Here are five things to know before the Falcons play the upstart Los Angeles Rams in the wildcard round of the NFC playoffs at 8:15 p.m. Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum:
1. RAMS FAVORED: The Rams are favored by six points, according to sportsline.com. The Falcons went 5-3 on the road this season, while the Rams were 4-4 at home.
2. STOPPING GURLEY: The key to the game for the Falcons is stopping Rams running back Todd Gurley, who accounted for 2,093 yards from scrimmage this season. The Falcons defense allowed just one 100-yard rusher this season. In addition to stuffing the run, the defense must cover Gurley in the Rams potent screen-passing attack.
3. OFFENSE MUST SHOW UP: The Falcons offense has averaged just 17 points over the last five games. The Rams averaged 29.9 points per game to lead the league.
4. ALL-PROS: Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones and center Alex Mack were named to the All-Pro second team by The Associated Press on Friday. The Rams had six players named first-team All-Pro including Gurley, left tackle Andrew Whitworth, defensive lineman Aaron Donald, kicker Greg Zuerlein, punter Johnny Hekker and kick returner Pharoh Cooper.
5. SERIES RECORD: This will be the 79th meeting overall. The Rams lead the regular-season series 47-28-2. The Falcons lead the playoff series 1-0. The Falcons beat the Rams in the one playoff-meeting, 47-17, on Jan. 15, 2005. The Run DVD offense, which featured Warrick Dunn, Michael Vick and T.J. Duckett, rushed 40 times for 327 yards against the Rams in the only playoff meeting of the former NFC West division mates.
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