I’m not buying that the Bills are favored over the LA Rams to win SB LVII
By Bret Stuter
The LA Rams overcame quite a bit of adversity on the road to winning games in the regular season and managed to pull it all together for a magnificent winning streak of nine out of their final ten games. It was a team that survived a COVID-19 outbreak that nearly forced the team to forfeit a game. It was a team that survived incredible injuries that relentlessly assaulted the secondary, running backs, and edge rushers.
And it was a team that got knocked down and kept getting back up.
When it comes to toughness and resiliency, the LA Rams defined those attributes in their 2021 quest to win Super Bowl LVI. Not just as a team, but as individual players.
Here are some players who played hurt during the season:
I – Matthew Stafford had to have a post-season procedure on his throwing elbow, had an anti-inflammatory injection on the joint, and wore a brace on the elbow ot limit movement.
II – Jalen Ramsey played the entire season with two injured shoulders. One shoulder suffered so much damage that he needed post-season corrective surgery. He is still on the mend.
III – Leonard Floyd played the entire season on an injured ankle. He also had post-season surgery to correct the problem.
IV – Brian Allen suffered an elbow injury against the Tennessee Titans. He did not leave the game but played almost one-armed. He was finally taken out when he suffered a leg injury against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Despite being banged up, he only missed Week 14 against the Arizona Cardinals. He would be taken out early in Weeks 13 (Jacksonville Jaguars) and 16 (Minnesota Vikings)
I simply do not believe that the Buffalo Bills, or any team for that matter, could persevere if they lost both starters and rotational players, and had four of their stars (not just starters) playing the entire season in pain.
And yet, here we are, with the Buffalo Bills with better odds? Call me unconvinced.
While the LA Rams have a tough regular season schedule, the Bills must survive the AFC gauntlet in the postseason. And their regular season schedule is no picnic, as they must face the AFC North and the NFC North, both NFL Divisions have made quiet, but significant, improvements to their rosters in the off-season.
Even the AFC East is no picnic. The Bills, Miami Dolphins, and New England Patriots finished just two games apart in the 2021 final standings. While they may not be in a position to challenge for the Division title, even the New York Jets look to improve on their 4-13 record from a year ago. And that improvement could come at the expense of the Buffalo Bills.
The Bills have competed in the NFL Playoffs for the past three seasons. Is this the year that they plow through the competition? It makes a great bet because there are so many who believe that this is their year.
Me? I remain unconvinced. The Buffalo Bills seem to struggle when the competition heats up. The LA Rams have shown their resiliency. My money is on the LA Rams.