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Scouting Report - Week 5 - Bills-Rams


**Top 3 Individual Matchups
1 - Jerry Hughes vs. Rob Havenstein

**Buffalo's top pass rusher has been his typical relentless self so far this season. L.A.'s second-year right tackle will need to use his length at 6-8 to his advantage in keeping Hughes away from Rams QB Case Keenum.

2 - Richie Incognito/John Miller vs. Aaron DonaldThe Rams Pro Bowl defensive tackle is a menace for every team he faces. He flips back and forth between the right and left side of their defensive formation. Incognito and Miller will need to be technique sound to handle this low to the ground game wrecker.

3 - Aaron Williams vs. Lance KendricksBuffalo's best coverage safety is coming off a strong performance last week. He'll need to run with the athletic Kendricks to keep him from making impact plays in the middle of the field.

Bills Top 2 Advantages
Good advantage - Run defense
L.A. has a talented feature back in Gurley, but Buffalo's run defense (13th) has been reliable and this week they add Marcell Dareus back to the fold. The Rams run game has not gotten on track yet this season as they rank 30th in the NFL.

Best advantage - Run gameLeSean McCoy has been the driving force of Buffalo's offense through the first quarter of the season. The Rams have a talented defensive front, but the Bills have all five starting linemen back from last season and they know how to handle talented and physical fronts. Buffalo should be able to grind out yards on the ground to put themselves in scoring territory and win the time of possession battle.

Bills Number 1 Must
Make Rams attack one dimensional
Buffalo's run defense has to be up to the task and neutralize Gurley's rushing exploits to the point where Los Angeles has to turn to the pass. Making the Rams attack one dimensional plays right into the hands of one of the strengths of Buffalo's defense, their ability to cover and rush the passer.

Scouting Eye
Making a negative, a positive
As much attention as Los Angeles RB Todd Gurley might get, it's the Rams defense that carries the team. They don't just get defensive stops, they force negative plays. Last season the L.A. defense recorded an NFL-best 132 total negative play - 82 against the run and 50 against the pass. This season has been no different. They've forced 21 negative plays by opposing offenses through the first four games in 2016 for a total of -113 yards, good for seventh most in the NFL.

**Run stun

**There is no question that the engine of the Rams offense is the aforementioned Todd Gurley. Coming off a magnificent rookie season, Los Angeles is fully prepared to lean on their feature back for offensive production again this season. The problem is the production has not been there.

Gurley averaged 4.8 yards per carry in 13 games last season. So far this season he's averaged a subpar 2.6 yards per rush. Opposing defenses are keying on Gurley and stacking the box with eight defenders. Los Angeles' offensive line has had trouble clearing consistent holes for Gurley as well. It's why the Rams run game is currently ranked 30th in the NFL averaging less than 77 yards a game.

Takeaway artistsMuch like Buffalo's defense this season, L.A.'s defense has been very opportunistic when it's come to takeaways. The Bills are tied for second in turnover margin at +6 and the Rams are right behind, tied for fourth at +4. The Rams success in turning the ball over has been rooted in their physical play as they force a lot of fumbles. L.A. has forced nine overall with seven coming on defense. Their forced fumbles on defense represents the second-highest total this season.

Leading the way in that category for the Rams is DE Robert Quinn. Since 2012, Quinn leads the NFL with 18 forced fumbles.

Longest driveAs stout as the L.A. defensive front might be they have had trouble getting off the field. Through the first month of the season they're allowing opponents to put together long, sustained drives. On average L.A.'s opponents are averaging more than 10 plays per drive (10.17). And when those drives reach the red zone, it's hard to keep them from putting seven on the board.  The Rams rank 24th in red zone defense. They're giving up touchdowns almost two-thirds of the time (64.3%).

Lack of attackStringing positive plays together has proven difficult for the Rams. Evidence of that comes in their league-high three-and-out percentage of 37.5 percent more than 15 percent above the league average (20.3%). The problem begins on first down where they can't consistently get four yards or more to stay in manageable down and distance. And when it comes to third down they can't convert. Even in short yardage situations the Rams offense ranks near the bottom of the league (27th on 3rd-and-1 conversions). Los Angeles has just one offensive possession this season that has lasted more than five minutes of game clock.

Powerful punterL.A.'s place kicker is known for his strong leg, hence the nickname Greg 'The Leg' Zuerlein. But Rams punter Johnny Hekker is pretty accomplished in his own right. In 2015 the Pro Bowl punter became the first ever to lead the league in net average (43.7), gross average (47.9) and punts downed inside the 20-yard line (41). Hekker currently leads the league in punts downed inside the 20 with 15 already this season.

**Buffalo Chips
Quote of the week

"For us we've just got to keep going because we're trying to get to the playoffs, somewhere the Bills haven't been in a long time. So this 2-2 start is good for us. It started a little rocky, but now it's coming together."
LB Zach Brown**

Stat of the weekThe Bills are the best in football when it comes to rushing for four yards or more on first down. Buffalo does it almost 60 percent of the time (58.8%), more than 15 percent above the league average (42.8%).

Milestones in reachDan Carpenter needs six points to reach 400 as a Bill. He would become the sixth player in franchise history to reach 400 points.

Zach Brown needs 14 tackles against the Rams to set the record for most tackles through the first give games of a season with 65.

LeSean McCoy needs 16 rushing yards for 8,000 in his career.

Eric Wood will play and start in his 100th career game on Sunday.

Final NoteIn two career games against the Rams, LeSean McCoy has rushed for 203 yards (101.5 per game) and scored two touchdowns.

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