This weekend, the St. Louis Rams (5-6-1) travel to Orchard Park to take on the Buffalo Bills (5-7). The Bills are coming off of a much needed moral victory in a beatdown of the Jacksonville Jaguars last week.
The Bills finally played football the way the fans had wanted it played, and it worked out for the best. We saw a heavy dose of Freddy and C.J., and the duo accounted for 232 yards on the ground. Finally Fitzpatrick was only alowed to attempt 17 passes, rather the 30+ he has been subject to in previous weeks. He was effective, tossing two touchdowns to a single interception.
Now on to St. Louis. St. Louis has quietly proved that they are a tough team to play, taking the 49ers to overtime twice this year, and pulled out victories over the Washington Redskins and Seattle Seahawks.
Both teams have limited offenses, but both have solid and exciting defense.
Bills Pass Offense Vs. Rams Pass Defense
Bills’ quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has led the Bills to the 26th ranked pass offense in the National Football League, averaging 198.5 yards per game in the air. Last week marked the third year in a row in which Fitzpatrick has thrown at least 20 touchdowns in a season.
The Rams, on the other hand, are very good at defending the pass, allowing 226.3 yards per game through the air, good for 12th in the league. They have a very underrated secondary consisting of Cortland Finnegan, Quintin Mikell, and standout rookie cornerback Janoris Jenkins.
Bills Rush Offense Vs. Rams Rush Defense
The Bills have the 4th ranked rushing attack in the National Football League, led by C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson, who have combined for 1,330 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground. Spiller has the speed to go outside the tackles and force opposing defenders to take bad angles on him, allowing big plays in return.
The Rams allow just 114.4 yards per game on the ground, good for 14th in the league. When the Bills run the ball, the Rams’ ends will need to set the edge, while their linebackers pray they can get outside quickly enough to contain him.
Rams Pass Offense Vs. Bills Pass Defense
Sam Bradford has played well this year, completing 60.8% of his passes for 2,668 yards, throwing 14 touchdowns to just nine interceptions. At his arsenal are three receivers; Danny Amendola, Chris Givens, and Brandon Gibson. Neither is a true No. 1 threat, but they can catch and move quickly.
The Bills have a solid secondary of their own, led by Jairus Byrd, who is playing at a Pro Bowl level this year. Stephon Gilmore, the rookie cornerback has also had a great year, and has been covering the opponent’s No.1 threat for the past eight weeks or so.
Rams Rush Offense Vs. Bills Pass Defense
This is one area in which the Bills are disadvantaged. Ranked 30th in rush defense on the year, they have allowed an average of 139.2 yards per game on the ground. The Rams have the 14th ranked pass offense, gaining 115.1 yards per game. Led by running back Steven Jackson, who has rushed for 772 yards on 195 carries, scoring twice, while adding another 21 receptions for 198 yards out of the backfield, the Rams will match Jackson’s power with the Bills’ power on their front four.
Top 5 Matchups To Watch
Bills WR Stevie Johnson Vs. Rams CB Cortland Finnegan
The No. 1 receiving threat on the Buffalo Bills’ roster is Stevie Johnson, and he will most likely be lining up opposite Cortland Finnegan for the majority of Sunday’s contest. Johnson, who has 55 receptions for 705 yards and five scores on the year, is far from accomplishing a third consecutive season with 1,000 yards, but that doesn’t matter to him. He wants wins, and he has been winning in recent matchups as of late. Against Indy, he caught a 67 yarder, the longest of his career, and followed that up with yet another dance when he found the endzone against the Jaguars.
Finnegan is getting up there in age, but his toughness is still easy to see. This will be a key matchup, and will dictate the offensive gameplan for the Bills.
Bills OT Chris Hairton or Sam Young Vs. Rams DE Chris Long
With second year tackle, Chris Hairston, suffering a “deep bruise” against the Jaguars, the unproven Sam Young may have to make the start at right tackle. If so, he will be faced off with the Rams’ feared defensive end, Chris Long, who, along with fellow defensive end Robert Quinn, the fearsome duo has ammassed 44 tackles, 15.5 sacks, two pass deflections and a forced fumble.
Bills CB Stephon Gilmore Vs. Rams WR Danny Amendola
Stephon Gilmore was the No. 10 overall pick by the Buffalo Bills in the 2012 NFL Draft, and he has make improvements in every single game of the year. While he still doesn’t have his first career interception, he has been a very disruptive force in the secondary, and looks like he has all the makings of a potential lockdown cornerback for years to come.
Dany Amendola has been nagged by injuries throughout the year, but that hasn’t stopped the quickster from grabbing 51 passes for 576 yards and two scores.
Bills DE Mario Williams Vs. Rams RT Barry Richardson
Mario Williams is finally proving he is worth the $96 million dollars he will be earning during his tenure in Western New York. Recording eight sacks over the last seven games, the former No. 1 overall draft pick of the Texans now has 9.5 on the year. This week, he’s facing off with a not-so-special tackle in Barry Richardson, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see his sack streak continue.
Bills LB Nick Barnett Vs. Rams TE Lance Kendricks
Nick Barnett leads the team in tackles with 82, adding two sacks, and three forced fumbles along the way. He is the Bills’ best linebacker in terms of pass coverage, but we’ll also see our weekly dose of Bryan Scott in the nickel formations as well.
Lance Kendricks, a second year tight end out of Wisconsin has a high ceiling, and has 29 receptions for 296 yards and scored twice. The Bills need to make sure they know where he is on the field, as we all know how the Bills stuggle against tight ends.
Rams 13 Bills 20
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