(CBSLA) — The Los Angeles Rams are looking more like the team that made the Super Bowl two seasons ago, rather than the team that went 9-7 and missed the playoffs last season. They’re coming off a 37-19 dismantling of the Philadelphia Eagles, after holding on to beat the Dallas Cowboys, 20-17 in Week 1. Can they continue the mini-run against a Buffalo Bills team also enjoying early-season success?
Jared Goff, a key reason for the Rams’ success so far, is looking more like his former self. He opened the Eagles win with 13 straight completions and went on to complete 20-27 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns. Tight end Tyler Higbee had a big day, catching all three of Goff’s TDs. Darrell Henderson turned his 12 carries into 81 yards and another score. The week before, it was Robert Woods, with six catches and 105 yards, and Darrell Henderson, with 18 carries for 79 yards, who led the way.
The variety of weapons poses issues for opposing defenses, but it may be the Rams’ own defense that has the problem this week. The Bills offense has taken off with the addition of wide receiver Stefon Diggs, signed from the Minnesota Vikings this past offseason. Diggs is tied for the NFL lead in receiving yards so far with 239 yards. He’s pulled in 16 of his 22 targets.
Diggs’ arrival has led to big numbers in the passing game in general. Josh Allen went 24-35 for 417 yards and four touchdowns last Sunday against a Miami Dolphins secondary that was supposed to be much improved. His biggest day as a pro followed a 33-46, 312-yard, two-touchdown showing against the New York Jets. Beating up on the bottom half of the AFC East isn’t the best indicator of what’s to come. But things are certainly looking up in Buffalo.
Both of these teams may be for real, but at least one of them isn’t winning this week. “I’m more impressed with the Rams’ victories, because they came over the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles,” says CBS San Francisco sports director Dennis O’Donnell. “Who did the Bills beat? They beat the Jets and the Dolphins… big deal.”
Those defenses don’t measure up to the Rams defense that sports some of the NFL’s best position players, namely Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey. And that comes back around to Allen and Diggs, and how they handle this week’s more formidable matchup.
“I think the Rams win this game because of Josh Allen,” says O’Donnell. “I know he had 417 yards passing a four touchdowns last week. But this week he’s facing Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey, the highest paid cornerback. The matchup for me in this game is Stefon Diggs, 19 yards per reception last week, against Jalen Ramsey. Where is Ramsey going to line up? Does he go one-on-one with Diggs, or does Diggs go to the other side? I’m going to go with the Rams to stay undefeated. They go 3-0.”
The Bills’ best option may be to lean more heavily on their running game, which seemed to find some footing against the Dolphins between Devin Singletary and Zack Moss. Allen also remains a threat with his legs. Either on the ground or through the air, the focus will be on him to get it done, if the Bills hope to stay undefeated.
The Rams play the Bills Sunday, September 27 @ 10:00 a.m.