The Los Angeles Rams - against all odds - are finding ways to win football games. After an embarrassing start to the 2016 season, the Rams have rattled off three straight victories and enter Week 5 sitting atop the NFC West.
They’ll host the Buffalo Bills this Sunday; a team they’ve faced only 11 times in franchise history.
And the Bills are not an opponent the Rams should take lightly. After disappointing losses in the first two weeks of the season, the Bills have been very impressive. In Week 3 they handled business at home, besting the Arizona Cardinals 33-18. The Bills then went on the road in Week 4 and beat the red hot New England Patriots. Not only did they beat the Patriots, but they held them scoreless on their home turf.
This game - which may have been viewed as a channel-changer a few weeks ago - is all of a sudden a very important game for both squads; and should prove to be a stellar matchup between two teams with very good defenses.
Do the Rams have what it takes to string together four straight wins for the first time since...2003?
The Turf Show Times staff make their predictions:
With both offenses struggling to move the ball against ELITE DEFENSES, the Rams catch a break after a 99 yard Hekker punt and sack Tyrod in the end zone
Prediction: Rams win, 2-0
I'm riding the wave. The Bills have held opposing teams to 90 yards rushing or less in 3 of their 4 games. I don't expect this to be Gurley's break out party. I do think Keenum gets the job done some how, some way(like he's been doing) against a tough Bills defense. Rams defense will have another great performance in front of a raucous crowd. In the year of many firsts, Rams will notch their first 4 game win streak since 2003.
Prediction: Rams win, 20-16
How the Rams are 3-1 is still a mystery, but this week is a good opportunity to get out to 4-1. Rex Ryan and the Bills have to travel to LA, giving the Rams their first home game after a two game road spurt. The Bills opened 0-2, only to win their next two games against the Arizona Cardinals, who the Rams just beat, and a crippled Patriots team. The Rams are hot off of a streak of wins, two of which were against divisional opponents, and now have the home field advantage against a coach more incompetent than Jeff Fisher. The Bill have some play makers on both sides of the ball, but their lack of consistency is something that the Rams can use against them.
Prediction: Rams win, 23-20
Seems like Fisherball is winning the ugly wins, which is exactly what it's meant for. But those ugly wins are not sustainable. The defenses will keep 9+ defenders in the box. Keenum will keep having those 1-on-1 match ups on the receivers. Last week, the receivers won their battles. But once they get the dropsies again, it's game over.
Prediction: Bills win, 20-13
Elijah Kim (@TST_Eli)
The Rams come back home after back to back victories on the road against two 1-3 teams. While ecstatic about the 3-1 start to the season that many could not have predicted, the Rams are still a team that has to prove that it can handle success. Jeff Fisher is 13-13-1 against his divisional opponents, an impressive feat against some of the perennial NFC powerhouses. However, he is also 5-9 in games against non NFC West opponents after facing an NFC West opponent. Look for the Rams to continue to lean on their turnover forcing defense, only to fall just short in their first game back off a successful road trip.
Prediction: Bills win, 21-17
Eric Nagel (@Eric_nagel)
The Rams luck grinds to a halt against the hot Bills. The Rams have had trouble with running QBs - Taylor is underrated and with shady, they have too good of a relief valve against the Rams D-Line
Prediction: Bills win, 23-13
Mike Dietrich (@dvond)
Everything is going the Rams way, turnovers, penalties, sacks etc right now but can this team and especially the coach handle success? I think they do for another week, even though the Rams always struggles with mobile QB's, I can see them finding a way again
Prediction: Rams win, 16-13
This is a classic Rams loss that doesn't make sense. Beating the Seahawks and Cardinals should be expected at least once a season for both by now. And even beating a team that's a super bowl contender like the Panthers or Patriots isn't out of the realm of possibility. That's what this team does. They beat the teams in the division and win games that they should lose by 40. But it's games like these where the struggle has never made sense. Theoretically the Rams should win this game just looking at it on paper. The Bills pass game has been nonexistent without Sammy Watkins. The pass rush has underwhelmed and the run game has been average. However they've played the run well and have some legit corners who can make plays. If you want to know if this 3-1 start is for real, if the Rams have really turned a corner, winning a game like this will tell you. Truthfully if Todd Gurley can't get going in this game, he's likely headed for less than a 1000 yards and arguably the most disappointing season from any player in recent memory. If the Ryan brothers stack the box, Case Keenum will have a good game. If they don't to prevent a repeat of the last two weeks Gurley will get off. Looks like the Rams finally have their identity.
Prediction: Rams win 27-13
Gurley can’t get out of his own way, while Shady McCoy is starting to get things going. The Bills are +27 in rushing yard differential per game, while the Rams are at -28. I don’t believe that the boys from LA can sustain this, so I’m going to keep picking against the Rams and hope they continue to prove me wrong.
Prediction: Bills win, 17-13
Sean Wilkinson (@Papa_Lurch)
The Bills and Rams are two of the more surprising teams in the NFL in 2016. The Bills are coming off of two wins against the losers of the 2015 Conference Championships while the Rams are riding a 3 game win streak of their own.
The key to this game is containing Tyrod Taylor - who will likely be without stud WR Sammy Watkins. If the Rams can contain Taylor I like their chances. Luckily for Greg Williams, he has two former safeties as his LBs in base defense. I trust Mark Barron and Alec Ogletree to sly the Bills QB.
It'll be ugly, but I think the Rams stand a chance. I've picked wrong each game So far......so I'm gonna pick the Bills and hope to keep my personal losing streak in tact.
Prediction: Bills win, 15-13
They were so innocent, they came so very trustingly; and they were so very human in their protests--and so perfectly within their rights! They had done nothing to deserve it; and it was adding insult to injury, as the thing was done here, swinging them up in this cold-blooded, impersonal way, without a pretence at apology, without the homage of a tear. Now and then a visitor wept, to be sure; but this slaughtering-machine ran on, visitors or no visitors. It was like some horrible crime committed in a dungeon, all unseen and unheeded, buried out of sight and of memory.
Prediction: Rams win, 7-3
Brandon Bate (@NoPlanB_)
My preseason prognostications had the Rams going 1-3 after the first four games. The Rams were to win their home opener before dropping three straight.
They are now 3-1 and have done exactly the opposite of everything I figured they would.
That said, I figured the Rams would get back on track with a home win against the Bills. So, it’s pretty obvious....the Rams are going to lose. And yes, it’s my fault.
Prediction: Bills win, 23-16