What to Look for vs. Rams

John Tramontana
11/20/2004


Buffalo Bills offensive line vs. Leonard Little

Defensive end Leonard Little is a player who can take control of the game. He leads the Rams with four sacks this season in addition to his three fumble recoveries. He's quick getting around the end and could disrupt the Bills passing game if he is not contained.

"Leonard Little is a guy we need to stop," quarterback Drew Bledsoe said. "He's very quick off the ball and can put great pressure on the quarterback. He's a guy that can be all over the field making plays."

Little should line up against left tackle Jonas Jennings, though he could be moved if Jennings dominates the line of scrimmage. It wouldn't be surprising to see him move around and take some snaps against Mike Williams in order to find where he will be more effective. If the Bills can contain Little, Bledsoe should be able to get the ball to his receivers. If not, Bledsoe could be scrambling or be forced into getting rid of the ball before he wants to do so.

Willis McGahee vs. the Rams defensive line

The St. Louis Rams defense is ranked 28th in the league and they have struggled against the run this season. In four games a starter, Willis McGahee has rushed for over 100 yards in three of those and expect him to have another big day on Sunday. McGahee should be able to find holes in the Rams defensive line, which should allow the Bills to get their running game back on track.

"We just need to get back to running the ball" McGahee said. "We couldn't run the ball (against New England) and we had trouble moving the ball. We need to get back to doing what we do and then we'll be successful."

McGahee being able to run will take a lot of pressure off of Drew Bledsoe and gives Buffalo's offense more options. The important thing is for the Bills to not abandon the run, even if the Rams stop it early in the game. McGahee has shown his durability so far this season and as the game progresses, he should be able to wear down the Rams front four to tack on some big yardage late in the game.

Buffalo's secondary vs. the Rams receiving corps

The Rams have one of the league's most potent offenses, due mainly to their aerial attack. Marc Bulger has some of the game's best receivers at his disposal and a young Bills secondary may have trouble covering them. Eleven-year veteran Isaac Bruce leads the team with 55 receptions for nearly 800 yards. He may be aging a bit in terms of receivers, but he can still play the game and it still very dangerous to go downfield.

"He's one of the best receivers of my time," said strong safety Lawyer Milloy. "He always shows up and he's still very fast. He's a tough guy to defend."

Milloy leads a Bills secondary that will now feature rookie free agent Rashad Baker in his first NFL start at free safety. Baker takes over for Izell Reese. Baker will have his hands full protecting the field against Bruce and Torry Holt. Veteran cornerback Troy Vincent will also miss this week's game, still recovering from a knee injury he sustained in Week 4. Terrence McGee will continue to start in his place.

If the Bills can't get pressure on Bulger, he will have time to sit back and exploit the Bills secondary. If Aaron Schobel and company can get a decent pass rush, Bulger may be forced into making errant throws and turning over the ball.

Bills Special Team Unit vs. the Rams Special Teams Unit

These two teams are playing at opposite ends of the spectrum in this phase of the game. The Bills have the No. 1 unit in the NFL, while the Rams are sitting close to the bottom. Buffalo returned its third kick for touchdown this year when rookie Jonathan Smith sprinted into the end zone after a Patriots punt. Terrence McGee has two touchdowns on kickoff returns so far, making it difficult for opposing teams to compete.

If the weather is windy, field position will be a huge part of this game. If the Bills can get some decent returns to give the offense a short field, it could be a long day for St. Louis.