6 key matchups to watch in Rams vs. Falcons on Sunday

·3 min read

The Atlanta Falcons may not boast a star-studded roster like the Buffalo Bills do, but they’ll still be a tough test for the Los Angeles Rams – especially after nearly upsetting the New Orleans Saints last week.

They have plenty of playmakers on both sides of the ball, from star defenders such as A.J. Terrell and Grady Jarrett to tight end Kyle Pitts. The Rams will need to deal with all of them, creating some difficult matchups on the field this weekend.

Here are the six biggest matchups to watch Sunday.

Cooper Kupp vs. A.J. Terrell

Kupp is going to be Matthew Stafford’s favorite target again this season, so it’s only natural that the Falcons put their best cornerback, Terrell, on him this Sunday. Kupp moves around a lot and often lines up in the slot, so Terrell may not shadow him on every snap, but expect to see him covering Kupp plenty throughout this game.

It’s a much tougher matchup than he had last week against the Bills, so Kupp may not see 15 targets again on Sunday. Terrell is sticky in man coverage and shows great awareness in zone, making him one of the best corners in football.

Tremayne Anchrum Jr. vs. Grady Jarrett

Welcome to the starting lineup, Tremayne. First up is Jarrett, a top-five defensive tackle in the NFL right now. Jarrett had 1.5 sacks and six tackles against the Saints las week so Anchrum has his work cut out for him in his first NFL start.

Anchrum has long arms and is a powerful player, which makes him a better fit at guard than tackle. He’ll need some help from Rob Havenstein and Coleman Shelton when it comes to blocking Jarrett, though.

Ernest Jones vs. Kyle Pitts

Pitts lines up everywhere for the Falcons, from out wide to the slot to in line as a true tight end. That means multiple players will match up with him, specifically Jones when Pitts aligns as a tight end.

Jones was arguably the Rams’ best defender last week against the Bills and has the athleticism to hang with a player like Pitts. He’ll just need to be at his very best against this quick and explosive tight end. Expect Marcus Mariota to target Pitts often, just as he did last week when he threw his way seven times.

A’Shawn Robinson vs. Chris Lindstrom

Lindstrom was the Falcons’ second-highest graded player last week, doing an excellent job at right guard. Robinson will have a difficult matchup with Lindstrom on Sunday, particularly when it comes to stopping the run – Robinson’s forte.

The Falcons are going to run the ball a lot, provided the score remains close, giving Cordarrelle Patterson 22 carries last week. Robinson is a big part of the Rams’ run defense and has been playing at a high level since the end of last season.

Bobby Wagner vs. Cordarrelle Patterson

If Jones is tasked with covering Pitts, Wagner will need to match up with Patterson, both in the passing game and as a run defender. Wagner was all over the field last week against Buffalo and he’ll have an even bigger challenge this week with Patterson on the other side.

Patterson rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown and also caught three passes for 16 yards. He’s as versatile as they come for a running back with a natural ability to catch passes out of the backfield.

Allen Robinson vs. Casey Hayward Jr.

With Terrell covering Kupp, that means Hayward will draw Robinson in coverage more often than not. Hayward is an experienced veteran who’s probably best in zone coverage, which the Falcons could play plenty of after seeing the Bills do the same last week.

But Robinson has a size advantage over Hayward, who’s 5-foot-11. With the Rams wanting to get Robinson more involved, he should see a healthy number of targets.

Story originally appeared on Rams Wire