Los Angeles Rams: Three key matchups vs. Buffalo

by Skyler Carlin
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After taking down the Philadelphia Eagles in impressive fashion in Week 2, the Los Angeles Rams will remain on the East Coast to square off against the Buffalo Bills in Week 3. Sunday’s contest between the Rams and the Bills will be a perfect litmus test to see where each of them stands at this point in the season.

Both Los Angeles and Buffalo boast 2-0 records and they both have quarterbacks who are performing admirably through the first two weeks. Jared Goff has been uberly efficient in Sean McVay’s offense, completing 69 percent of his passes for 542 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception.

On the other sideline, Allen has also been efficient, completing 70.4 percent of his attempts for 727 yards, six touchdowns, and zero interceptions. However, both of them will be facing the best defense they’ve faced so far this season in Week 3.

There isn’t a lack of talent for either team, with both of them deploying All-Pro players on both sides of the ball. Given that, fans — regardless of your affiliation — should be in for a fantastic showdown when the Rams and the Bills take the field on Sunday.

Besides the obvious matchup of the quarterbacks, let’s take a look at some of the other skirmishes that could take shape in this cross-country battle between Los Angeles and Buffalo.

Jalen Ramsey vs. Stefon Diggs

Jalen Ramsey is one of the select few cornerbacks in the NFL that is still asked to shadow the opposing team’s best wide receiver. And seeing that the Bills now employ Stefon Diggs, it’s inevitable that we’ll see No. 20 following Diggs wherever he goes on the field.

In his first two games with the Bills, Diggs has compiled 16 receptions for 239 yards and a touchdown. While his first two games were against the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins, there’s no mistaking that Diggs is one of the best home-run hitters in the league.

For Ramsey and the Rams, it will be critical to keep not only Diggs — especially with Allen’s tendency to throw the ball down the field — but John Brown and Cole Beasley in front of them at all times. A week ago, we saw Ramsey be tasked with different assignments, being targeted just twice as he allowed zero receptions versus the Eagles.

Despite Buffalo having an affinity to run the ball in 2019, they’ve come out guns blazing in 2020, allowing Allen to uncork passes often in the first two weeks. Even though Diggs is downplaying the matchup between him and Ramsey, we should see plenty of opportunities for them to try and outduel one another.

Rams’ OL vs. Bills’ DL

Through the first two weeks, one of the biggest developments for the Rams is the much-improved play of the offensive line. Altogether, Goff has only been pressured 11 times this season, which is five fewer than Jeff Driskel endured in Week 2 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Along with the outstanding play of the offensive line, McVay’s creativity in the offense has helped keep Goff upright. It is evident that McVay has realized that Goff excels out of the pocket, allowing him to be on the move more often — mainly on play-action passes.

Nevertheless, it’s going to be easier said than done for Los Angeles’ offensive line to continue their success in Week 3 versus Buffalo’s formidable defensive front. In the interior, the Bills deploy Ed Oliver, Quinton Jefferson, and Vernon Butler.

Then, off of the edges, Buffalo can send Jerry Hughes, Trent Taylor, and Mario Addison after the quarterback. Taking that into account, the Rams’ offensive line unit is going to have their hands full in keeping Goff clean. If the Bills can get Goff out of his comfort zone, then Los Angeles could be in for a long day on Sunday.

Rams’ front seven vs. Josh Allen

While Goff isn’t known for his mobility (even though McVay called a zone-read for Goff in Week 2), Allen loves to create with his legs for the Bills. Standing at 6-foot-5, nearly 240 pounds, Allen turns into a running back when he’s in the open field and isn’t afraid to deal punishment to defenders.

In his first two seasons in the NFL, Allen exceeded 500+ rushing yards and had eight rushing touchdowns each season. To kickstart this season, the former No. 7 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft has scampered for 76 yards and a score on 18 carries.

Given his knack to pull the ball down and run, it will be absolutely crucial for the Rams to contain him and remain diligent at all times. Of course, Los Angeles will look to collapse the pocket for Allen with Aaron Donald and the other members of the front seven.

Expect the Rams to have a defender on every play who is tasked with spying on Allen, preventing him from escaping the pocket. The last thing Los Angeles needs is Allen running rampant on them, which would open up so much more for Buffalo’s offense — specifically in the passing game.

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