Atlanta Falcons (0-1) at Los Angeles Rams (0-1)
The Rams were blown out on national television in the first game of their Super Bowl defense last week, but I think that had much more to do with their opponents, the Buffalo Bills, being a dominant team than it had to do with the Rams being significantly worse than most expected them to be coming into the season. The Bills finished the 2020 season with the #1 ranked offense in efficiency, finished last season #1 in defensive efficiency, with a 5th ranked offense, and always had the potential to be a truly dominant team this season, even if I wasn’t expecting them to necessarily be that good, particularly because they were in a very tough spot on the road against a defending Super Bowl Champion at home in week one.
The public who watched that game seemed to have another takeaway, as they prefer the underdog Falcons in this matchup, even as the odds makers have dropped this line from 13.5 on the early line last week to 10 this week. I normally like to fade significant week-to-week line movement like that as it tends to be an overreaction to a single week of play and this situation is no different. The public may also like that the Falcons kept it close with the Saints last week, which could erroneously lead the public to believe the Falcons are not one of the worst few teams in the league, but the Falcons were at home last week, the Rams are a much tougher opponent, and that game being so close could work against the Falcons this week, as they could be flat after blowing a big quarter 4th lead and barely losing to a big divisional rival.
The Rams, on the other hand, should be fully focused after being embarrassed last week and are 16-10 ATS off of a loss in the Sean McVay era. They’ll be without center Brian Allen and could be without edge defender Leonard Floyd, but I still have them calculated at 13-point favorites, as the Falcons just don’t have the talent to take advantage of the Rams’ injuries or any of their weaknesses, unlike the Bills, who are arguably the best team in the league and certainly played like it a week ago. The Falcons, conservely, are likely to play like arguably the worst team in the league this week. This isn’t a huge play, but the Rams are definitely worth a bet this week.
Los Angeles Rams 27 Atlanta Falcons 13
Pick against the spread: LA Rams -10