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Rams vs. Bills matchups: A chance for Darrell Henderson, Malcolm Brown to excel

Rams running back Darrell Henderson, left, tries to fend off Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Nate Gerry.
Rams running back Darrell Henderson, left, tries to fend off Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Nate Gerry during the Rams’ Week 2 win.
(Chris Szagola / Associated Press)

Breaking down how the Los Angeles Rams (2-0) and Buffalo Bills (2-0) match up for Sunday’s game at Bills Stadium.

When Rams have the ball: With the third-best rushing attack in the NFL, coach Sean McVay has kept quarterback Jared Goff on the move to deftly execute play-action passes. Rookie running back Cam Akers will not play because of rib injury suffered last week against the Philadelphia Eagles, so Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson will probably split time. Brown will play with a splint on his left pinkie after suffering a fracture against the Eagles. Henderson broke out against Eagles, rushing for a career-best 81 yards in 12 carries, including one for his first NFL touchdown. Tight end Tyler Higbee caught three touchdown passes against the Eagles. The question: Will McVay get tight end Gerald Everett more involved in an offense that also features receivers Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Josh Reynolds and rookie Van Jefferson? David Edwards will start at left guard in place of injured Joe Noteboom. The Bills defense features lockdown cornerback Tre’Davious White, who signed a four-year, $69-million extension. Safety Micah Hyde is the leading tackler for a unit that has given up only 75.5 yards rushing per game. Defensive tackle Ed Oliver and linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano were limited during practice last week but are expected to play.

Rams vs. Bills matchup
(Tim Hubbard / Los Angeles Times)

When Bills have the ball: Third-year quarterback Josh Allen is showing the playmaking ability the Bills anticipated when they selected him with the seventh pick in the 2018 draft. Allen has passed for 727 yards and six touchdowns, with no interceptions, for the NFL’s top passing offense. Allen also is averaging 38 yards rushing per game. During the offseason, the Bills traded for receiver Stefon Diggs, who has 16 catches, one for a touchdown. Receivers Cole Beasley and John Brown are other targets, and running back Devin Singletary is pass-catching threat. Running back Zack Moss and tight ends Dawson Knox will not play because of a toe injury and concussion, respectively. Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald and cornerback Jalen Ramsey lead a unit that forced turnovers at critical moments against the Eagles. Linebacker Micah Kiser was named NFC defensive player of the week after forcing a fumble and recording 16 tackles. Cornerbacks Troy Hill and Darious Williams are benefitting from the fear opponents have for testing Ramsey. The Rams recorded three sacks in the opener against the Cowboys but had none against the Eagles. Rookie safety Jordan Fuller will continue to start alongside John Johnson.

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When they kick: Rookie Samuel Sloman had an extra-point kick blocked against the Eagles and has not consistently delivered kickoffs that resulted in touchbacks. He has made three of four field-goal attempts. Kupp fumbled a punt return against the Eagles. Tyler Bass has made three of five field-goal attempts for the Bills.

Gary Klein’s prediction: If the “Bills Mafia” fans were cramming into Bills Stadium to make it extra tough on the Rams, this would be a tough game for the Rams to win. They showed last week, however, they weren’t adversely affected by a long but quick cross-country round trip.

RAMS 27, BILLS 24


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