Los Angeles Rams vs. Buffalo Bills Matchup Preview (9/27/20): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream
Los Angeles Rams vs. Buffalo Bills Matchup Preview (9/27/20): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)
The Rams and Bills have both gotten out to a very strong start this season and both teams sit at 2-0. Los Angeles has defeated the Cowboys and Eagles, both of whom were .500 or better last season. Meanwhile, the Bills have defeated the Dolphins and Jets, arguably two of the worst teams in football. Both of these teams will be hopeful of making a postseason run this year and they each have a share of the lead in their respective divisions. The Bills are alone in the first place of the AFC East with the Patriots just behind at 1-1. The Rams are tied for the lead in the NFC West with the Cardinals and Seahawks, both of whom are also 2-0. The Bills are currently 7-5 in their all-time series against the Rams and Buffalo won the last time these two teams met, but that was back in 2016 when Tyrod Taylor and Case Keenum were the teams’ respective starting quarterbacks, so it’s hard to glean much insight from that. The Bills were the better of the two teams last season as they finished 10-6 while the Rams finished 9-7, but the Rams played in the tougher division. It’s important to note that this is the second-straight East Coast road trip for the Rams, as they played in Philadelphia last week, so we could see some negative effects from that for Los Angeles. Regardless, this should be a great intra-conference matchup between two very good teams on both sides of the ball. For odds movement and full matchup history, visit the Los Angeles Rams at Buffalo Bills Matchup Page.
Date: Sunday, September 27th, 2020
Time: 1:00 PM ET
Location: Ralph Wilson Stadium – Buffalo, New York
TV Coverage: FOX
Rams vs. Bills Live Stream
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Los Angeles Rams: J. Notebloom (calf) O, M. Brown (finger) P, C. Akers (ribs) O, D. Williams (ankle) Q
Buffalo Bills: D. Knox (concussion) O, M. Milano (hamstring) Q, T. Edmunds (shoulder) Q, Z. Moss (toe) O, T. Johnson (groin) Q, D. Phillips (quad) O
Los Angeles Rams Analysis
The Rams couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season and they look like one of the best teams in football at the moment. Football Outsiders has them rated as the 6th-best team in the NFL in DVOA. Through their first two games, the Rams have a scoring differential of +21. That ranks as third in the NFL behind just the Ravens and Packers. Despite facing two quarterbacks who are well-regarded around the NFL, the Rams have allowed the third-fewest points this season. I thought the Rams might take a step back this year, especially given the strength of their division, but they are proving me wrong so far and look like a playoff team.
The Rams’ offense has been excellent this season, largely due to genius coaching by Sean McVay. Football Outsiders has the Rams rated as the third-best offense in football in DVOA. I had concerns about the Rams’ offensive line going into the season, but they’ve been one of the best units in the NFL so far. The Rams’ offensive line ranks 6th in run-blocking and 10th in pass protection per Football Outsiders. The Rams have only allowed Jared Goff to be sacked twice so far this season, partially due to how McVay has schemed out the offense to get the ball out of Goff’s hands as soon as possible. The run-blocking has also enabled the team’s RBBC to be very productive.
Jared Goff ranks seventh in the NFL in both DYAR and DVOA, and while his raw numbers aren’t particularly impressive – 517 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception – he’s done exactly what the team has needed him to do to win games. Goff will face a much tougher test this week against the Bills who rank 9th in pass defense this season per Football Outsiders. The Cowboys and Eagles, his first two opponents, both rank outside of the top half of the league. Goff isn’t a remarkable improviser or superior athlete, but he has a cannon for an arm and his capable of delivering the ball downfield to the elite pass-catching talent on this team.
Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods make up one of the best wideout duos in football. Kupp is ranked 4th in wide receiver DVOA per Football Outsiders and he has 9 catches for 121 yards through two games. Woods doesn’t fare as well in DVOA, but he’s been very solid and has 8 catches for 119 yards. Woods has also contributed with 4 carries for 33 yards and a touchdown so far. Both of these players are reliably dangerous in different ways, but the Bills’ secondary boasts an elite cover corner in Tre’Davious White. Tyler Higbee has also been an important part of this team’s early offensive success and he had 3 touchdowns last week. He ranks second in both tight end DVOA and DYAR and has 8 catches for 94 yards and 3 touchdowns so far.
On the ground, the Rams have performed surprisingly well. Malcolm Brown ranks second in Football Outsider’s running back DVOA and is expected to return this game after dealing with a finger issue towards the end of his team’s Week 2 game. Darrell Henderson performed admirably well in the absence of both Brown and rookie Cam Akers last week as he finished with 12 carries for 81 yards and a touchdown along with 2 catches for 46 yards. Until Cam Akers is able to return from his rib injury, it’s going to be Brown and Henderson’s backfield.
Defensively, the Rams have performed very well so far as well, especially against the pass. The Rams have the eighth-best pass defense in the NFL per Football Outsiders’ pass defense DVOA. Jalen Ramsey has been excellent at cornerback and John Johnson has impressed at safety. Of course, Aaron Donald remains the best interior pass-rusher in the NFL and presents a headache of matchup issues for opposing offensive coordinators. Micah Kiser leads the NFL in solo tackles and ranks third in total tackles. He won the NFC Defensive Player of the Year award last week behind 16 tackles in one game. He’s a stud at linebacker and has helped the team forget about losing Corey Littleton this offseason.
Los Angeles Rams Depth Chart
Buffalo Bills Analysis
The Bills have a huge opportunity to become the team to beat in the AFC East with Tom Brady moving on to the Buccaneers, and they’ve seized the moment with two victories so far. Football Outsiders has Buffalo as the sixth-best team in the NFL in DVOA and they have a +13 scoring differential through two games – the 10th-best mark in the NFL. However, after defeating the Dolphins (1-2) and Jets (0-2), they have a much tougher test against the Rams (2-0). The Bills have played like a strong playoff team so far and with their division looking weak overall, they have a chance to play for home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs.
Josh Allen has had an incredibly hot start to the season with 727 passing yards through two games, the most in the NFL. He’s completed 70.4% of his passes (ninth-best in the NFL) with 6 passing touchdowns and zero interceptions. He also has 76 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown through two games. In terms of advanced analytics, Allen has been phenomenal – he ranks 1st in DYAR, 2nd in DVOA, and 4th in QBR per Football Outsiders. The Bills have turned over the keys to the offense to their franchise QB and it’s paid off in a big way so far.
Part of the reason for Allen’s early-season success has been the arrival of Stefon Diggs in what was already a talented wide receiving corps. Diggs came over in an offseason trade from the Vikings and has dominated so far this season with 16 catches for a league-leading 239 receiving yards and a touchdown. John Brown has also been great with 10 catches for 152 yards and 2 touchdowns. However, Diggs and Brown face a tough matchup in the Rams’ secondary this week, particularly with Jalen Ramsey playing like one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL again.
The ground game has been split up between Devin Singletary and rookie Zack Moss to start the season, but Moss will miss this contest against the Rams. Singletary has just 19 rushes for 86 yards and no touchdowns to start the season, but he has the opportunity to have his best game of the season with the workload he’ll likely receive. Singletary is also a force in the receiving game and should be a great DFS target this week.
The Bills’ defense has produced uneven results despite matchups against the Jets and Dolphins so far. Football Outsiders has Buffalo ranked as the 9th-best passing defense and 17th-best rushing defense so far in DVOA. However, Football Outsiders also projects the Bills’ defense to be the third-best in the NFL over the remainder of the season. The Bills have arguably the best safety tandem in the NFL with Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde as well as Tre’Davious White, a former All-Pro cornerback. On the defensive line, Jerry Hughes, Ed Oliver, Quinton Jefferson, and Trent Murphy have all had strong seasons so far. This is a formidable defensive group that should give the Rams some issues on Sunday.
Buffalo Bills Depth Chart
Spread: Bills -1.5, Rams +1.5
Moneyline: Bills -165, Rams +135
This game opened with the Bills as high as 3-point favorites, but you can find them at -1.5 or even -1 now after all of the sharp money has come in on the Rams. The Rams are making an East Coast road trip for the second time in as many weeks, which gives the Bills a significant edge in my opinion. I see these two teams as being fairly equal on a neutral playing field, but the public market seems to think the Rams are the better team if not for the road matchup. Both of these coaches are phenomenal at what they do and I have little doubt that Sean McDermott and Sean McVay are capable of making adjustments and changes to outduel the other.
The Bills are a very tough defensive team, and while the Rams’ offense has performed very well so far, they’re getting their toughest test of the season against Buffalo’s secondary. Off the edge, Jerry Hughes has the second-best pass rush win rate among edge defenders per ESPN. He could give the Rams’ offensive line a tough test as they look to hold up long enough for Goff to get the ball out of his hands early. I’m also worried about the loss of Joseph Notebloom for the Rams – he’s been one of their best offensive linemen so far.
I am expecting the Rams’ defense to give the Bills some challenges, especially with their interior pass rush led by Aaron Donald. The Bills’ interior offensive linemen have been underwhelming to start the year and Donald is going to give them headaches. Jalen Ramsey is also going to make life difficult on Josh Allen as he will likely spend time covering both Stefon Diggs and John Brown.
Both of these teams are very strong on both sides of the ball, but I’m expecting these defenses to give each offense their toughest test of the season so far. The Rams may be the better team in terms of advanced metrics, but the Bills are a well-oiled machine on both sides of the ball and have the advantage of playing at home while the Rams travel east for the second straight week. I’d lean toward betting the under in this matchup given the challenges I expect these defenses to present and I would bet on the Bills’ spread up to -2 or their Moneyline.
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Daily Fantasy Picks
Josh Allen ($6,900) is the third-most-expensive quarterback on DraftKings this week behind just Russell Wilson and Dak Prescott. His rushing production (76 yards and a touchdown so far) gives him an awesome baseline for fantasy, but I don’t see the upside being there for Allen in a tough matchup. He could turn the ball over a couple of times with how much pressure Aaron Donald will put on him and I don’t see the passing production being the same against this defense.
With Zack Moss out this week, Devin Singletary ($4,900) is one of my favorite DraftKings targets. Moss has 17 carries and 3 catches through the first two games, and Singletary should pick up that extra workload this week. The Rams have allowed the 9th-most fantasy points to running backs so far and Singletary should be heavily utilized in the passing game as a quick outlet for Josh Allen when the pass rush is bearing down on him.
I’m fading Stefon Diggs ($7,000) this week as he’s one of the highest-priced receivers in DraftKings. It’s fair pricing given he leads the NFL in receiving yards, but I don’t think he continues his torrid pace in this matchup. The Rams have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers so far and Diggs will draw a ton of coverage from Jalen Ramsey in this matchup. I’d be looking elsewhere for DFS lineups.
I was originally fading Cooper Kupp ($6,300) in DraftKings this week, but after additional research, I actually think he’s a solid play. The Rams have run a lot more three-wide personnel this year than they did to close out last season, and it’s been to Kupp’s benefit as he’s been able to run more of his snaps out of the slot where he’s more comfortable. Kupp will draw coverage from Taron Johnson in the slot, the Bills’ nickelback who has struggled to start the season. Kupp’s upside may be a bit limited in this matchup, but I’d rather play him than Robert Woods who I expect to see a lot of Tre’Davious White.
Tyler Higbee ($5,900) is the highest-priced tight end in the early slate after his three-touchdown effort last week. He’s played far more snaps than Gerald Everett, who wasn’t targeted last week, this season, and has become a fixture of this team’s offense. The Bills have allowed the 9th-most fantasy points to tight ends this year, but it’s important to remember that a lot of that production came from Mike Gesecki in Week 1. The Dolphins’ tight end runs a lot of routes out of the slot, something Higbee doesn’t do, so he may not have the same level as production. At such a high price, I’m fading Higbee in DFS this week.