Here’s a look at a number of Bills-Rams predictions for today’s game from a host of league prognosticators.
By Elliot Harrison
By Mike Florio
Bills at Rams
MDS’s take: This is a much better game than anyone would have thought early in the season, with the Bills on a two-game winning streak and the Rams on a three-game winning streak. I’ll pick L.A. to keep it going behind a better-than-expected game from Case Keenum.
MDS’s pick: Rams 24, Bills 20.
Florio’s take: Buffalo has found the gas pedal following that Thursday night debacle, but the Rams are on the right track and will be hard to beat before a big crowd at the Coliseum. Especially with Aaron Donald to prove that he can holdSheldon Richardson’s jock, if for some reason Donald would even want to.
Florio’s pick: Rams 17, Bills 10.
By Chris Simms
When: Sunday, Oct. 9, at 4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)
I see a much different Rams defense on film than the one experts claim to see.
Yes, Aaron Donald is the Greek God of Defensive Tackles. But the six other guys in that front seven all want to hunt quarterbacks over playing disciplined assignment football.
Tyrod Taylor will make them pay for shooting the wrong gap with his legs. So will LeSean McCoy when Rams linebackers are slow to shed blocks. Both guys are clicking in this new Anthony Lynn-coordinated offense.
Rex Ryan’s group has all the defensive momentum too. They expose the Rams for the weak 3-1 team they are.
By Kevin Clark
LOS ANGELES (-3) over Buffalo
If you missed Rex Ryan giving the most honest look at his football philosophy this week, it’s worth exploring. In 2014, Ryan said that Aaron Donald couldn’t hold Sheldon Richardson’s jock. Those words are pretty funny now, because while Richardson is a solid player, Donald is one of the five best defenders in the NFL. He also says he remembers the comments. Ryan explained it thusly: “One of our coaches had said, ‘This guy can’t hold his jock.’ So I go ahead and say it — I never even saw him play, but I knew he was a rookie, so rookies shouldn’t go to the Pro Bowl. So, anyway, after I’ve seen this kid play, I’m like, ‘Oh boy!’” The comment itself was outrageous; that it came from someone who now admits he had no first-hand knowledge makes it almost unbelievable. I love Ryan. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: He’s going to be great on TV.
Anyway, this is going to be an exciting game. The Rams are brilliant at making every team they face seem as boring as they are. The Bills are truly already as boring as the Rams, so the only option is to cancel each other out and play a truly fun game. The Rams will win because they’re at home. And Rex Ryan will see Aaron Donald play and once again get to say “Oh boy!”
By David Steele
Sunday, 4:25 p.m., CBS
Good luck guessing what either team will do from week to week. The Rams still don’t seem that far removed from that disappearing act they pulled in San Francisco on the first Monday night. The same for the Bills team that was in such disarray after the Thursday loss to the Jets. The more stable team is … the Rams, which tells you something about Rex Ryan’s team. Rams, 23-21
By Evan Silva
Buffalo @ Los Angeles
Vegas Projected Score: Rams 21, Bills 18.5
Following back-to-back road upsets of Tampa Bay and Arizona, the streaking Rams play Week 5 host to a Bills team traveling cross country after back-to-back emotional wins over the Cardinals and Patriots. I was wrong to think Buffalo would collapse in Foxboro, but I think this is another letdown spot for the Bills. Averaging 22.5 touches per game, Todd Gurley makes for an enticing DFS tournament play with his price down and his passing-game role increasing. Still unable to get into space due to Los Angeles’ offensive line woes, Gurley tied a career high with five targets in last week’s victory over the Cardinals, catching all five passes for 49 yards. Gurley’s two longest plays on the year have come in the passing game (33, 19). It did help that passing-game specialist Benny Cunningham (hamstring) missed the second half, resulting in a season-high 85% snap rate for Gurley. I’m keeping a close eye on Cunningham’s practice reports this week. Buffalo has played run-tough defense overall, but they have allowed the fifth most rushing TDs in the league (5) and the tenth most receptions to opposing running backs (22). Gurley’s Week 5 outlook will be enhanced significantly if Cunningham is inactive. … Case Keenum‘s weekly fantasy finishes have ascended each game (QB32 > QB28 > QB17 > QB8), working his way into starter status in two-quarterback leagues. This is a matchup where game-plannerRex Ryan figures to sell out to stop the Rams’ running game, creating opportunities on the back end. Keenum has shown an increased willingness to pull the trigger on downfield throws, while Buffalo has permitted the NFL’s 11th most completions of 20-plus yards (14).
Keenum’s Weeks 1-4 target distribution: Tavon Austin 35; Kenny Britt 26; Lance Kendricks 20; Brian Quick 14; Gurley 11; Tyler Higbee 5. … A frustrating player to try to forecast, Austin followed up his top-12 fantasy receiver performance from Week 3 with an eight-total-yard clunker on three touches in last week’s win over the Cardinals. Austin has finished as a top-45 fantasy wideout in just 1-of-4 games. He is a complete shot in the dark. … Britt is the most stable pass catcher in the Rams’ offense, but he has yet to hit pay dirt on the season and has just one red-zone target. Britt’s matchup is unideal against stingy Bills press-man CBs Ronald Darby and Stephon Gilmore. … Quick has scored three touchdowns over the last two weeks, but his season high for targets is six and he is averaging two receptions per game while logging 56% of Los Angeles’ offensive snaps. Quick has always possessed playmaking ability, but he has always been very difficult to trust. I want to see Quick’s usage increase and stabilize before considering him a legitimate WR3 option. … Kendricks is scoreless on the year with yardage totals of 15, 61, 0, 52. The Bills are allowing the eighth fewest fantasy points to tight ends.
Tyrod Taylor deserves credit for picking apart a Patriots defense that was hell bent on stopping the run and confining Taylor to the pocket while generating zero pressure up front in Buffalo’s Week 4 upset win. Still badly missing Sammy Watkins‘ (foot, I.R.), Taylor has finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback in just 1-of-4 weeks and that finish directly resulted from two deep bombs to Marquise Goodwin and Greg Salas against the pass-funnel Jets. The only passer to post a top-15 week against the Rams so far was Jameis Winston, who threw 58 passes with four rushing attempts versus Los Angeles in Week 3. The Rams stymied Russell Wilson (QB27) and Carson Palmer/Drew Stanton (QB25) in Weeks 2 and 4. Over the past three weeks, the Rams rank second in the NFL in quarterback hits (21) and seventh in sacks (7). This is a bad matchup for Taylor, who is best approached as a two-QB-league starter and not a streamer. … L.A. played stout run defense in its first three games, before being hit by Cardinals RBs for a combined 24-117-0 (4.88 YPC) rushing line last week. Matchups have so far mattered little for LeSean McCoy, who is averaging 21 touches per game and compensated for last week’s quiet rushing effort (19-70) with a season-high six targets, which he parlayed into 6-38-1 receiving. The focal point of Buffalo’s Watkins-less offense, McCoy’s secure usage renders him an every-week RB1 in season-long leagues. He is averaging 96 total yards per game and a touchdown per week.
Taylor’s targets in Watkins’ two missed games: Robert Woods 18; Marquise Goodwin and McCoy 10; Charles Clay 9; Walt Powell 5; Mike Gillislee 2. … Woods’ lack of big-play ability is always a concern for his ceiling, but he has six or more catches in each of Watkins’ two missed weeks and leads the Bills in slot receiver snaps, where Los Angeles had trouble with Bucs slot WR Adam Humphries (9-100), 49ers slot WR Jeremy Kerley (7-61), and Cardinals slot WR Larry Fitzgerald (5-62). The Rams have allowed the most catches (69) in the league to wide receivers and the second most yards (847). Woods is a viable PPR play. … The Rams have given up three touchdowns to tight ends, but they’ve also allowed the 11th fewest receptions (15) and 11th fewest yards (137) to the position. Clay’s stat lines in Watkins’ missed games are 0-0 and 5-47-0. Clay hasn’t cleared 50 yards or scored a touchdown since Week 13 last year. … The Bills are using streak-route specialist Goodwin as their No. 2 wideout and Powell as their No. 3. Goodwin can pay dividends if he catches a long pass, but he will be a dud if he doesn’t. The Rams have allowed the tenth fewest completions of 20-plus yards and only one catch of 40-plus yards.
Score Prediction: Rams 20, Bills 17
Sunday: Bills at Rams
I can’t bet against these Rams. Not yet, at least. What a throwback team. They’re supposed to be Hollywood’s team, but their biggest star is a defensive tackle (Aaron Donald), and their quarterback is Case Keenum. The latter gets a lot of crap online and in the football media world, but he’s 6-2 in his past eight starts and is a blocked field goal in San Francisco last season away from being 7-1. The Rams have something going on. It’s ugly, it’s gritty, it’s somewhat anti-Hollywood. I’m into it.
The pick: Rams 22, Bills 17
Bills at Rams (-2.5)
Prediction: Rams win by 1 The Rams has won three straight games, the last two on the road, on the back of a defense largely relying on a cover-2 scheme previously thought to be outdated in today’s NFL. Since firing their offensive coordinator, the Bills have won two straight games—last week shutting out a depleted Patriots’ squad. Both teams will be looking to show that their resurgence is a real phenomenon. Look for the Rams, who unlike the Bills, are largely intact health-wise, to hold off doubters for at least one more week on the back of a defense—with eight starters owning overall grades above 75.0—facing an offense that just put their top receiver on injured reserve.
BILLS (+2.5) AT RAMS
Time, TV: 4:25 p.m., CBS.
Buffalo: Since 1991, teams coming off a road win in which they held their opponent scoreless are 42-25-6 ATS in their next game, and teams coming off wins in which they held an opponent scoreless as road underdogs are 14-6 ATS in their next game. If that team is a road underdog again in its following game, it’s gone 8-2 ATS.
Los Angeles: In the last 47 games involving the Bills, the true home team is 30-17 ATS.
Each week, Neil Greenberg makes NFL game predictions based on a multitude of factors that will have an impact on game day. These include efficiency stats such as success rates, yards per play and yards allowed per play, plus points scored based on strength of opponent. Point spreads are the consensus odds from multiple sports books in Vegas.
Last week’s record against the spread: 7-7-1
Buffalo Bills @ Los Angeles Rams (-2.5)
Winner: Los Angeles Rams, 51.3 percent
Pick: Buffalo Bills +2.5
RAMS (-2) over Bills: The Bills are coming off wins over the Cardinals and Patriots by a total of 31 points, but Rex Ryan has never been able to sustain the good times for long stretches. Aaron Donald (24 quarterback hits or hurries in four games) will make it tough in Tyrod Taylor.
Buffalo Bills (+2) at Los Angeles Rams
The Rams’ embarrassing opener is a distant memory, but so is the Bills’ 0-2 start.
Bills 24, Rams 16
Posted in Inside the Bills