Buffalo Bills (2-2 SU, 2-2 ATS) vs. Los Angeles Rams (3-1 SU, 3-1 ATS)
Week 5 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, October 9, 2016 at 4:25PM EST
Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: BUF +2.5/LA -2.5
Over/Under Total: 40
The Buffalo Bills come to the LA Coliseum to face the Los Angeles Rams in key week 5 action. This is the Rams' second home game since returning to the City of Angels. In their first home game, they were coming off a 28-0 loss to the Niners. Now, they're coming off three straight wins, so expect a pumped up Coliseum as the Rams have already given the long-thirsting LA fans something for which to get excited. But they will be facing a Bills bunch that has also overcome a tough start with two straight wins to even their slate. On Sunday, Buffalo followed up a win over the Cardinals with a shutout win over the Patriots, 16-0. Things are looking up in Buffalo suddenly and they look to make their mark this week with what looks like a really tough road test.
Things were looking pretty ragged after the Bills lost to the Ravens and the Jets, losses where the Bills were dysfunctional one way or another. They fired their offensive coordinator and it looked like this season would be the last dying kicks of the Rex Ryan horse. And with games pending against the Cardinals and Patriots, the situation looked even bleaker. Not only did they beat the Cardinals and Patriots, they beat them dominantly. The score against the Cardinals didn't even to justice to how lopsided it was. And the win over the Pats was a shutout win. We see a defense starting to hit their high notes with an offense that has room to breathe.
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After a few weeks of explosive offense, things were more subdued in week four for the Bills. Tyrod Taylor connected with LeSean McCoy on a short TD pass, before Dan Carpenter added a trio of field goals. That was all they needed and the New England defense is still formidable, so it's not a disgrace to score 16 or to beat the Pats by any margin really. And in scoring just their second win in 16 trips against the Pats on the road, they probably got a little confidence. The offense was strong in the first half with 16 first downs.
After a rough first week, Buffalo QB Tyrod Taylor has been doing pretty well. He has been deprived of his best receiver in Sammy Watkins, who is again injured and unavailable indefinitely. He's been relying on McCoy, Marquise Goodwin, Robert Woods, and TE Charles Clay. Still, it's the run-game that does most of the work in this offense, with McCoy looking like he's on his way to a good season. Taylor is also at times very useful with his feet and has already made some big runs this season.
The Buffalo defense has really gotten it together since a bad showing against the Jets in week two, allowing 16 points total to the Cardinals and Pats. They have been getting a robust pass-rush, with Jerry Hughes and Lorenzo Alexander each having four sacks. Stephon Gilmore and Aaron Williams have been making an impact in the aerial game. Zach Brown and Preston Brown have been active in the middle. And they look to have hit a groove, with a very strong two games behind them as they come into LA.
You have to hand it to the LA Rams for turning things around so decisively after a week one shutout loss to a Frisco team that went on to lose three straight. That game painted them in a pretty negative light. They beat Seattle at home in week two in a 9-3 slog, but had still gone the first two games of the season without a TD. That changed against Tampa in week three with a 37-point output. On Sunday, they beat Arizona, 17-13, and things are looking up at 3-1. With the momentum created after such a bad start, they might not be separated easily from this good feeling.
Against the Cardinals, Rams QB Case Keenum was effective on 266 yards passing and a pair of touchdowns to Brian Quick, who is becoming a very effective target for Keenum. Though they only came up with 17 points, Keenum had his best day in week four and looks to keep it rolling this week. The fact that the offense is moving well is a surprise since Todd Gurley is off to a really slow start with 216 yards on the ground and an alarmingly-low 2.6 average. One would think that should change and the Rams could really use it this week,
While the Buffalo defense has been big, so has the LA defense. Up-front, they continue to get standout play from Robert Quinn and DT Aaron Donald, the kind of player that can change games. Alec Ogletree, Trumaine Johnson, and Lamarcus Joyner have been holding it down in the middle. The pass-defense has been pretty inconsistent, but is making plays. Other than a big showing allowed to Jameis Winston in a game they won, they haven't been too bad and they should be in good shape against the pedestrian Buffalo aerial attack.
It's not an easy game to size up. Both teams are on the way up, but not bankable enough to depend on from week to week. Each team is still capable of a wide range of form. The total of 40 and spread indicates a close and low-scoring game is what's being forecasted and that seems reasonable enough. I see the Rams getting it done late, emerging with the win and the cover. But it won't be easy and it's hard going against Buffalo after the last two weeks. I'm still going with the home team.
Loot's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Los Angeles Rams minus 2.5 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today by signing up and betting the Buffalo vs. Los Angeles game at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 100% sign-up bonus!