By Stu Jackson, The Rams
For the third-straight year, the Rams (0-0) open the season at home and in primetime, but this time, it’s on Thursday night in the NFL’s Kickoff Game for the 2022 season, hosting the Bills (0-0). Kickoff from SoFi Stadium in Inglewood is scheduled for 5:20 p.m. pacific time on NBC.
In advance of the contest, here is your First Look at Rams-Bills, presented by Verizon.
Notable Bills additions
Signed OLB Von Miller to a six-year contract in March: Rams fans are obviously familiar with Miller and the role he played in helping the franchise capture Super Bowl LVI. In Week 1, he’ll be on the other sideline, looking to help the Bills do the same this year.
Drafted RB James Cook in the second round of this year’s NFL Draft: Even though Buffalo already had Devin Singletary and Zack Moss, as well as quarterback Josh Allen and his rushing abilities, the versatility he’s displayed in the preseason has shown why he was worth adding to the mix at running back.
Top performers in 2021
Allen completed 409 of 646 pass attempts for 4,407 yards with 36 touchdowns against 15 interceptions.
Singletary led Buffalo’s backfield with 188 carries for 870 yards and seven touchdowns.
WR Stefon Diggs was Allen’s top target in the passing game with 103 receptions for 1,225 yards and 10 touchdowns.
LB Tremaine Edmunds paced the Bills defense with 108 total tackles, while safeties Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde led their secondary with five interceptions each.
On special teams, K Tyler Bass made 28 of 32 field goal attempts and 51 of 51 extra point attempts. P Matt Haack averaged 42.9 yards per punt across 52 punts.
Early storylines to watch, and what they mean for the Rams
Much of the conversation surrounding this game will focus on the understandable topics and players: Matthew Stafford vs. Josh Allen, Jalen Ramsey vs. Stefon Diggs, among others.
Where I’m looking this week: Towards the Bills defense, and for a few reasons.
One, their secondary. They will be without star cornerback Tre’Davious White, who was placed on the Reserve/PUP list on Aug. 30 and miss at least the first four games. Meanwhile, as Hyde and Poyer’s stats show, they have two opportunistic safeties on the back end.
Two, their pass rush. Miller and the rest of the Bills’ front seven will present a strong test for the Rams’ offensive line.
Keep Miller away from Stafford and have a clean passing performance, and that will go a long way to coming away with a victory in Thursday night’s season-opener at SoFi Stadium.