Week 3 Game Preview: Early undefeated showdown as Rams look to slow down Josh Allen and Bills

This is the Rams least important game in the first two months of the season.

Folks, that is not how journalism school would want you to lead a column. "Thanks for stopping by; see you next week!"

Of course, this is a meaningful showdown between a pair of 2-0 teams, and there are mesmerizing matchups throughout. My point is only that if you were to rank the Rams schedule in the first half of the season in terms of playoff implications, this trip to Buffalo would be last or second-to-last.

Tier One: San Francisco (no explanation necessary)

Tier Two: Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas (NFC contenders)

Tier Three: New York, Washington (NFC pretenders)

Tier Four: Miami, Buffalo (AFC)

Now, how can the Rams convince themselves its Super Bowl LV in September?

Dead Heat Division

One way might be to remember there is no margin for error in the division.

Of the five unbeatens left in the conference, three of them are in the NFC West. It's the only division in the NFL where all four teams are .500 or better, leading to some speculation that under the new postseason format, the entire West might reach the NFC postseason.

And looking at the out-of-town scoreboard, there's a solid chance the 49ers, Cardinals, and Seahawks are all winning again this week.

Dual-Threat and Doubters

For the third consecutive week, the Rams defense will face a quarterback capable of doing damage on the ground.

Dak Prescott picked up 30 yards rushing; Carson Wentz only seven.

So far, so good for Brandon Staley.

However, this side of Lamar Jackson, you won't find many signal-callers more dynamic than Josh Allen, who has more yards than 22 teams this season and has authored 18 rushing scores in 30 career contests.

Which might be why, for the third consecutive week, Jared Goff has to hear pundits prefer the opposition's signal caller.

A chip on a shoulder is never a bad way to stay sharp and motivated, either.

Jekyll and Josh

One of two things has happened for Allen in 2020:

Either he remedied his major deficiencies or he's due for a regression.

After two seasons, the book on Buffalo's 2018 first-round pick was too many turnover-worthy plays (last out of 38 qualifiers last year, per Pro Football Focus) and inaccuracy beyond 20 yards (lowest downfield completion percentage in the NFL in 2019).

After back-to-back career-best performances to begin this season, it's been a total 180 for Allen. And everyone thinks they know the reason why.

Digging This Matchup

Stefon Diggs — one of the best deep targets in football – shares the NFL receiving lead and will collide with Jalen Ramsey for only the second time in their careers on Sunday.

With Minnesota and Jacksonville, respectively, in 2016 the star wideout went for three catches and 55 yards receiving against Ramsey, who was playing his rookie season for the Jaguars.

After a bumper-crop of draft picks exchanged hands, they're playing for different franchises this time around.

Cornering the Market

The undercard has to be Robert Woods versus the second-highest paid corner in the league, Tre'Davious White. Last year's NFL interception leader helped set the market for Ramsey and Los Angeles back in April.

Meantime, it will be the first trip back to Orchard Park for Bobby Trees, who was drafted 41st overall by the Bills in 2013.

"He's one of the few back-to-back 1,200-yard fullbacks in the NFL," McVay quipped this week, referencing his receiver's tenacity. "If you don't like Robert Woods, then something's wrong with you."

The Los Angeles Rams were back on the practice field on Thursday preparing for the Week 3 road trip to face the Buffalo Bills. Check out the top photos!

Oh Gerald, Where Art Thou?

You've likely noticed the first pick of the McVay era is off to a slow start in a contract year.

But really, the Gerald Everett Rams fans have been hoping for never really returned from Pittsburgh last November. Since that frigid Week 10 evening on the Three Rivers, here's the tight end's stat line across seven outings:

18 targets, 12 receptions, 118 yards, 0 touchdowns

Tyler Higbee's third touchdown from Philadelphia is an example of the other ways Everett's positively impacting the offense. After that showcase for his counterpart, perhaps this is Everett's week to shine. Without two starting linebackers, the Bills did allow Miami tight end Mike Gesicki to go off in Week 2.

Third Down Distance

We cannot stress enough the favorable circumstances the Rams have earned – and enjoyed – offensively.

Their average yards-to-gain on third down this season is just 5.27 and their conversion rate is 55 percent, third-best in the league in both categories.

And Like That, He's… Arrived

As predicted in last week's preview, Micah Kiser delivered a bounce-back performance against the Eagles. We weren't bold enough to forecast NFC Defensive Player of the Week, but the leap Kiser and fellow off-ball backer Kenny Young took was not lost on their teammates.

"Micah's a stud," nickel Troy Hill said this week on the Rams Revealed Podcast. "He's doing his thing out there."

Second Half Shutdown

In part because of Kiser's efforts, the Rams have not allowed a second half touchdown this season and have surrendered just six points after halftime to the Cowboys and Eagles, combined.

The Baltimore Ravens are the only other NFL franchise to hold their first two opponents below 20 points so far in 2020.

Spoiled by Special Teams

Los Angeles has been an outpost for difference-making special teams. So, it's an uneasy feeling to be 2-0 despite a rash of mistakes in the kicking game. We've seen a missed field goal, a blocked extra point, a fumble, a 20-yard punt return surrendered, and a kickoff penalty.

That's living dangerously and is bound to cost the Rams a game if not corrected.

But Who Have They Played?

There's no reason to apologize for any NFL win.

That being said, the biggest reason to doubt the 2020 Bills is their level of competition. The Jets and Dolphins are well-positioned in the Trevor Lawrence Sweepstakes. Those franchise are 0-4, combined.

Buffalo's next four games, however, are against the Rams, Raiders, Titans and Chiefs, all undefeated to this point.

Do Not Let Donald Miss The Bus

Hopefully this goes without saying, but with another 10 a.m. Pacific Time kickoff, let's make sure not to leave without Aaron Donald.

"I'm always early," he assured everyone this week.

Related Content

Advertising