GAME PREDICTIONS

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NFL analysts | Bills vs. Rams game predictions | Week 3

Mario Addison (97) Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets, September 13, 2020 at Bills Stadium. Photo by Sara Schmidle
Mario Addison (97) Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets, September 13, 2020 at Bills Stadium. Photo by Sara Schmidle

MDS's take: Josh Allen is going to keep throwing downfield, and if he can use his feet to get away from Aaron Donald, the Rams are going to have a hard time stopping him.

MDS's pick: Bills 31, Rams 28.

Florio's take: The Rams have rebuilt on the fly, and they're better than many expected them to be. The Bills are too good, however, and the L.A. to Philly to L.A. to Buffalo travel demand won't help. 

Florio's pick: Bills 27, Rams 23.

This is a fascinating test for Josh Allen 2.0, after the Bills QB spent the first twoweeks of the season devouring cupcakes. Play-caller Brian Daboll is feeling himself, and there aren't many defenses that can match up with Buffalo's depth of offensive weapons -- a tall order, even for an underrated Los Angeles secondary playing well under new coordinator Brandon Staley. The Bills' defense could be the bigger issue here, especially if the top linebackers aren't healthy against a Rams team that is second to none at flooding the middle of the field. ... L.A. and Buffalo both look like playoff teams that didn't need a preseason.

Los Angeles Rams 30, Buffalo Bills 27

The smallest line of the week has the 2-0 Buffalo Bills laying two points in a battle with the also-unbeaten Los Angeles Rams, and Gagnon understands why this is close to a toss-up. 

"This is just an incredibly even matchup," Gagnon said. "Josh Allen is a little more capable than Jared Goff, who is more accomplished. Both teams are loaded with weapons in the passing game, but both pass defenses are superb. The Los Angeles run defense has been vulnerable, but the Bills haven't been able to get much going on the ground.

"But I'll go with Allen's hot hand over Goff's past results, and I think the third-year quarterback's legs could make a big difference against a defensive front seven that hasn't done much to support Aaron Donald this year. That should give the Bills a slight edge at home, yet they're laying only two points. Even with this game likely to be close, it's an easy call."

Bills 26, Rams 23

After a 2019 in which everything went wrong, the Rams (2-0) seem to have found some of their 2018 magic, grinding out a win over Dallas in Week 1 before blowing out Philadelphia in Week 2. They'll face the Bills (2-0), who have dominated even though the team's prime asset — its defense — has played below its standards. It seems like a waste for such a game to be relegated to a 1 p.m. time slot.

For Buffalo, an explosion of the team's passing game can be attributed to weak competition, but also to wide receiver Stefon Diggs. Acquired in a trade with Minnesota, Diggs has given the Bills the No. 1 receiver it lacked, which has opened up the entire field for quarterback Josh Allen. The big-armed Allen has responded with a league-leading 729 yards passing and six touchdowns, with no interceptions. And with the team's running game off to a sluggish start, and its defense still rounding into form, Buffalo actually has quite a bit of room for improvement.

The Bills may need to show that improvement quickly, as the Rams have a lot of options on offense, even with the rookie running back Cam Akers injured. And Los Angeles, while not exactly the Steelers, is not a pushover in pass defense.

The Bills are a narrow favorite at home, and that feels right. 

Pick: Bills

This is one of the better games of the week, matching two 2-0 teams. Both teams have impressed on offense with good quarterback play. The Rams are playing consecutive road games, which will be in play here — even without fans. Look for the Bills defense to respond to a big game as they win a tough, hard-nosed victory.

Bills 21, Rams 18

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