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Rams

Rams vs. Bills: How they matchup

AFC East: Buffalo Bills

Expect a roster overhaul for the Bills, who are expected to release quarterback Tyrod Taylor to avoid paying him $12 million next season. Buffalo also needs to find personnel that fits new coach Sean McDermott’s 4-3 defensive scheme.

(Kevin Sabitus / Getty Images)

Rams pass offense vs. Bills pass defense:  Case Keenum has passed for four touchdowns in the last two games, three to Brian Quick. Kenny Britt has a Rams-best 18 catches and is averaging 15.2 yards per reception. Running back Todd Gurley also showed last week against Arizona that he can be a viable target. This could be the week that rookies Pharoh Cooper and Nelson Spruce make their debuts after recovering from injuries. The Bills are giving up 260.5 passing yards per game. They surrendered only 187 in their 16-0 victory at New England last week. Linebackers Lorenzo Alexander and Jerry Hughes each have four sacks. 

EDGE: Bills. 

Rams run offense vs. Bills run defense: Thus far, Gurley has been stymied by defensive schemes set up specifically to stop him. He is averaging 54 yards rushing per game and 2.6 yards per carry. Gurley’s longest run this season went for 16 yards. His emergence as a pass catcher might open things up for him as a running back. The offensive line is performing adequately under the duress of run-stopping defensive alignments. The Bills are giving up 96 yards rushing per game, which ranks 13th in the NFL. Linebacker Zach Brown has a team-leading 52 tackles, and linebacker Preston Brown 37. The Bills limited the Patriots to 90 yards rushing last week.

EDGE: Bills.

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Bills pass offense vs. Rams pass defense: Tyrod Taylor is a dual-threat quarterback capable of breaking open a game with his arm or legs. Taylor is completing 64% of his passes, four for touchdowns, with two interceptions. Receiver Sammy Watkins is out because of a foot injury, so former USC All-American Robert Woods has emerged as Taylor’s top target. Woods has 18 catches for 170 yards. The Rams are giving up 275 passing yards per game, which ranks 23rd in the NFL. Cornerback E.J. Gaines returned from injury last week and could start opposite Trumaine Johnson against the Bills.

EDGE: Rams.

Bills run offense vs. Rams run defense: LeSean McCoy is averaging 74.3 yards rushing per game and has scored three touchdowns, but supposedly is questionable after suffering an unspecified hand injury Friday. Former USC star Reggie Bush was inactive last week. He has carried only three times for minus-four yards. Mike Gillislee has been McCoy’s backup. Taylor is second on the team with 140 yards and a touchdown in 21 carries. The Rams are giving up 104.5 yards rushing per game, which ranks 17th in the NFL. Middle linebacker Alec Ogletree has a team-best 36 tackles. 

EDGE: Rams.

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Special teams: Tavon Austin keyed the Rams’ victory over Arizona last week with a 47-yard punt return that set up the winning touchdown. Austin is averaging 11.2 yards per return. Benny Cunningham suffered a hamstring injury last week but he is expected to return and is averaging 32.2 yards per kickoff return. Punter Johnny Hekker is averaging 44.5 yards per kick and has put 15 of 27 of his kicks inside the 20. Greg Zuerlein has made all five of his field-goal attempts. Bills kicker Dan Carpenter has made six of eight field-goal attempts. Brandon Tate is a dangerous kick returner. 

EDGE: Rams

Gary Klein’s pick: The Rams and their 3-1 start are the surprise of the NFL. They overcame a shutout loss against San Francisco to beat the Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals. Now they get to play at home with momentum and confidence, and face a Bills team minus star receiver Watkins. The Bills also must travel cross-country after last week’s shutout victory at New England. The Rams have a history of playing well within the division and then suffering letdowns against unfamiliar opponents. That trend could begin to reverse Sunday.

Rams 24, Bills 17.


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