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Top 7 storylines fans need to know for Bills vs. Rams | Week 3


1. The tale of two undefeated teams

The Bills and Rams enter Sunday's game undefeated. Only one will remain without a loss after Week 3. Just one other game will feature two undefeated teams in Week 3—it's Monday Night Football with the Ravens and the Chiefs.

Eleven teams have yet to lose through two weeks of the 2020 season. In the company of the Bills and Rams are the Ravens, Chiefs, Cardinals, Seahawks, Packers, Bears, Raiders, Titans and Steelers. The NFC West has the most undefeated teams left with three.

Sunday's matchup will also feature two teams with top five offenses. The Bills rank third in the league averaging 464 yards per game, while the Rams are fifth averaging 435.5 yards per game.

"I'm anxious for us to take another step as a team this week in practice and in our preparation," Bills head coach Sean McDermott explained. "We are still finding out who we are as a football team. This will be a big challenge for us with a team that's coming off a Super Bowl just a couple years ago in the Rams and Sean McVay."

2. Sean vs. Sean

It's the battle of the two Seans on Sunday, literally. Both began their first NFL head coaching job in 2017. One taking over for an AFC East team that needed revival. The other taking over for an NFC West team with a young quarterback who showed promise.

Even though they share the same name, there are several differences between the two coaches. Rams head coach Sean McVay is known for being an offensive guru who can expose a defense with his innovative schemes. McDermott's expertise is on the other side of the ball. Since he arrived in Buffalo, his defense went from 26th to second in the league after his first year. One thing the two have in common is the playoffs. They've each led their squads to the playoffs twice in their first three seasons. McVay coached the Rams to the Super Bowl in 2018.

Bills assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier knows he has his hands full scheming up a plan to combat McVay's quick offense.

"They've done a terrific job in L.A.," Frazier said. "Sean [McVay] has had those guys rolling now for the last few years, led them to a Super Bowl. So it's a challenging offense. They do a lot of things to dress up what are some simple plays. They dress it up really well with a lot of motion and movement and so on. The chess match is getting your players in position and then seeing if your players can make those plays when they're in position and that's what we'll be working to do."

3. Josh vs. Jared

Bills quarterback Josh Allen and Rams quarterback Jared Goff were drafted two years apart. Goff attended Cal and was drafted by the Rams with the first pick of the 2016 NFL Draft. Allen played collegiately at Wyoming and was drafted by the Bills with the seventh pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. The quarterbacks both grew up in California about 170 miles apart from each other.

The two rank closely in more than a few categories at this point in the season. Allen leads the league with 729 passing yards, while Goff ranks ninth with 542 yards. The Bills quarterback, who was named the AFC offensive player of the week, has the eighth best completion percentage at 70.4 percent, and the Rams quarterback is completing passes 69 percent of the time, which is good for 10th. Goff ranks fourth averaging 9.3 passing yards per attempt, and Allen is fifth averaging 9 passing yards per attempt. Their teams also rank next to each other in big plays—Buffalo leads the league with 12 plays traveling 20 or more yards, and Los Angeles is second with 11.

GMFB's Kyle Brandt appeared on One Bills Live this week and explained he thinks Allen is taking a step forward because of his new connection with Stefon Diggs.

"It's not only that Josh Allen is leading the NFL in passing, he doesn't have an interception yet," Brandt said. "He's 70 percent with his passes. Stefon Diggs is leading the NFL in receiving. It's all coming together beautifully."

4. First out of conference game

The Bills will square up against their first opponent outside of the AFC this Sunday in the Los Angeles Rams. It's also their first of four NFC West teams they'll face this season. With no fans, one of the only home field advantages the Bills have this week is a time change. A 1 p.m. ET start will feel like 10 a.m. to the Rams.

The last time the two played each other was October 9, 2016. The Bills beat the Rams on the road in that game 30-19 with Tyrod Taylor as their quarterback. A lot has changed for both teams since that game including shifts at head coach and quarterback. Receiver Robert Woods has also hopped from the Bills to the Rams since 2016.

The Bills own the series against L.A. with a seven wins and five losses. Buffalo has won three out of the last four games. As Bills head coach Sean McDermott gets ready for the matchup, he knows he'll play a team who's tough to beat on both sides of the ball.

"A tremendous coach, a lot of respect for Sean [McVay]," McDermott said. "Obviously he has gotten his team to the Super Bowl, and they're a high octane offense with a lot of weapons on the defensive side as well. They've got a great roster and great coaches. This is a really good football team coming in here. We've got a long week of work ahead of us, a long week of preparation. And I'm confident in the guys that we'll put a good week in of work."

5. Bills offensive line vs. Aaron Donald

The Bills offensive line has the fun task of going up against six-time Pro Bowler, five-time first-team All-Pro and two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald. Donald led the league in sacks in 2018 with 20.5. He has recorded double-digit sack numbers four times and has amassed 73 sacks since his rookie season in 2014.

Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll thinks the offensive line has given good effort through two games, but Donald is a different type of beast.

"He's as premier of a lineman as I've seen," Daboll explained. "He's a disruptive force. He's got power, he's got strength, he's got speed, he's got quickness he's got leverage, he's got motor, he plays intelligently. I mean there's just plays on tape re-watching where you go, 'Oh boy.'

"He's hard to get to. He can play multiple spots. And they have a lot of other good players too you know and then you got a corner like Jalen [Ramsey], who's a premier position player too, they're tough that's why they're only giving up 18 points [per game] whatever it is, in the early parts of the season against some good offenses, so we definitely have our work cut out for us."

6. The return of Robert Woods

A familiar face in Robert Woods will return to Bills stadium on Sunday. Woods played for the Bills from 2013 to 2016 before being signed by the Rams. Robert's best season on the Bills came in 2014 where he caught 65 passes for 699 receiving yards and scored five touchdowns.

Woods has posted two 1,000-yard seasons for the Rams in 2018 and 2019. In those two seasons he combined for 176 receptions, 2,353 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. The Bills' former second round draft pick from the 2013 NFL Draft signed a contract extension with the Rams on Saturday. 

Rams head coach Sean McVay thinks he's an important pillar to their team.

"This is a special guy, and the way he does stuff with the ball without," McVay said. "I think just seeing his improvement, his energy and his toughness is so good for our football team. When you just think about what a great guy he is off the field, but then the toughness that he plays with and you just pull clips and say, 'Look at what Robert Woods is doing.' I can't say enough about just he and some of these guys and what they represent."

7. The game plan against Higbee

In Week 2 the Bills defense allowed 130 receiving yards and a touchdown to Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki. The Dolphins found a way to target the middle of the field by picking on mismatches due to the absence of linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano.

The Rams have a player in Tyler Higbee who tied for second in the NFL with three receiving touchdowns, all of which he scored in Week 2. With Edmunds and Milano's return uncertain, Buffalo must find a way to limit Higbee on Sunday.

Frazier believes his defense has to dial in on defending the middle of the field this week.

"The Rams have a really good tight end who's capable of having a big day as well like he did on Sunday," Frazier said. "So we're going to have our work cut out for us protecting the middle of the field and being able to track him in other areas. We just have to pay a little closer attention to those high profile tight ends, and try to do a better job of getting our players in position to be able to defend some of those crossing routes and some of those routes in the middle of the field."

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