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Game Day Tipsheet: Week 4

Top 3 Individual Matchups
1. Marcus Stroud vs. Richie Incognito – Buffalo's dominant DT faces one of the bigger hothead interior linemen in Incognito. In all likelihood Incognito will get help from center Nick Leckey and he'll need it.

  1. Lee Evans vs. Ronald Bartell – Evans will likely see extra attention as he is a mismatch for Bartell despite the cornerback's size advantage (6'1", 209). Look for offensive coordinator Turk Schonert to have Evans lining up in different places.
  1. Langston Walker vs. Leonard Little – Little is coming off a hamstring injury and isn't a lock to start after missing the last two games, but if he does play it will make for an interesting size versus speed matchup.

Top 2 Bills Advantages
1. Good Advantage – Run defense – Buffalo's defense is giving up less than 94 yards on the ground per game and the Rams are averaging less than 60 (56.3). Even though the Rams have Steven Jackson he's only averaging 3.2 yards per carry and the team is even worse (3.1) as St. Louis ranks last in the league.

  1. Best Advantage – 3rd Down – The Rams' ineffectiveness on first and second down has completely sabotaged their chances of converting third downs where they're successful just 22 percent of the time to rank last in the league. Meanwhile the Bills defense has been extremely stingy on third down thanks to their ability to put their opponents in a lot of third and medium and third and long situations. As a result they're allowing their opponent's a conversion rate of just 17.9 percent which leads the NFL. St. Louis could be in for a lot of three-and-outs.

Bills Number one must
Running game – The Bills have been just effective enough running the ball in their first three games. That needs to improve against a Rams defensive front that allows almost 185 yards on the ground per game (rank – 29th). Tackling has been a major problem for St. Louis and with Marshawn Lynch not big on going down on first contact, Buffalo would be wise to pound their feature back. It will not only wear down and demoralize a Rams team with a weak psyche, but also shorten the game with Buffalo expected to jump out to an early lead.

Scouting Eye
New Signal Caller: Rams head coach Scott Linehan in a brief statement on Tuesday announced that veteran Trent Green will start at quarterback this week with offensive co-captain Marc Bulger taking a seat on the bench. Bulger's pass protection has been a big part of the problem, but he hasn't been productive at all in the passing game through the first three weeks.

Green however, hasn't gotten a lot of snaps with the Rams starting lineup. Even in the preseason Green didn't see much action throwing just nine passes in four games. Getting the timing down and in sync with his teammates in the span of three practices this week might not be enough.

Lineup shuffling: Linehan has also made a bunch of moves in the defensive lineup. He benched starting cornerback Tye Hill last week and then cut his replacement this week in Fakhir Brown. Hill will start opposite Ronald Bartell and Jason Craft who signed on Tuesday might play the nickel.

Linehan also announced this week that Chris Draft will start at strong side linebacker in place of Quinton Culberson. Starting DT La'Roi Glover has also been benched and Clifton Ryan will start. And Victor Adeyanju may start at defensive end instead of veteran James Hall if Leonard Little only plays a part-time role Sunday.

Ready to return? Rams top pass rusher Leonard Little sounds as though he's ready to return from a hamstring injury suffered in Week 1 that's forced him to miss the last two games. Whether he'll be able to start and play the whole game is still up in the air. At the least Little is expected to take on a part-time pass rushing role.

Early goose egg: The Rams rank last in the league in a number of statistical categories including rushing yards per game, rushing yards per carry, third down efficiency, first downs per game, defense, third down defense, first downs allowed per game and points allowed per game.

But perhaps the most glaring number is the goose egg that sits in the column for first quarter scoring. The Rams have yet to score in quarter number one in any of their first three games. Even worse they've scored a total of 29 total this season.

Bad sign
The St. Louis community has quickly soured on the Rams this season especially after a 3-13 campaign last year. After three games one St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist already tabbed this year's Rams squad as the worst in St. Louis football history. And that's saying something in light of all the horrific St. Louis Cardinals teams that existed over the years.

Buffalo Chips
Quote of the week
"I remember last year when we were 0-3 and how frustrated and hungry and excited to play everybody in the locker room was to go out and get that first win. We need to reiterate that to the team that, hey, we were in the exact same position last year at 0-3, playing a Jets team, I believe, and we went out and got our first win. They're going to be the same way. The Rams are going to beat somebody some time. We don't need to let them beat us."
--DT Kyle Williams

Stat of the Week
The Bills are looking to start the season at 4-0 after beginning 2007 at 1-3. With a win, the Bills would become the eighth NFL team in the past five years to start a season at 4-0 after beginning 1-3 or 0-4 the previous year. All seven of those previous teams qualified for the playoffs.

Milestones in Reach
Trent Edwards needs 267 passing yards to reach 1,000 for the season.

Lee Evans needs 29 receiving yards for 4,000 in his career.

Rian Lindell needs three points for 800 total in his career.

Aaron Schobel needs 2 sacks for 70 in his career.

Final Note
In Trent Green's last start against the Bills, the then Kansas City quarterback went 23-40 passing for 220 yards and three interceptions in a 14-3 loss in Buffalo (Nov. 13, 2005). He was also sacked six times and finished with a passer rating of 41.7.

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