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NFL 2022: Rams vs Bills preview

The NFL season finally starts this Thursday with one of the most exciting games of the season full of matchups and storylines that make this one a must-see.


It feels like Christmas Eve! Football season is finally back, and the NFL did not disappoint with its season opener. The Los Angeles Rams will host the Buffalo Bills at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. There is so much to talk about going into this game, it’s hard to know where to even start. The reigning Super Bowl champions take on the Buffalo Bills, a team highly favored to win it all this year.

RELATED: How and where to watch the Bills vs Rams game

The last time the two teams met was in September 2020 and the Bills won it in a close game, 35-32. Let’s look at some of the key matchups and storylines ahead of our first Thursday Night Football game of 2022.

Jalen Ramsey vs Stefon Diggs

Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs became one of the top receivers in the league when he joined Buffalo. Thus, he is going to be the biggest target for Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey. The last time Ramsey and Diggs faced off was in 2020. Ramsey allowed just two catches on four targets for 13 yards on one-on-one coverage. But Diggs caught four passes for 49 yards and a touchdown. These are two of the best players in the league at their respective positions. It’s going to be a matchup we don’t want to miss.

Aaron Donald vs Josh Allen

Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald was ranked number 2 on NFL’s top 100 players in the 2022 rankings. There’s a reason for that. He’s scary, and you don’t want to be the offense that’s up against him. Unfortunately for Josh Allen, that’s exactly what he’ll have to do to start the 2022 season.

Allen provides his own threat too though, as one of the best quarterbacks in the league right now. Last season, he threw for 4,407 yards and had 36 touchdowns, ran for 763 yards for six touchdowns. Madness. The last time the two met, Allen went 24-of-33 for 311 yards and four touchdowns, but did throw one interception and was sacked four times…twice by Donald.

Who will defend against triple threat Cooper Kupp?

Cooper Kupp won the triple crown last season with 145 receptions for 1,947 yards, and 16 touchdowns. The Bills defense was the hardest to catch passes against last season, but Tre’Daviouis White is injured and Dane Jackson is filling in Week 1. The Bills are also without Levi Wallace this year too, replaced by Kaiir Elam. Jackson played well in his time on the field last season and this will be Elam’s debut. It will be interesting to see how the Bills decide to utilize their defense to try to slow down Kupp.

Will the Rams be able to take down Josh Allen?

Bills quarterback Josh Allen is one of the most athletic and unpredictable quarterbacks in the NFL. He’s a dual threat, able to scramble and get out of the pocket and run the ball as well as play smart and make huge passes. The Rams have a threatening defense too, with Donald, Bobby Wagner, Leonard Floyd, and Ernest Jones. But they’ll have their work cut out for them against Allen.

I mean...look at this:

“Those scramble plays where he’s able to create what’s typically a three or a four-second play into sometimes an eight or nine second (play),” said Rams head coach Sean McVay. “That ends up being a really great challenge, but we’ve got to do a great job up front.”

Though in their 2020 matchup, the Rams defense was able to sack Allen four times and hold him to just four carries for eight yards and one touchdown run, it was also Allen who threw the game-winning touchdown pass with 15 seconds on the clock. And it’s just plays like that one that make Allen such a threat.

How will the Bills take care of Aaron Donald on the interior?

The Rams defense is scary. They’ve got CB Jalen Ramsey, LB Bobby Wagner, LB Leonard Floyd, and scariest of all, DT Aaron Donald. Last year, they had 50 sacks and 19 interceptions, third best in the NFL. In their last meeting, Donald accounted for six tackles, two sacks, three QB hits, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery against the Bills.

“He’s one of the best players in football,” said Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey. “It’ll be obviously trying to slow not only him down, but that front is a very talented group. He’s the guy who leads that charge. It’s going to be a really good challenge for us.

Taking on a player like Donald is not a one-man job. It’s likely we’ll see right guard Ryan Bates and center Mitch Morse taking on the majority of protection against him. Left guard Rodger Saffold can provide the Bills with some personal insight, as he played with Donald for five seasons on the Rams team.

“The big thing for us is being able to have those on-field adjustments with any type of things we haven’t seen,” Saffold said. “Of course, with them adding Bobby Wagner, they can throw a couple of different wrinkles at us. The D-line has continued to be that hungry, quality coached team. And then we already know that they got Jalen Ramsey and all those guys, it’s just gonna be a good challenge all the way around for our offense.”

Von Miller is now a Bill and will battle his former team

Von Miller was traded to the Rams from the Broncos in the middle of the season last year and he helped take them to a Super Bowl championship. Now, the star pass rusher is playing for the Bills and will take on his former team to start off the 2022 season. What a way to kick it off. In two of the last four season openers, Miller had five sacks and seven quarterback hits.

With the Rams, Miller’s impact was obvious, even on his teammates. Donald, for instance, saw his numbers go way up under Miller’s influence. It wouldn’t be surprising if we see him do the same with the Bills’ defense this year.

“I think you’re talking about the impact that a player is making on a team and the influence that someone carries, in this case, a veteran player that’s played at a very high level for a long time,” said Bills coach Sean McDermott said. “I’ve been really pleased with that process of him getting to know us, us getting to know him. He is certainly a phenomenal player, but he’s also a phenomenal person and I think sometimes that’s maybe not as celebrated. But I think he really fits into our culture, and he’s really added a ton to our football team.”

Von Miller vs Joe Noteboom

Without Andrew Whitworth, Joe Noteboom is the Rams’ best left tackle, and he will likely be up against former Rams Super Bowl champ, Von Miller. Noteboom has had 17 starts in his first four seasons in the league and will be immediately put to the test with the Rams in Week 1. Can he live up to the challenge?

Other players to watch:

Tyler Higbee

Rams tight end Tyler Higbee is coming back from an injury last season, which is a good thing for LA. Though Kendall Blanton and Bryce Hopkins proved they could work under pressure while Higbee was out, he’s back and an even bigger threat to the Bills defense. Last year, in 15 games, he caught 61 passes for 560 yards and five touchdowns.

Matt Milano

Bills linebacker Matt Milano will be one of the players defending against Higbee and Kupp. He only had 86 combined tackles last season, but he made up for it with five pass deflections, two fumble recoveries, three sacks, and 15 tackles for a loss.

Bobby Wagner

The Rams signed Bobby Wagner to their defense this offseason just to add to their arsenal of weapons. The All-Pro inside linebacker joins Ernest Joins in the middle and is coming off of a career-best 170 combined tackles last season. In each of his first 10 seasons, he’s recored over 104 tackles.


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