 1-9 ATS in the playoffs when coming off a SUATS win. So why are we somewhat reserved in what looks to be a favorable setting for the upstart Rams, you ask? For openers, the Falcons’ stingy defense has held each of its last two foes to season-low yards, as well as 6 foes to a total of 300 or fewer yards. In addition, Atlanta is one of only 4 teams to make the playoffs this season sporting both a Top 10
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ranked offense and Top 10 ranked defense (Jacksonville, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh the other three). According to the Stat Rankings on page 1, the Falcons actually own the better offense and the better defense in this contest. And then there is this from Mike Mains, our Playbook NFL Preview Guide guru: QB’s making their first start in the playoffs are just 11-27 SU and 11-26-1 ATS over the last 15 years. Ugh. Then again, Atlanta is 3-13-1 ATS in a playoff game when not favored by 6 or more points. On the other side of the coin, the SU winner in an NFL Wild Card Round game is 113-14-4 (88.9%) ATS since 1980, with SU favorite winners 61-14-4 ATS (81.3%). That may be all you need to know.
OPENING LINES: LA RAMS -4 / 49.5