After starting the season with a Monday night loss to the San Francisco 49ers, the Los Angeles Rams have bounced back to win three straight games, two over division opponents, to put them in a first place tie with the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West.
In Week 4 they came back to beat the Arizona Cardinals 17-13 on the road when quarterback Case Keenum connected with Brian Quick late in the game for a touchdown to seal the victory.
The Rams return home in Week 5 as they will host Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills. The Bills are also coming in hot, as the have won two consecutive games including a Week 4 shutout of the New England Patriots.
Rams Offense vs. Bills Defense
The Bills defense has turned things around in Weeks 3 and 4 after struggling in the first couple of games. The Bills have given up just 96 yards per game on the ground, so once again Todd Gurley may have trouble finding holes. One thing the Rams discovered last week is that Gurley can also catch passes, as he caught a career-high five balls for 49 yards.
With the Rams ground game struggling through the first four weeks, look for offensive coordinator Rob Boras to get creative in the ways he gets the ball to his play makers, Gurley and Tavon Austin.
For the Rams offense to have success they will have to throw the ball down the field, and have success on third down, something they have been better at the last couple of weeks.
Rams Defense vs. Bills Offense
The Bills offense features one of the most mobile quarterbacks in the league in Tyrod Taylor. He rushed for 568 yards in 2015 which ranked second among quarterbacks behind only Cam Newton.
Luckily for the Rams, the are used to facing mobile quarterbacks as the play in the same division as Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick (even though he is no longer the starter).
If the Rams want to be successful on defense they will have to put pressure on Taylor and make him beat them with his arm, which will be tough as his best pass catcher Sammy Watkins is currently out with a foot injury.
Defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week after his Week 4 performance against the Cardinals, is playing with a little added incentive in this game as a couple of years ago Ryan said that Donald could not hold Jets defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson’s jock strap when he was named to the Pro Bowl over him. While Ryan retracted that statement earlier this week, Donald said he remembers what he said.
I think this game will be another close one for the Rams, whose last three games have all been decided late.
In what should be another defensive battle, whichever team can come up with a big play late will win this game.
My prediction is that with the Rams leading 20-14 late in the fourth quarter, Donald shuts Ryan up once and for all and sacks Taylor, stripping him of the ball and Alec Ogletree picks up the fumble and returns it for a touchdown, resulting in a 27-14 Rams win.