Week 14: St. Louis Rams At Buffalo Bills
- QuarterbackThe Rams have continued to struggle this year in terms of wins and losses, but Jeff Fisher is putting in a solid foundation for the future. He feels a sense of confidence in Sam Bradford, who is as smart as any quarterback in the league. While he lacks arm strength, he has excellent recognition of the defense and a quick release.Ryan Fitzpatrick is a very similar quarterback to Bradford. He does not have the strongest arm, but he certainly is one of the smartest quarterbacks in the league and he also throws a good short- and medium-range pass. Fitzpatrick has quick feet and runs well, but he can be intimidated when he takes a big hit early.
- OffenseThe Rams like to come at you with a balanced attack. Steven Jackson is having a solid season and still runs with authority between the tackles. When he is eating up yards, he takes a lot of pressure off of Bradford. Danny Amendola (foot injury) has a great pair of hands and he is quite elusive after the catch. Chris Givens can stretch the field and cause problems for opposing cornerbacks.The Bills have big-play potential but they lack consistency. C.J. Spiller is an explosive runner who can get outside and break the long play. Fred Jackson has not been the threat that head coach Chan Gailey hoped he would be this season. Stevie Johnson is an explosive receiver who will make the tough catch, but he will also drop the easy one.
- DefenseThe Rams are not a finished product defensively, but they are doing more things right than wrong. One of the things that Fisher feels best about is the pass rush, led by Chris Long and Robert Quinn. James Laurinaitis is one of the best tacklers in the league. Cortland Finnegan has a nasty attitude, but he knows how to cover top receivers.The defense is not a strong point for the Bills, but they are playing much better on the defensive side of the ball now than they were earlier in the year. Mario Williams has started to come on and when he gets on a roll, he can be as dangerous as any pass rusher in the league. Linebacker Nick Barnett positions himself well and is a hard hitter.
- Special TeamsThe Rams are depending on their two rookie special teamer, placekicker Greg Zuerlein and punter Johnny Hekker. Zuerlein will probably develop into one of the best kickers in the league in years to come, and he is coming off a sensational game that gave the Rams an overtime win vs. the 49ers in Week 13. Hekker has good leg strength but he will outkick his coverage at times.The Bills play hard on special teams and have provided good coverage on punts and kickoffs this season. Leodis McKelvin has been one of the best punt returners in the league. He already has returned two punts for touchdowns. Rian Lindell is one of the most consistent placekickers in the league.
These teams are fairly even from a physical perspective, but the Rams seem to be going in the right direction while it seems likely that the Bills will once again change coaches in the offseason. As a result, St. Louis may be more focused even though they have to play on the road.