NFL

Rams out to inflict more misery on Bucs, Bills chasing fifth straight win

By Sports Desk November 04, 2022

After a busy NFL trade deadline, the focus is back on the field this weekend.

Josh Allen faces Zach Wilson as the New York Jets confront a major test of their defense against the soaraway Buffalo Bills, while the Los Angeles Rams will look to keep up their remarkable record against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Could Derrick Henry have another monumental game in him after last week's big effort, and after he dispelled worries about a foot problem?

Stats Perform has taken a look at the numbers ahead of Sunday's games, beginning with the travails of the Brady bunch.

Los Angeles Rams (3-4) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5)

The Buccaneers are on the slide, and the Rams are just about the nightmare opponents this weekend, judging by recent games between the teams.

Including Los Angeles' win in last season's Divisional Round, the Rams are 9-1 in their last 10 games against the Bucs, and that includes a 5-0 streak in Tampa.

This game is big for both, and for the Bucs it offers a chance to halt a losing sequence of three. They were beaten 27-22 by the Baltimore last week and are on their longest single-season losing run since a dismal four-game run in the 2019 season.

It remains to be seen whether Tom Brady can get them out of this mess. Brady threw for 325 yards and zero interceptions in last week's loss to Baltimore. Across his stellar career, he is 54-7 when throwing 300 yards and no interceptions, but this season he is 1-2 in such games.

Brady might fancy the job against a Rams team who have scored 14 or fewer points and lost by double-digits four times already this season, including last time out in a 31-14 home loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

Rival quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for 187 yards last week on 33 attempts. His team are 2-9 in games where Stafford has thrown the ball at least 30 times and finished with fewer than 200 passing yards.

Buffalo Bills (6-1) at New York Jets (5-3)

The Buffalo Bills are 6-1 for the first time since 1993, the season they last made it through to the Super Bowl. This weekend they go after a fifth win in a row after getting the better of the Green Bay Packers last time out.

What's more, they have strung together a four-game winning streak in road games against the Jets, second only in franchise history to a seven-game streak from 1987 to 1993.

The Bills have outscored this season's opponents by 105 points (203-98) so far, the widest differential in the NFL.

Bills quarterback Josh Allen has urged the Jets to show patience with his struggling counterpart Zach Wilson, who has completed just 54.9 per cent of passes this season, the second-worst rate in the NFL heading into Week 9. Wilson has thrown for 1,048 yards across five games, with three touchdowns and five interceptions, compared to Allen's 2,198 yards for 19 TDs and six interceptions from seven games.

Stefon Diggs has at least 100 yards and a receiving touchdown in three straight games, the longest streak of the Bills wide receiver's career and tied for the longest streak in team history with Elbert Dubenion (1964). The last NFL player with a longer streak was Adam Thielen in 2018 (five). How Diggs fares against Jets rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner will be a factor.

The Jets have already topped last season's four wins, but they are 8-30 against divisional opponents since 2016, the worst record in the NFL.

Tennessee Titans (5-2) at Kansas City Chiefs (5-2)

What does Titans running back Henry have in store for an encore? Henry last week recorded his sixth career 200-yard rushing game, with 219 yards and two touchdowns against the Texans, tying Adrian Peterson and O.J. Simpson for the most all-time. All other active players have combined for just four such games.

The Chiefs will be wary of that threat, and will look to their own WR, JuJu Smith-Schuster, to make his own impact. After failing to reach 90 yards or find the endzone in his first five games this season, Smith-Schuster now has back-to-back games with at least 100 yards and a touchdown. He had not had such a game since Week 8, 2019 and now has eight such games in his career.

The Titans have won four straight regular season matchups with the Chiefs but lost in the 2020 AFC Championship Game in Kansas City.

Their respective 5-2 records this season disguise the fact each of those wins has been relatively close. The Titans and Vikings have only won by single digits this season. Only five teams in NFL history have seen such a streak reach six games – the 2020 Chiefs, 1997 Vikings, 1994 Giants, 1988 Saints and 1986 Giants. Of those, only the Chiefs' streak reached seven.

Elsewhere...

The Miami Dolphins (5-3) will be looking for a fourth consecutive road win against the Chicago Bears (3-5), which would make the Dolphins the first AFC team since the conference came into being in 1970 to have such a streak in Chicago. Miami's Tyreek Hill has gone 52 consecutive receptions without a receiving touchdown. That accounts for the longest streak of his career, nearly doubling his previous career-long streak (27, twice).

Memories of a record-setting 2014 game between the Carolina Panthers and the Bengals will be stoked when the teams meet in Cincinnati on Sunday. The last time these teams met at the home of the Bengals it finished in a 37-37 tie, and entering Week 9 in 2022 that remains the highest-scoring tie in an NFL game since the NFL and AFL merged in 1970.

The New England Patriots are 4-4 for the fifth time in the Bill Belichick era (since 2000) as they approach a home game against the Indianapolis Colts (3-4-1). The other four times the Patriots started 4-4 under Belichick, they made the playoffs three times (2001, 2005, 2021) and missed the playoffs once (2002). Between the regular season and playoffs, Belichick owns an 18-9 career record against the Colts, with only Don Shula (36 wins as coach of the Dolphins from 1970 to 1995) having achieved more such wins.

Related items

  • Kane calls for calm but accepts England not good enough Kane calls for calm but accepts England not good enough

    Harry Kane called for some perspective following England's 1-1 Euro 2024 draw against Denmark but accepts his side were not good enough.

    England failed to build on a 1-0 win over Serbia in their Group C opener as they saw Kane's opener cancelled out by Morten Hjulmand in Thursday's match in Frankfurt.

    Gareth Southgate's side once again failed to push on after taking the lead in a game and supporters made their frustrations known.

    The draw means England have still yet to ever win their first two matches at a European Championship, with their place in the last 16 not yet certain.

    And Kane - the third man to score at four different major tournaments for England along with Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney - admits an improvement is needed.

    "We're struggling with and without the ball," he told BBC Sport. "The pressing in both games hasn't been quite right, and with the ball we haven't been good enough – that's from top to bottom, from me to Picks (Jordan Pickford). 

    "It was tough out there with the heat and the pitch. It wasn't our greatest game but we got away with a draw.

    "There's no easy games at major tournaments and I think that's being shown. There are levels we can reach, with and without the ball, but it’s a sign of a good team that you can get results when you’re not playing well."

    England sit top of Group C with four points from two matches and will guarantee a place in the knockouts with a draw against Slovenia on Tuesday, while a win sees them through in top spot.

    "We're top of the group and we've all but qualified," added Kane, who was substituted with 20 minutes to go. "I know there’ll be loads of noise and a bit of disappointment at home, but we experienced this when we drew with Scotland in the last Euros. 

     

    "It's a time to stay calm, reflect and try to improve. Step by step, we'll get there."

    Kane's opener was his fifth goal at the Euros, making him the first England player and the eighth from any country to score five or more in both this competition and the World Cup.

    However, Hjulmand levelled 16 minutes later with a shot from 30 yards - his first goal for Denmark in all competitions on what was his ninth appearance - and England could not find a response of their own.

    Southgate's side dropped deep after going in front, as they did against Serbia and have done in recent tournaments, and Kane believes that is an area that needs working on.

    "It’s not just when we score that [we drop deep]," he said. "It's something we need to get better at. When the teams drop a few players deeper, we're not sure how who's supposed to be pressing. 

    "In the second half we tried to change it a bit with me and Jude [Bellingham] playing in front of their two midfielders and then trying to get up. But it was difficult. Credit to Denmark, they’re a really good side and they carried a threat."

    England have now won just two of their past eight competition meetings with Denmark, and this most recent result means they are unable to rest up against Slovenia.

    Reflecting on the disappointing performance, Southgate told BBC Sport: "The performance was not what we would have hoped. At the moment we're not using the ball well enough, and if you do that you'll suffer as we have at times tonight. There's another level we have to find.

    "There's a huge amount of work to do - that's evident. We have to stay tight. We understand people will be disappointed with the performances, and rightly so. We've got make them better."

  • St. Louis City v Colorado Rapids: Carnell desperate for response as winless run persists St. Louis City v Colorado Rapids: Carnell desperate for response as winless run persists

    St. Louis City will be desperate to snap a record six-game winless run in MLS when they host Colorado Rapids at CityPark Stadium on Thursday.

    The Missouri-based side have just three wins from their 17 league matches this term, falling down to 11th in the Western Conference standings.

    Bradley Carnell's men have not triumphed in MLS action since a 3-1 win over Chicago Fire in the middle of May, and were defeated 2-0 by FC Dallas last time out.

    St. Louis coach Carnell referenced injury struggles, however, as his side continue to battle through a troubling period.

    "Obviously, it doesn’t take a genius to look at the roster and see where we are. We're not the first team to struggle with this.

    "Now we get challenged and now get to prove what we are as a group, team, organisation and unit – sticking together.

    "We have a plethora of young players who are performing [for our academy] and we will keep some of those guys with us through the week."

    The Rapids have enjoyed a better season, sitting sixth in the West table after returning to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over Austin FC at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.

    That ended a four-game winless streak for Colorado, who secured a much-needed victory after a rocketed finish from Cole Bassett before Rafael Navarro netted his 10th goal of the season.

    The next challenge for the Rapids is to secure back-to-back victories for the first time since April, though they have lost three straight on the road.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    St. Louis City – Jared Stroud

    Jared Stroud was involved in a goal in both matches (one goal, one assist) against the Rapids last season.

    The St. Louis man has eight assists to his name in MLS this season, too, and will hope to deliver once more when Colorado come to town.

    Colorado Rapids – Djordje Mihailovic

    Djordje Mihailovic has scored in each of the Rapids' last three away matches.

    He is the first Rapids player to score in three straight away from home in a single regular season since Shkelzen Gashi scored in five straight on the road from June-October 2016.

    MATCH PREDICTION – ST. LOUIS CITY WIN

    St. Louis are the heavy favourites for victory in this encounter, considering their record against the Rapids.

    Carnell's side collected four points from their two matches against Colorado last season, including a 2-0 win at home last July.

    Colorado have lost their last three road matches, conceding 10 goals in those games, and that run of form comes as no surprise.

    Indeed, the Rapids have lost 15 of their last 21 away from home in all competitions (W3 D3), dating back to last May.

    Yet a home win is by no means a foregone conclusion.

    St. Louis are winless in six straight matches (D2 L4) for the first time in club history. They have just three wins so far, tied for the fewest in MLS this season, though all three have come at home.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    St. Louis City win – 48.8%

    Colorado Rapids win – 25.5%

    Draw – 25.7%

  • Portugal 2-1 Czechia: Conceicao's last-gasp heroics salvage Selecao on Ronaldo's landmark outing Portugal 2-1 Czechia: Conceicao's last-gasp heroics salvage Selecao on Ronaldo's landmark outing

    Francisco Conceicao proved the hero on his first competitive appearance for Portugal after his stoppage-time winner snatched a 2-1 victory over Czechia in their Euro 2024 opener.

    Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player in the European Championship's 64-year history to appear in six editions, but his landmark moment was overshadowed by a glimpse into Portugal's future.

    Conceicao was introduced after 90 minutes and scored just two minutes later, capitalising on a loose ball to send Portugal level on points with leaders Turkiye, who beat Georgia 3-1 earlier on Tuesday in Group F.

    Robin Hranac's unavoidable own-goal had earlier cancelled out Lukas Provod's rocketed second-half opener before Conceicao announced himself on the international stage at the Leipzig Stadium.

    Roberto Martinez's team were the only side to win every qualifying game for this tournament, with a perfect 10 wins from as many matches, and dominated the first half of their opener without reward.

    Ronaldo almost marked his landmark appearance with a goal just eight minutes in but rushed an unmarked header in uncharacteristic fashion from Rafael Leao's whipped cross.

    Bruno Fernandes angled a deflected long-range effort narrowly over as the one-way traffic persisted, before the Manchester United midfielder's teasing ball just evaded the lunging Leao.

    Fernandes was again the architect when his delicate throughball found Ronaldo, who was denied by Jindrich Stanek's fantastic stop from point-blank range.

    The Czechia goalkeeper was on hand once more before the interval, parrying away another fizzing Ronaldo strike as these two sides were the first to be goalless at half-time at Euro 2024.

    Portugal completed 368 passes in that first-half onslaught, their most on record in a single half at the European Championships since records began in 1980, and little changed after the break.

    Ronaldo tested the hands of Stanek with a dipping free-kick just before the hour, though Portugal were stunned soon after when Provod cannoned into the top-left corner from the perimeter of Diogo Costa's area.

    Yet a response swiftly followed as Stanek parried Leao's downwards back-post header against Hranac, who could only deflect into his own net to level proceedings.

    Diogo Jota had a late finish ruled out by VAR after Ronaldo was adjudged offside before his rebounded strike, though Conceicao pounced from Pedro Neto's half-cleared left-wing cross to snatch all three points.

    Substitute heroics save Ronaldo's landmark appearance

    Ronaldo already holds the record for the most appearances in European Championship history (26), though this outing marked another historic moment for the 39-year-old.

    Having featured at every Euros since his 2004 debut, Ronaldo is the first to go to six editions of the tournament, where his 14 goals make him the leading scorer in history.

    The former Manchester United attacker could not add to his tally here, and it was a familiar tale at the Euros for Ronaldo, who missed the 2016 final victory over France after his gut-wrenching injury.

    Eder stepped up as the extra-time hero on that occasion, and he was the last Portugal substitute to score at the Euros before Conceicao did so here.

    Conceicao's goal came just 111 seconds after being introduced and marks the fastest such goal since Ferran Torres for Spain against Slovakia in June 2021 (41 seconds) – what an introduction for the Porto man.

    Czech need more from Schick

    Patrik Schick scored five of Czechia's six goals at Euro 2020, becoming only the second Czech player to be the sole or joint-top scorer at a European Championship tournament – after Milan Baros at the 2004 edition (five goals).

    The forward has since lifted the Bundesliga title with Bayer Leverkusen last term, helping Xabi Alonso's side to an unbeaten league season with seven top-flight goals.

    Considering his record at the Euros and the 2023-24 trophy-winning campaign, Czechia may want more from their star striker – who was withdrawn on the hour after being cautioned and failing to manage a single shot.

    Yet with or without Schick, Czechia could have never prepared for Conceicao's late intervention. Ivan Hasek's side have now lost five straight games against Portugal and must bounce back when they face Georgia on Saturday.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.