Rams’ 5 biggest causes for concern vs. Bills on Thursday night

·3 min read

The Los Angeles Rams have had some favorable Week 1 matchups in recent years, facing the Colts, Bears, Panthers and Raiders in four of the last five seasons. Their opening opponent this season, the Buffalo Bills, will be the complete opposite of a cake walk.

The Rams are facing a huge test right out of the gate, hosting the Super Bowl favorites tonight at SoFi Stadium. Looking at the Bills’ roster, there are some serious reasons for concern for the Rams. Here are five of them.

Bills’ pass rush pressuring Matthew Stafford into turnovers

The Bills’ pass rush was already great last season, but it got a major upgrade this year with the addition of Von Miller. He’s one of the best edge defenders in the NFL, which the Rams know full well after he helped them win the Super Bowl last season.

What’s concerning about the Bills’ pass rush is the fact that Stafford can sometimes get pressured into mistakes. Buffalo had the highest pressure rate in the NFL last year, and Stafford had the fourth-highest turnover rate when pressured.

Van Jefferson’s injury

Jefferson may not be as important as Cooper Kupp or Allen Robinson from a receiving perspective, but his absence will be felt. Jefferson is the No. 3 receiver and with him being out, a combination of Ben Skowronek and Tutu Atwell will be forced to fill in.

Skowronek is a better blocker than he is a receiver, so he shouldn’t pose much of a threat to the Bills. Atwell is just the opposite. This could be a great opportunity for him to show off his speed and make a big play or two like he did in training camp, but he’s never caught an NFL pass, so there’s a real lack of experience without Jefferson available.

Coleman Shelton at right guard

This will be Shelton’s first season as a full-time starter, taking over at right guard for Austin Corbett. While the Rams are confident in his ability to play well, there has to be some worry about this being his first start at right guard against a great defensive front – one of the best in football.

Right off the bat, he’ll get Ed Oliver and DaQuan Jones rushing against him and trying to clog up running lanes. Shelton will be someone to watch tonight against the Bills.

Bills’ wide receiver depth

Just as Shelton will be tested, so too will the Rams’ secondary. Stefon Diggs, Gabriel Davis and Isaiah McKenzie make up a talented and difficult-to-defend trio for Buffalo, presenting a challenge for Jalen Ramsey, Troy Hill and presumably David Long Jr. Assuming Ramsey matches up with Diggs a bunch, Hill and Long will need to do their best against Davis and McKenzie.

And then there’s Dawson Knox, the big tight end in the middle of the field, a real red zone threat. He’ll be the responsibility of Bobby Wagner, Ernest Jones and the safeties, but this entire receiving corps is tough to defend.

Containing Josh Allen

The single biggest threat to the Rams’ chances of winning this game is Allen. He’s one of the most dangerous and dynamic quarterbacks in the league, possessing an incredibly strong arm that allows him to make throws from any position, as well as the mobility and physicality of Cam Newton in his prime.

Seriously, there’s no easy way to defend Allen and the Rams can’t expect to just shut him down completely. It’ll be about containing him in the pocket, disguising coverages and not allowing him to create big gains when plays break down.

Story originally appeared on Rams Wire