Rams at Bills - Week 3 preview
Updated: Sep 25, 2020
RB Cam Akers (Ribs): Out (Wed - DNP; Thu - DNP; Fri - DNP)
DB Darious Williams (Ankle): Questionable (Wed - DNP; Thu - limited; Fri - limited)
RB Malcolm Brown (Finger): None (Wed - DNP; Thur - full; Fri - full)
DL Aaron Donald (Not injury related): None (Wed - DNP; Thur - full; Fri - full)
OL Andrew Whitworth (Not injury related): None (Wed - DNP; Thur - full; Fri - full)
TE Dawson Knox (Concussion): Out (Wed - DNP; Thur - DNP; Fri - DNP)
RB Zach Moss (Toe): Out (Wed - DNP; Thur - DNP; Fri - DNP)
LB Del'Shawn Phillips (Quad): Out (Wed - DNP; Thur - DNP; Fri - DNP)
LB Tremaine Edwards (Shoulder): Questionable (Wed - limited; Thur - limited; Fri - limited)
LB Matt Milano (Hamstring): Questionable (Wed - limited; Thur - limited; Fri - full)
CB Taron Johnson (Groin): Questionable (Wed - DNP; Thu - limited; Fri - full)
DT Ed Oliver (Knee): None (Wed - DNP; Thu - limited; Fri - full)
WR Cole Beasley (Hip/Thumb): None (Wed - DNP; Thur - full; Fri - full)
WR John Brown (Foot): None (Wed - none; Thu - limited; Fri - full)
CB Tre'Davious White (Shoulder): None (Wed - limited; Thur - full; Fri - full)
QB Jake Fromm (Not injury related): None (Wed - limited; Thur - limited; Fri - limited)
DE Mario Addison (Rest): None (Wed - none; Thur - DNP; Fri - none)
DE Jerry Hughes (Rest): None (Wed - DNP; Thur - none; Fri - none)
5 key factors for Rams
1.) Injury impact
I'm going to have to come back and re-write this when we get the final injury report, but it's going to be crucial for both teams.
The Bills' injury report on Thursday listed 13 players. The Rams' listed two running backs in RB Malcolm Brown and RB Cam Akers to go with CB Darious Williams. Modifying who will be available and then addressing in-game injuries will be the predominant factor. Given what happened in Week 2 across the NFL, it's the predominant factor league-wide already.
2.) Offensive line play
While the line carried significant concerns heading into the season, they've acquitted themselves thereof through two games. They've been a plus in a fortified run game and have done enough in the conservative passing game HC Sean McVay has rolled out through 17 functional offensive possessions (discounting three one-play drives at the end of each of the first three halves this year and a clock-killing possession to ice the Philly game).
They'll face a tough defensive line this week at Buffalo, but they're also doing so with a new starter with OL David Edwards replacing LG Joe Noteboom at left guard. Much of the flow of the game will be dictated by the line's performance this week and how that impacts both the running game and QB Jared Goff.
3.) Josh Allen's mobility
Bills QB Josh Allen is a bit of a chaos agent.
That can obviously work both ways in terms of the Bills' favor and/or the Rams' favor, but it's also difficult to plan for. He's athletic and mobile. He's unpredictable. And he's unrepentantly self-assured. Making sure he doesn't kill the Rams with his feet will be a priority.
4.) Turnover battle
This is one where the turnovers are likely to be a major factor.
The Rams didn't get a takeaway from the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1, but ILB Micah Kiser forced an early fumble and Eagles QB Carson Wentz threw two interceptions thereafter. The Rams themselves have offered up two very fluky turnovers: Goff's interception in Week 1 that wasn't a "bad" play or throw from Goff as he was hit illegally sans flag, and the fumble from WR/PR Cooper Kupp on a punt return. So overall, the Rams haven't had a "regular" turnover in the course of "normal" play (using a lot of quotations today!).
The Bills were a bit more disorderly with two fumbles by Allen in Week 1 to go with two takeaways (one interception, one fumble) and a Week 2 fumble by second-year TE Dawson Knox as the lone turnover between the Bills and Miami Dolphins.
If the Rams are forced to put some gas into the offensive tank, that could lead to a bit more havoc in general.
5.) K Sam Sloman
3 key matchups
1.) Rams' EDGE v. Bills QB Josh Allen
This is one area where the Rams are uniquely suited to defend Allen compared to most other Bills opponents this year. EDGE Leonard Floyd is much better against the run than the pass, and EDGE Samson Ebukam's deficiency in the pass can be mitigated when Allen takes off.
That's not to say to expect Allen to do NO damage by running, but that will likely be down more to discipline in holding the edge to force Allen inside moreso than talent itself.
2.) Rams' RB v. Bills LB
We kind of have to wait to see the final injury report to know what the Rams' cohort at running back will be on Sunday, but the Rams will need whomever they have available to produce. Playaction has been MUCH more effective this season with a more sincere running attack. On top of that, the Rams have been extremely successful on 3rd downs this year (converting 55.17% good for 3rd in the NFL) thanks largely to avoiding long conversion attempts with early down runs.
3.) Rams' DB v. Bills WR Stefon Diggs
Unlike the Rams' deep and even wide receiving corps, the Bills' group is top heavy with WR1 Diggs. It's just two games, but Diggs is averaging 8 receptions from 10 targets gaining 119.5 receiving yards per game. Yes, the Rams will have to limit his effectiveness, but they will have to do so without the expense of overattention to ensure no surprise candidates upend the Rams' passing defense.
Broadcast maps (via 506sports)
Thursday Night Football (8:20pm ET/5:20pm PT): Miami Dolphins @ Jacksonville Jaguars (NFL)
Sunday Night Football (8:20pm ET/5:20pm PT): Green Bay Packers @ New Orleans Saints (NBC)
Monday Night Football (8:15pm ET/5:15pm PT): Kansas City Chiefs @ Baltimore Ravens (ESPN/ABC)
o Las Vegas Raiders at New England Patriots (red)
o Houston Texans @ Pittsburgh Steelers (blue)
o Tennessee Titans @ Minnesota Vikings (orange)
o Cincinnati Bengals @ Philadelphia Eagles (teal)
o New York Jets @ Indianapolis Colts LATE (green)
o Carolina Panthers @ Los Angeles Chargers LATE (yellow)
FOX Sunday Early
o Los Angeles Rams @ Buffalo Bills (green)
o San Francisco 49ers @ New York Giants (red)
o Chicago Bears @ Atlanta Falcons (blue)
o Washington Football Team @ Cleveland Browns (yellow)
FOX Sunday Late
o Dallas Cowboys @ Seattle Seahawks (red)
o Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Denver Broncos (blue)
o Detroit Lions @ Arizona Cardinals (green)
Date: Sunday, September 27, 2020
Time: 1pm ET/10am PT
Location: Bills Stadium | Buffalo, NY
Announcers: Chris Myers (play-by-play), Greg Jennings, Brock Huard (analysts), Jen Hale (sideline reporter)
Radio (English, Local): ESPN 710 AM
Announcers: J.B. Long (play-by-play), Maurice Jones-Drew (analyst), D’Marco Farr (sideline reporter)
Radio (Spanish, Local): Tu Liga Radio 1330
Announcers: Troy Santiago (play-by-play), Ricardo Lopez (analyst)
BTH Twitter: @BTH_Rams
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