The Buffalo Bills will make the cross-country trek to take the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Field to begin the 2022 NFL. The Buffalo Bills and the Rams have been two of the best teams in the NFL since their respective coaches, Sean McDonough and Sean McVay, took over the programs. Buffalo is considered one of the favorites to win Super Bowl LVI, while the Rams are the reigning World Champions.
This year marks the 21st season when the NFL starts the campaign on Thursday night. It is also the 19th time that the Super Bowl champion from the previous season partakes in the game. The reigning champs are 14-4 in those first Thursday night games.
The Rams and The Buffalo Bills are playing on Thursday night in Week 1 for the first time. The Rams have won two Super Bowls while the Bills are 0-4 in championship contests. The following are my best bets.
Under 52.5 Points
While this game could easily turn into a shootout as both teams are fantastic offensively, I am banking on the defenses doing some yeoman work. McDermott’s background is on the defensive side of football. Buffalo’s defense has ranked in the top three in scoring and yards allowed in three of the last four seasons — including No. 1 in both categories the past two years.
The Buffalo Bills allowed 17 points a game a year ago, holding 10 of their 19 opponents (postseason included to 17 or fewer points). They got several playmakers on that side of the ball and picked up Von Miller during the off-season to fill their major weakness, which is sacking the quarterback. Plus, they were very good at creating turnovers, getting off the field on third down, and in the red zone.
Los Angeles also has some solid playmakers, particularly when talking about rushing the passer and the secondary. They did a pretty decent job against the run, forcing turnovers, getting off the field on third down, and red zone defense a season ago.
While losing Miller was a blow, the Rams essentially exchanged him for All-Pro Bobby Wagner. Los Angeles permitted nearly 22 points a game in 2021, although they held their opponents to 20 or fewer points on eight occasions.
Moreover, the main reason I‘m backing the under is that I believe both offenses will try to get the run game going – which will eat up some yards and clock. There are also questions about the Buffalo Bills’ first-year offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey as a play caller.
Plus, in the early going of the season, the defense is generally ahead of the offense.
Neither the Buffalo Bills nor Rams first-team offensive got much work in during the preseason. Furthermore, the under has hit four of the Rams’ last six games. The under has also hit eight of their last nine matchups against the Buffalo Bills.
Devin Singletary Over 47.5 Rushing Yards and Under 2.5 Receptions
Singletary is the Bills’ unquestioned lead back in 2022. As a result, expect him to be utilized heavily, especially early in the season, as the Bills try to lessen the load on Allen. He closed out the season strong.
Singletary ran well in his very limited duty this preseason, and the Bills exploited the Broncos for over 200 yards on the ground in the only game the team’s regulars saw any time. Buffalo will likely look to control the pace of the game and time of possession, where they finished fourth last season.
Singletary will likely get a dozen or more rushing attempts on Thursday. The 25-year-old account for 41% of the team’s rushing attempts though that number increases to well over 50% when not including Allen’s runs. Buffalo averaged 27 rushing attempts a year ago.
Singletary registered seven games of 70 or more yards last year, including totaling 81 yards in the AFC Wild game against the Patriots. The fourth-year back had a solid 4.6 yards per carry in 2021, marking the third straight year that he has averaged at least 4.4 yards per attempt. While the Rams were staunch against the run, they still allowed 78 yards to opposing running backs a game.
While I believe that Singletary will be a factor in the game, I do think that the Buffalo Bills Bills will use Zach Moss and rookie James Cook more in the passing game. Not that he is not a capable receiver, Moss and Cook are more suited for that role. Plus, Singletary may need to stay in with an extra blocker if the Rams are successful at getting pressure.
Parlay: Dawson Knox and Gabriel Davis Over 3.5 Receptions
Allen loves to sling the ball. I believe he will have plenty of opportunities against the Rams, especially if the Buffalo Bills Bills can’t get anything going. With Jalen Ramsey likely locked in a matchup against Stefon Diggs, Davis could be in for a pretty big night.
Davis recorded 16 receptions over the final four games and then registered a career-high eight catches for over 200 yards in the AFC divisional series against the Chiefs. Meanwhile, Knox has improved in each of his last two seasons in the NFL, hauling in a career-high 49 passes in 2021. Knox is expected to be a big part of the Buffalo Bills Bills’ offense this year.
Cooper Kupp Under 93.5 Receiving Yards
Darrell Henderson Over 28.5 Rushing Yards
Tyler Higbee Under 3.5 Receptions
Matthew Stafford Under 24.5 Completions
Josh Allen Over 38.5 Rushing Yards
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