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3 Things To Watch When The Rams Host The Bills


Tim Godfrey
The Los Angeles Rams are 3-1 for the first time since 2006, and look to make it 4-1. But the Bills have been hot the last two weeks, and could break the Rams win-streak. | Photo Credit: USA Today - Sports

Stout Buffalo defense stands in the way of a 4-1 record for the Rams

The Los Angeles Rams return home to the Coliseum in hopes of extending their current win-streak to four games.

Their return home comes just in time, too. Their opponent, the Buffalo Bills, are winless on their last four trips to the west coast. While that doesn’t make the Bills any less of a threat to the Rams on Sunday, every little bit helps, especially when the Rams find themselves struggling to put up intimidating offensive numbers.

 

Buffalo is on the upswing

The Bills have losses to the Baltimore Ravens and the New York Jets, but the last two weeks, Buffalo has turned on their full potential. They put up 33 points and held Arizona to 18 and followed that win up with a road victory against the New England Patriots.

The win in Foxborough was all the more impressive as New England was riding a 3-0 record despite missing Tom Brady. The Bills shut down the Patriots completely and beat them 18-0.

 

Rams running game on the downswing

In almost every area, the Rams offense looks better than their 2015 version. One of the few areas that has not seen an upgrade is the running game. 

 

The strongest aspect of the Rams offense the last few years is now their Achilles’ heel.

 

Todd Gurley, and the Rams offensive line, have struggled greatly against the front seven (eight, nine, etc) all season and have showed no signs of improving.

Head coach Jeff Fisher has even said that Gurley could see his role shift and be more included in the passing game, which is not a bad thing for the offense. Gurley is very capable of catching passes out of the backfield and did so quite often at Georgia. Screen passes to Gurley have been some of the best runs he’s turned in this season.

That new role should be all the more welcome as Buffalo comes to Los Angeles with a very strong run-defense, led by versatile linebackers in Zach Brown and Jerry Hughes.

 

Another defensive battle on tap

If you have players from Buffalo and Los Angeles on your fantasy team, there’s a good chance they won’t contribute much in points, unless you have the defense both teams.

Both Buffalo and Los Angeles have defenses in the Top 10. But when it comes to the front seven, the Bills have the upper-hand.

Through four weeks, the Bills racked up 18 sacks, compared to the Rams seven.

Buffalo’s run-defense is impressively stout, surrendering less than 100 yards-per-game and giving up just 3.6 yards-per-rushing attempt. The Rams struggled mightily against the worst and second-to-last rushing defenses in the league (San Francisco and Arizona, respectively), so this week could be an even worse turnout for Gurley and the run game.

The Rams defense, however, could make Sunday a nightmare for Tyrod Taylor.

Robert Quinn, Aaron Donald, and the rest of the defensive line did a great job at handling Russell Wilson in Week 2, who, like Taylor, can throw effectively while on the run or turn-and-run for the quick first down or big gain.

The defense has come a long way since Week 1 against the 49ers, when Blaine Gabbert took advantage of overshot gaps and linebackers dropping back into coverage.

The Bills might have a great passing day, like opposing defenses have had in the past, but the Rams defense has had a bend-don’t-break mentality. If it works, don’t fix it. The defense is allowing just 19 points-per-game.

Tim Godfrey is a Featured Analyst who covers the Los Angeles Rams for Pro Football Spot. Follow him on Twitter @MrTimGodfrey


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