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PREVIEW Rams vs. Falcons



Published: Fri, January 14, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



When: 8:15 p.m. SaturdayTV/radio: (17/62) (8) (53) (WBBW-AM 1240)Series history: Rams lead 46-24-2.

Last meeting: Falcons beat Rams 34-17 on Sept. 19, 2004, at Atlanta.Last postseason meeting: First postseason meeting.Key matchup: Rams' defense vs. Falcons QB Michael Vick. Back in Week 2, Vick ran for 109 yards on 12 carries and had 179 yards passing against Rams. Vick led NFL by averaging 7.5 yards per carry and rushed for 902 yards -- only 22 RBs had more. He'll be well-rested because Falcons had bye and he played little in Week 17. Rams' defense features five first-round picks, three on the line. It took most of season for the unit to figure out coordinator Larry Marmie's new defensive scheme, but the team held Seahawks RB Shaun Alexander, NFL's No. 2 rusher, in check for most of wild-card game. Vick leads the NFL's No. 1 rushing attack.Streaks, stats and notes: Against common opponents, Falcons are 6-3, while Rams are 7-3, including three wins over Seattle. ... Rams WR Torry Holt was fourth in NFL with 1,372 yards receiving in regular season, becoming first player in history with five 1,300-yard seasons in row. He had his second 100-yard game in the playoffs last week, posting six catches for 108 yards and TD. In the regular season, Holt and WR Isaac Bruce combined for most yards of any team's top receivers (2,619). ... Falcons led league with 48 sacks. Rams QBs were sacked 50 times, tied for fifth most in league. ... Rams had a league-worst minus-24 turnover differential in the regular season. Atlanta was plus-2. ... Falcons CB Allen Rossum was second in NFL with 12.4-yard punt return average in regular season. ... Falcons RB Warrick Dunn posted third career 1,000-yard season (1,106) with career-high nine TDs rushing. ... Falcons host first playoff game since beating 49ers 20-18 in divisional playoffs of 1998 season. They went on to lose to Denver in Super Bowl.

Associated Press




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