Steven Jackson didn't have to wait long to receive a visit from his former team. Signed to a three-year, $12 million deal in the offseason, the bruising running back looks to lead the Atlanta Falcons into the win column on Sunday when he faces a familiar foe in the St. Louis Rams. Jackson, who set a franchise record by rushing for 10,135 yards in nine seasons with St. Louis, collected 122 all-purpose yards in Atlanta's 23-17 loss to New Orleans last week.
While the Falcons fell to a division opponent, the Rams rallied to upend an NFC West foe with a 27-24 triumph over Arizona. Jared Cook certainly paid early dividends after signing a lucrative five-year deal in the offseason. Cook scored a career-high two touchdowns after reeling in seven receptions for a franchise-best 141 yards at the tight end position.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, Fox. LINE: Falcons -6.5. O/U: 47.
ABOUT THE RAMS (1-0): Cook's success was due in large part to better pass protection for Sam Bradford, who benefited from former top overall pick Jake Long's presence and was not sacked in the Week 1 victory. Daryl Richardson, who temporarily replaced Jackson as the primary back, rushed for 63 yards on 20 carries in last week's win. Richardson likely will have company in the backfield on Sunday as Isaiah Pead returns from a one-game league suspension.
ABOUT THE FALCONS (0-1): Matt Ryan could use some better protection after being sacked three times while being put under duress on 25-of-38 passing in the season opener. Ryan also has question marks at wide receiver as veteran Roddy White effectively serves as a decoy as he tries to work through a high ankle sprain. Pro Bowler Julio Jones has been limited in practice with a knee injury despite reeling in seven catches for 76 yards and a touchdown last week.
1. St. Louis DE Robert Quinn was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week after he matched a career-high three sacks and forced a pair of fumbles against Arizona.
2. Future Hall of Fame TE Tony Gonzalez has caught at least one pass in 196 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the league.
3. Should White or Jones be hampered or held out, WR Harry Douglas serves as a capable replacement. Douglas had a team-high 93 yards receiving last week.
PREDICTION: Falcons 27, Rams 17