Each and every week BBD Editor Mike Watkins is back with his five keys to the Bills finding a way to win. This week v. the Rams its clear that the Bills must establish some offensive line dominance early and then continue to let their defensive line eat. Mario Williams seems to have finally found his groove in Buffalo and St. Louis lacks any kind of consistent play from their OT’s.
1.MASH Unit: The Injuries are starting to pile up for Buffalo especially along the OL now that Hairston joins Pears on the IR and Wood is out for this game. The Bills luckily wont have to adapt that much to these OL injuries because the offense is already structured to take the pressure off the OL. With a lot of three step drops and shotgun the drop off in play should only be slightly noticeable. The other key injury is with WR S.Johnson. The Bills have a pretty steep drop off from Stevie to their number 2. A lot of what the Bills do in the passing game is because teams roll their coverage to his side. He said he will play but for how long is still yet to be determined.
2.DL vs. DL: The Bills DL could be in for another good week as the Rams OL is inconsistent at best and Bradford goes through spouts where he can hang on to the ball to long. I actually expect Dareus and K.Williams to be the DL that have the big day this time around. Mario has played well enough in the past couple weeks where they are going to have to give their suspect RT’s help and that will leave Dareus and Williams with a lot of 1 on 1’s in this game. On the flip side the Rams DL could be in for a big day. DE C.Long has to be happy with his matchup against S.Young and the rest of the Rams DL is athletic and relentless. This could be a problem for the Bills because the OL tends to have more problems with speed than it does with size
3.It pains me to say it: This is really crazy to say but the Bills should pass more this week than run it. The strength of the Rams defense is their front 7. They have a very active front 4 and an underrated set of LB’s that cover a lot of ground in a quick manner. Now where the Rams are week is in the secondary. They have two quality starting CB’s but there S’s are suspect at best and they are really thin across the board in terms of depth. If I’m the Bills I want to get their LB’s off the field and force them to put more of their CB’s on the field. This will only help the Bills even in the run game by creating mismatches across the field and hopefully open lanes
4.Take it away: Most teams go into games wanting to take away the run before the pass and in today’s NFL you can debate that strategy but for this game its going to ring true for Buffalo. They are going to want to take away the run real early and force the Rams into obvious passing situations. At this point they can not allow Bradford into any type of rhythm. Bradford has been an up and down QB in his career but once he gets into a rhythm he starts showing franchise QB ability and the Rams become a very tough team to beat. On the flip side if you rattle him early and he doesn’t get into a rhythm he makes a ton of errant and questionable throws that opposing defenses feast on. Setting the tone early in this game is going to be very key if Buffalo plans on pulling out a W
5.Playoffs? You want to talk about Playoffs? So technically both of these teams are still alive in the playoff picture. The reality is neither is going but you can’t tell that to the players. A loss here for either team and its officially a wrap for their season. Now because of that you are likely to see a very hard fought game from both teams. It will be a good litmus test for where both teams stand from a mental standpoint.