We will know on May 12 when the Los Angeles Rams will officially “run it back.”
One thing is certain: The Super Bowl 56 champions are the ones who will kick off the regular season on Thursday, as the NFL tradition has the defending champions beginning the year.
But here’s what’s not certain as of yet: Who the Rams will battle.
Well, there are six NFL analysts who wrote down who they hope to see battle the Rams. And half of them wrote how they hope it’s an AFC contender with a certain beloved Ex-Rams star who pulls up to SoFi Stadium to jump start the season. Here’s who the NFL Network hopes to see.
Half of the Analysts Want Bills versus Rams
The Buffalo Bills represent one of the nine opponents expected to invade the “Rams House” come September.
The network’s trio of Joe Thomas, Marc Ross and DeAngelo Hall are all itching to see “Bills Mafia” in Inglewood in asking which game should kick off the season on Tuesday, May 3. Here’s the explanation from each of them:
Thomas: The former Cleveland Browns All-Pro has two words: Josh Allen.
“I’m dying to see more Josh Allen after what he did in last year’s postseason. Who isn’t?!” Thomas wrote.
But there’s more. Thomas will be curious to see how Allen and the Bills offense operate without Brian Daboll, who is now the head coach of the New York Giants.
“And there’s no better measuring stick than the defending champions,” Thomas wrote.
Ross: The former NFL executive is another who wants to see more of Allen — but this time against the champions in what many will consider an early Super Bowl 57 preview.
“It wouldn’t get better than Bills at Rams. The former was one overtime possession away from the AFC Championship Game in January, and Josh Allen gets the opportunity to start the Bills’ Super Bowl march and begin making his own MVP case with a signature win over the defending champions,” Ross wrote.
There’s another compelling storyline to this game that Ross mentioned.
“And, of course, there would be the drama of Von Miller coming back to torment his former team. It’s too good to be true,” Ross said.
Hall: The former cornerback and return ace stated his reason — both were two of the hottest teams during 2021 but only one ultimately advanced on to win the big game.
“I’m taking the Bills. They were the hottest team in last year’s postseason, and putting them center stage with the Rams to begin the season could be a potential Super Bowl preview,” Hall wrote.
Hall also believes that both teams won’t be taking a step back following their moves during the 2022 offseason.
“I know it feels way too early to suggest such things, but these teams got better this offseason — which is saying a lot,” Hall said.
Who Doesn’t Want to See a Bills-Rams Pairing
Again, there were three who made their case of wanting to see someone other than the AFC East champs.
But for the panel of Maurice Jones-Drew, David Carr and Steve Smith Sr., all three gave different teams. Here’s who they chose:
Jones-Drew: Tampa Bay — The former running back said he was torn between choosing the San Francisco 49ers and Buccaneers. But a rematch of the epic NFC Divisional round game won off a walk-off field goal from Matt Gay is the proposed season opener for MJD.
“Brady vs. the Rams is made for prime time,” Jones-Drew said.
Carr: Las Vegas — The Ex-first round pick and Super Bowl 46 champion says “it has to be the Raiders.”
Carr believes this contest features endless storylines. But one of them is a certain new pairing.
“It’s the beginning of the Josh McDaniels-Derek Carr era,” the elder Carr said.
But there’s other storylines and battles that gives Carr his reasonings why the former L.A. representative should help start the 2022 season with the champs.
“Pass rushers galore (Chandler Jones was added by the Raiders to team with Maxx Crosby). Davante Adams vs. Jalen Ramsey. The list goes on…and I’m here for it,” Carr said.
Smith Sr.: San Francisco — “Smitty” wants to see the NFC title game rematch.
“Let’s take a quick second to recall the last two times the San Francisco 49ers played the Rams at SoFi,” Smith Sr. began. “The first was Week 18, when the 49ers came out victorious to secure a playoff berth; the second was the NFC title game, when San Francisco blew a 10-point fourth-quarter lead to send the Rams to the Super Bowl.”
All the more reason why he hopes the division rivals “duke it out to begin the season.”