Breakfast and football are a true treat: Here is the LA Rams week 3 pregame preview to enjoy over Sunday breakfast
The 2-0 LA Rams cross three time-zones once more this week to play the 2-0 AFC East-leading Buffalo Bills. While the Bills are coming off a 2019 Playoff appearance, the team and the fans believe that this year they truly have a chance to take the AFC East division crown. The Bills are already in great shape for a playoff berth once more, as they have defeated AFC East rivals the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins.
Meanwhile, the Rams must wade through three more games including two on the road to face East coast teams, before they ever face an NFC West opponent. The Rams won by controlling the line of scrimmage and the clock in game one. Will the Rams try that same strategy in week two? Or will the Rams test the Eagles secondary, pushing for some deep pass plays to improve chances for a quick score?
The Rams need this one more than the Bills do. So in terms of which team wants it more? That goes to the visiting Rams. The Bills have a strong defensive line, home-field advantage, a dual-threat quarterback, and three solid wide receivers. The Rams have a strong defensive line, a strong secondary, and a very strong receiving corps. The jury is out on the running game and offensive lines, albeit the Rams had better performances from both in weeks one and two.
When the Bills have the ball
The Buffalo Bills will want to distract the Rams defense with their running game. But if the Bills run the ball much at all this week, everyone will be surprised. Rookie running back Zack Moss is out for this one. The true threat of the Bills offense is their passing attack because that not only unlocks their receivers, but it places the ball into the hands of quarterback Josh Allen, arguably their most dangerous rusher.
To counter, the Rams will likely use a similar strategy of moving defensive lineman Aaron all over the line and using him to crash Bills pocket. . Micah Kiser and Kenny Young were instrumental last week to come up with huge tackles. The Rams will likely go heavy on nickel packages and use Kiser to defend the middle of the field as well as spy on Allen to prevent him from long runs.
The Rams will counter the big-play ability of the Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs with a heavy dose of cornerback Jalen Ramsey. That will likely put Troy Hill and Darious Williams into coverage on John Brown and Cole Beasley. Don’t look for Allen to hold the ball too long, but the Rams coverage will certainly give him pause before winding up. The Rams pass rush will be about containment first, then sacks second. Can they pull this assignment off? We will discuss this in a moment.
When the Rams have the ball
The heroes for the Rams so far have been Robert Woods and Malcolm Brown in game one, and Darrell Henderson and Tyler Higbee in game two. While the Rams have many weapons at their disposal in this one, the Rams know that the Bills have been taking notes. So it’s back to the playbook this week. I like the power of tight end Gerald Everett for moving the chains. I think that the Rams will go back to the power running attack of Malcolm Brown. And I think that WR Josh Reynolds will have a say in the outcome as well.
The Rams have been quietly efficient on offense so far. Quarterback Jared Goff is having an outstanding season so far. The team is the seventh-ranked offense in the NFL. The Rams have the ninth-ranked passing offense and the third-ranked running offense. While the Rams have plenty of reasons to try grinding this one out as well, I believe that is too predictable. With an offense that has leaned heavily towards the ground and pound game, it just “feels” like a week for an all-out aerial assault, doesn’t it?
The Rams know that the Buffalo Bills will be heavily invested in passing this week. The Rams’ confidence in their pass defense could persuade the Rams to go with a fast scoring quick tempo offense. In essence, the Rams could push to wear down the Bills offense by forcing them to run all over the field. The more pressure the Rams put on Allen, the more frustrated he will become.
5 Key factors for a Bills victory
The five key factors in this one for the Buffalo Bills are:
I – Getting positive yards in the passing game in the first set of downs. That means a couple of high percentage completions to Stefon Diggs to prime their offense, then take shots at other receivers.
II – Getting the running game going just enough to keep it on the Rams mind. Without Zack Moss, the Bills will need to lean on Devin Singletary. He could be dangerous if he gets some momentum early.
III – Winning both sides of the line of scrimmage. To run the ball, the Bills will need to control the offensive line of scrimmage. To hold the Rams offense in check, the Bills defensive line will need to be very good.
IV – If the Bills only have three wide receivers active in their passing game, they are in trouble. The Bills will need to make Singletary active as a receiver to complicate the lives of the Rams linebackers.
V – The Bills secondary must find some way to stymie the multi-weaponed Rams offense. While that is a tall task for any defense, the Bills must find some way to get enough tackles for losses to force the Rams into third and long situations.
5 key factors for a Rams victory
The five key factors in this one for the LA Rams are:
I – Once more, the Rams are on the road and face a very high powered offense. The key to victory is to score first and often. By taking the lead, the Rams can dictate the game to their opponent.
II – Run or pass to move the chains early. The Rams have been effective in their first two games with a short ball-control passing game. Now the Rams may need to push the ball downfield further to free up running lanes. The Rams could test the Bills early with either Gerald Everett or Josh Reynolds deep. If the Rams hit on that, it will be a long day for Buffalo.
III – Even if it means 12 personnel package, the Rams must continue to control their offensive line of scrimmage. Goff is a much better passer when he has good protection, and he had pretty good protection in the first two games. The Bills will look for misdirection plays. The Rams could succeed by running the ball up the middle to counter that. And the Bills starting linebacker is out in this one.
IV – The Rams must be willing to go with the hot receiver in this one. I truly expect Robert Woods to play with a bit of determination in this one. The Bills were his former team, and I believe he would very much enjoy putting up 100 yards and a couple of touchdowns up against his former team. The LA Rams should help him do so.
V – The Rams must test the Bills linebackers. That means attacking the middle of the field with runs, screens, and passing plays.
How does this one turn out
The first two games for the LA Rams have both gone close enough for a victory by either team, but the second half has been all Rams. While that may not sit well for everyone’s taste, it’s compelling evidence that the Rams are continuing to learn and adapt to their opponent even at halftime. So when the Rams take the field in the second half, the team has absorbed what their opponent is trying to do and shuts it down.
The Bills want to crank up the Allen to Diggs early, but that will be a bit of a problem with Jalen Ramsey in primary coverage. That means Allen will pull it down and run with it. The more Allen runs, the less passing he is doing, and the more tackles he must endure. Without a running game, the Rams pass rush will eventually get to Allen
Final score: LA Rams 20 Buffalo Bills 13
I will stick to my prediction that I made over a month ago for this one. But the Rams could score many more points than I had originally predicted. As long as both teams remain healthy in this early game, the LA Rams could end up with 30 or more points.
Some predictions have this one as a shoot out. But let’s be clear. If the Bills offense gets hot, the Rams offense should be able to not only keep pace but lay down a barrage of points in a short amount of time. Win or lose, the Bills emerge as the top team in the AFC East. Lose one, and the Rams likely fall to the basement of the NFC West. The Rams have a chance to ascend to 3-0 in a year many predicted them to fall to 0-3. They won’t miss the chance to do so. Go Rams and never look back