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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Rising Rams might raise a toast to Kupp

Grass could trip up Falcons

Cooper Kupp of the Los Angeles Rams scores a touchdown against Arizona at Twickenham
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Sky Sports Action and Main Event, 1.15am Saturday night

The Rams will be grateful they moved back to Los Angeles last season because opponents Atlanta now have a much longer trip for their wildcard clash in California and have to play on grass rather than their favoured artificial surface.

The Rams have been one of the stories of the season with 31-year-old head coach Sean McVay doing an outstanding job with a team who went 4-12 in 2016 under Jeff Fisher.

The Falcons, last season’s Super Bowl runners-up, are dangerous opponents and they have a huge edge in playoff experience against the young and exciting Rams side.

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However the Falcons have not looked the same team this season, during which star receiver Julio Jones has been dogged by nagging injuries – he still led the NFC in receiving yards but has scored only three touchdowns all season.

The loss of experienced guard Andy Levitre won’t help the talented Atlanta offensive line as they bid to hold back domineering Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald.

The Falcons’ defend solidly against the run and Rams running back Todd Gurley could gain more yardage as a receiver.

Quarterback Jared Goff has faith in wideout Cooper Kupp, who is a real nuisance for defenders to keep tabs on and looks a big price to find the end zone.

The rookie passed 100 yards against the Saints and Eagles and has scored in two of his last three games.

C Kupp to score a touchdown
1pt 21-10 Coral, Ladbrokes

The lowdown
Venue Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California
Surface Grass
Weather Mostly cloudy, 16C
Vegas handicap Atlanta +6
Vegas points line 48.5

Team news
Guard Andy Levitre (triceps) will miss the rest of the season. Running back Devonta Freeman (knee), wide receiver Julio Jones (ankle/ribs), returner Andre Roberts (knee/ankle), centre Alex Mack (calf) and tight end Levine Toilolo (knee) have all missed practice time this week but are set to play.

LA Rams
Wide receiver Mike Thomas (ankle) is likely to be the only absentee. Linebacker Mark Barron (Achilles) should be fit.

Key stat
The points total has gone under in Atlanta’s last five games.

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The loss of experienced guard Andy Levitre won’t help the talented Atlanta offensive line as they bid to hold back Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald
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