Find out what Bret Stuter at Ramblin’ Fan has to say about the matchup in Week 3 between the Buffalo Bills and the Los Angeles Rams.
The Buffalo Bills will be facing the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday in one of the marquee games of the week. To get a better understanding of the Rams, I had a chance to talk with Bret Stuter, who is the site expert for the Ramblin’ Fan, to get his thoughts on the Rams and this matchup.
Bret Stuter: Good question and one that many LA Rams fans are asking as well. The most complete defender for the LA Rams is outside linebacker Leonard Floyd. He was an undervalued edge rusher with the Chicago Bears who knows LA Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley’s defense intimately. He gives everything the Rams need at the 3-4 outside linebacker position. He can set the edge, rush the passer, cover a receiver, and stuff the run. In the FB analytics world of sacks and tackles, Floyd may not jump off the page with a ton of tackles or sacks or tackles, but he is the real glue that holds the Rams defense together.
Buffalowdown: Jared Goff seemed to regress a bit in 2019 but has looked sharp in 2020. What has he been doing differently this season?
Bret Stuter: Well, most of the “fix” has been a much healthier offensive line so far this year. The 2019 LA Rams had the 31st ranked offensive line, and the 26th ranked running game. Both are significantly improved so far in 2020.
Another “fix” is the addition of offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell to help coach up Jared Goff. But specifically, Goff has worked hard this offseason on his footwork and throwing velocity and accuracy when on the move.
He was terrible in 2019 against A-gap blitzes but is playing much better against pressure this year. Not only is he more elusive, but his release is much faster as well. Goff accepted that 2019 was a regression of sorts, so he worked very hard in the offseason to get back on track.
Bret Stuter: The Rams actually planned to use rookie running back Cam Akers much more in game two, but he hurt his ribs after three carries which promoted Henderson as the featured back in that game.
Henderson was very effective for two reasons. He is a bit smallish even by running back standards, and that allows him to get lost in the traffic. The other reason is that the Rams worked hard on his receiving game, which he is actually pretty dependable at right now.
Henderson can be a true weapon whenever the Rams go to a 12 personnel package. Thanks to a solid performance against the Eagles, he could see a similar workload in this one until Cam Akers heals up.
Buffalowdown: Is there one weakness for the Rams through the first two weeks that has fans worried about?
Bret Stuter: The LA Rams have simply not shown much improvement in their special teams’ performance so far. With the exception to punter Johnny Hekker, the Rams punt returns, kickoff returns, and field goal kicker Sam Sloman make fans sit on the edge of their seats whenever they take the field.
In Week 1, Sloman was just 2/3 on field goals but hit both extra points. In week two, Cooper Kupp fumbled a punt deep in Rams territory, and Sloman had an extra point blocked. When anyone diagnoses the arc of the football off Sloman’s foot, they find a low line-drive path. NFL special teams can study that and plan to block the kick. More and more likely, some team will succeed.
Buffalowdown: What are the keys to the game and what is your prediction for the final score in Week 3?
The LA Rams have a very balanced and dangerous offense, and a much better than advertised defense. The key is how effective Josh Allen can be at passing into a very tough-to-read defense.
Dallas’ Dak Prescott was only able to pass for 266 yards and one touchdown. The Eagles Carson Wentz was only able to pass for 242 yards and 2 interceptions. Let’s give Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen the benefit of the doubt and go 254 yards one touchdown and one interception.
I love the Josh Allen to Stefon Diggs connection in any other game. But Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey allowed 0 completions against him in Week 2. And both of the other two cornerbacks, Darious Williams and Troy Hill had one interception each respectively. The Rams will give up some yards but are very difficult to score against.
I can’t see anyone scoring 30 points on this defense. So far, the Buffalo Bills have put up 27 and 31 points. I think that 17 points is their ceiling in this one, particularly since they really haven’t established a game-breaking RB to complement QB Josh Allen’s ability to threaten in the running game. That means that the Rams can play extra defensive backs in this one throughout the game. More defensive backs equal much harder to read the coverages.
This one is a low scoring one. Los Angeles Rams 27, Buffalo Bills 17