BUFFALO AT L.A. RAMS
TV: NBC, 8:20 p.m.
Line: Bills by 2.5; O/U: 51.5
The 2022 NFL season kicks off with last year’s Super Bowl champion hosting the consensus favorite to win this year’s big game. It’s Sean McVay’s Rams against Sean McDermott’s Bills in what could have been a Super Bowl rematch had Buffalo gotten a chance in overtime against Kansas City in the AFC divisional-round thriller. But that was a long seven-plus months ago, there’s a new OT rule now and last season was last season.
The Bills, led by quarterback Josh Allen, are the favorite to win it all. According to OddsChecker, Buffalo is +600 at FanDuel, followed by Tampa Bay (+750), Kansas City (+1,000) and the Los Angeles Rams (+1,100). (In case you were wondering, the Giants are +8,500 and the Jets are +15,000.)
Back to the other New York team. Buffalo has all the weapons to make a Super Bowl run, but will the loss of offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, now the Giants’ coach, take some time to get used to? Still, Buffalo is the safe play here. Allen has emerged as one of the game’s best arms, throwing 37 and 36 TD passes, respectively, the past two seasons. For what it’s worth, he’s 12-4 against NFC teams, including a four-TD performance in a win over the Rams in 2020.
Matthew Stafford has been dealing with a tender elbow this offseason and preseason. I’d like to see how he looks in a real game first, especially against former Ram Von Miller. This figures to be a close game, with the most likely result being a three-point Bills win (I’ll go a bit further and say 6-7). In the end, Allen will make a bigger play to get the Bills off and running in what many believe will be a super season.
The pick: Buffalo
Tom Rock: L.A. Rams
Al Iannazzone: Buffalo