Friday Preview: Los Angeles Rams vs. Buffalo Bills

Given their success last year and the offseason that they had, it is not a surprise that the Bills are sitting atop the AFC East at 2-0 after beating the Jets and Dolphins to start the season. What is a surprise, though, is that a Buffalo Bills starting quarterback leads the league in passing and is being talked about as an early-season MVP candidate.

The biggest knock on the Bills last year was their struggles against teams with winning records. While the Bills took care of business against the bottom feeders of the league, they struggled against fellow playoff teams. They have a chance to buck that trend on Sunday. Sunday starts the first of four straight games against 2-0 teams. These next four games will tell us a lot about the Bills and exactly what they are made out of.

The Last Five

Bills 30 Rams 19
Rams 15 Bills 12
Bills 31 Rams 14
Bills 37 Rams 17
Rams 34 Bills 33

The “recent” history between these two teams is a weird one, mainly because there is nothing recent about it. Since the Rams are an NFC team, the Bills only see them every four years, so the results over the last five games are a trip down memory lane, with the earlier one going back to 1998. What is most shocking (but not really if you watched the team during the drought) about these games is that the Bills never had the same QB/coach combo between games. As of now, I expect the see Allen and McDermott on the field in 2024.

What to Watch For: Bills

Linebackers – The Bills barely escaped the Dolphins game without Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds, and I don’t believe they will be able to say the same against the Rams if those two cannot play. For as good as Fitzpatrick and Gesicki are, Goff and Higbee are much better. Sean McVay will find a way to exploit the Bills in whatever way he can. After two awful games, Levi Wallace should expect to be targeted early and often, too.

3rd Quarter – For as well as the Bills have played this year, they have had significant trouble coming out of the locker room. In two 3rd Quarters this season the Bills have been outscored 10-0. In fact, the Bills have scored in every other quarter in both of their games, except for the third. Last year, the Bills averaged 3 points per 3rd quarter. Usually teams have a burst coming out of halftime, and for the Bills to take the next step as a team; it starts with the 3rd quarter.

Josh Allen – The Bills starting quarterback received considerable airtime this week as the Josh Allen hype has begun to spread outside of Buffalo and the Bills fanbase. The biggest question is simple: Can he keep it up? Against better competition he will see over the next four weeks more questions will be answered about Josh Allen and his status as the Bills long-coveted franchise quarterback. Personally, I want to wait until after the playoffs to anoint Allen, but these four games will still tell us a lot.

What To Watch For: Rams

Aaron Donald – Donald has the ability to ruin the Bills’ day on Sunday. When you are facing one of, if not the, best defensive players in the NFL, it is more of a question of limiting his impact rather than eliminating it. Holding Donald to just one sack would be a tremendous success. He could cause some trouble for the Bills running game, and frankly, the passing game as well. If Donald is constantly beating the Bills offensive line, it will be a long day for the offense.

Jalen Ramsey – How could we not talk about this guy? What a clown. The player that called Josh Allen trash and then doubled down on it after Allen schooled his Jaguars a few years ago, has another shot at Allen this week. He is on a much better team this time around and fresh off of a contact extension that broke Tre White’s previous contract record, so Ramsey will be ready to back-up his trash talk. Ramsey should be thankful that Bills fans will not be in the stands, as he will have an easier day without the heckling.

Uniforms – While this one doesn’t have an impact on the result, I am someone that appreciates sports logos and uniforms. We will not only see the Rams in their classic “greatest show on turf” colors, but they will debut their brand new blue-on-blue uniform combination. When their new uniforms were debuted back in the spring, I thought they were hideous. Seeing them on TV has been a little softer on the eyes than I expected. I am looking forward to seeing them this weekend, although it will be strange to watch another team wearing royal blue in Buffalo.

Prediction

Rams 34 Bills 24 I haven’t had a good feeling about this game since last weekend. The injuries on defense scare me and could result in this turning into a track meet early. I think Aaron Donald will be a major disruptor in this game, as the O-Line will struggle to contain him. As for Josh, I think he falls just short of 300 this week and is intercepted once. I hope I am wrong about this one, but I think after last year, I need the Bills to prove to me that they can beat the higher-tier NFL teams. This would be a great week to start.

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