Sean McVay is the early front-runner for Coach of the Year for his work with second-year quarterback Jared Goff, who’s thriving so far after playing only seven forgettable games as a rookie. The former No. 1 overall pick still has a ways to go before he has the complete confidence of his coaches and fans. But the Rams are 3-1 with a chance to deal a body blow to the division-rival Seahawks this week. And if the improvements to the roster and the offensive scheme are real enough to stick, maybe the Rams don’t have to be in the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes next March after all.
Defense wins championships (the Broncos should know). It’s why the Bills are sitting atop the AFC East while the Patriots look on from 2-2. Here’s how all 32 teams (and their defenses) stack up.
Clay: Neither. The Rams have been impressive, but after facing the Colts, Redskins, 49ers and Cowboys defenses, I wonder how the offense will perform against an absurdly tough slate the rest of the way that includes the Jaguars, Giants, Texans, Vikings and Eagles, in addition to the Seahawks and Cardinals twice each. The Bills are a fringe team, but it won’t be easy fending off New England for the division or fellow wild-card contenders like the Raiders, Broncos, Texans, Titans and Ravens.
Foxworth: Buffalo. Those are more impressive wins than the Rams beating the Colts, 49ers and Cowboys. The Rams’ offensive improvement deserves the praise we’ve heaped on it. But, in my experience, a tough defense makes for a more reliable team. And that’s what the Bills have. Tyrod Taylor and the Bills’ offense have made the plays that they need to win, but they haven’t been great. That’s in part because they haven’t been able to get LeSean McCoy on track. If they can figure out how to reignite that punishing and explosive running game from a year ago, the Bills will certainly be a viable contender at the end of the season.