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Week 3 Preview: Los Angeles Rams to face a stout Buffalo Bills team

Photo credit: Chris Szagola/AP photographer.

The Los Angeles Rams have had a strong start to their 2020 season. They defeated the Dallas Cowboys at home in Week 1 and toppled the Philadelphia Eagles on the road in Week 2. Both teams were predicted to be tough opponents and the Rams’ approach to the Buffalo Bills will be no different. The Bills are also 2-0 coming into the matchup. They have wins against the New York Jets in Week 1 and the Miami Dolphins in Week 2. L.A. will meet Buffalo at the Bills Stadium on Sunday.

The Bills are coming off a strong win against a Dolphins team whose offense was just outplayed. Bills quarterback Josh Allen threw 24 passes on 35 attempts for 415 yards and four touchdowns.  He was sacked once and had no interceptions. Allen currently leads the NFL in passing with a total of 729 yards in just two games. His build is equally intimidating. During a run, the 6’5,” 237-pound Allen was strong enough to put Dolphins veteran linebacker Kyle Van Noy on the ground and cause defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah to miss a tackle. The Rams defense may have their work cut out for them when trying to contain him.

Allen’s favorite target against Miami was wide receiver Stefon Diggs. Diggs had eight receptions for 153 yards and one touchdown. He is currently tied for first in the league in receiving yards. Look for Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey to cover their star receiver. The Bills have other receiving weapons in John Brown, Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis, as well as, tight ends Reggie Gilliam and Dawson Knox. Gilliam scored first on a one-yard pass and Davis scored in the fourth quarter on a six-yard pass.

Bills running backs Devin Singletary and Zach Moss are in the backfield, but neither has scored in a game yet. Singletary leads the Bills in rushing with 19 carries for 86 yards. He is elusive and strong. Ironically, Allen is second in rushing yards with 75. The Rams defensive line will be challenged to stuff the run but are confident in the leadership of defensive tackle Aaron Donald. His speed, strength and agility against the Bills offensive line, along with Sebastian Joseph-Day and Michael Brockers will give the running game a problem. Micah Kiser, who is second the league with 23 total tackles, will also get to the ball quickly. There were no sacks on Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz but don’t count out EDGE Leonard Floyd’s ability to chase down mobile QBs.  Linebackers Kenny Young and Samson Ebukam are looking to shine, too.

The Rams offense will face a tough backfield. Bills cornerback Levi Wallace and safety Micah Hyde lead in tackles. Hyde leads in tackles for the season and Wallace led in tackles against Miami.  Linebacker Tyrel Dodson will also be one to watch. Safety Jordan Poyer, defensive tackle Ed Oliver and veteran defensive end Mario Addison all had one sack each against the Dolphins. The Rams offensive line is holding tight so far, but they will need to contain the edge as Addison leads the Bills with two sacks for the season.

The Rams defense will match well against the Bills receiving corps. Rams cornerbacks Troy Hill and Darious Williams each have one interception against the Eagles. The Bills have had no interceptions since their Jets matchup. It was one pick by linebacker Matt Milano. Safeties John Johnson and Jordan Fuller have had huge pass breakups, stops and tackle numbers. Johnson was second behind Kiser in tackles against Miami and Fuller led in tackles against Dallas and ranks second in tackles for the season. Their dominance in the backfield is noted.

Rams quarterback Jared Goff had a stellar game against the Eagles. Goff completed 20 passes on 27 attempts for 267 yards and three touchdowns.  He had no interceptions and was sacked once.  All his touchdown passes were to tight end Tyler Higbee. Higbee is on a meteoric rise this year, piggybacking off his late 2019 season success. Goff has 40 passes on 58 attempts for 542 yards and three touchdowns for the season. He has two sacks and one interception.

Rams running backs Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown had a strong showing against Philadelphia. Henderson led in rushing with 12 carries for 81 yards and one touchdown. He also has two receptions for 40 yards. Brown fractured his finger during the game but seems likely to play in a splint against the Bills. Rookie running back Cam Akers injured his ribs against the Eagles and has been listed out for Week 3. Offensive lineman Joe Noteboom will be out for at least three weeks after being placed on the IR. David Edwards will start in his place.

Rams wide receivers Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp will also be ready. Woods scored on a rushing touchdown against the Eagles, adding to his modus operandi of misdirection scores in the red zone. He has 33 rushing yards on top of eight receptions for 119 yards for the season. Kupp leads the Rams with nine catches for 121 yards for the season.

This game may be a shootout depending on how well the Rams defense can contain Allen and cover his targets. The Rams defense is quicker up front, so that should help. It would force the ball out quickly and cause Allen to make fast decisions. It was the same strategy against the Eagles, but Allen is one of the best quarterbacks in the league for now. The Rams’ running game continues to impress and these past few weeks have shown the offensive line to be much more in sync than last season. Goff is making good decisions overall and his targets are just as good if not better than last season. Watch for more Higbee grabs and another impressive showing from rookie Van Jefferson. Kupp and Woods will continue to perform as expected. The Rams will win only if Allen is slowed down. He is their star playmaker.

Sources:  espn.com, therams.compro-football-reference.com, theramswire.usatoday.com

You can follow Erik Ho on Twitter @EHoinSDLVLA. Be sure to follow Rams Talk on Twitter @TalkRams.

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