On Thursday, May 12 after 5 p.m. PT, the Los Angeles Rams will officially know when their defense of the Vince Lombardi Trophy begins and who will be the first challenger inside the “Rams House.”
The 2022 NFL schedule release will become the latest league-wide event to add intrigue and trending topics to what’s already been an offseason period that reached unlikely levels — from record-breaking deals, stunning trades and former rivals crossing over…a la Bobby Wagner going from the Seattle Seahawks to the Rams.
Already, there’s the building intrigue from longtime NFL insider Peter King that a Buffalo Bills and Rams matchup would kick off the 2022 season. The Bills were also considered the trendy favorite among a panel of NFL Network analysts to begin the year inside SoFi Stadium with former Ram Von Miller in tow — mentioned in this Heavy on Rams story.
However, the Bills were among the four selections for a Week 2 doubleheader on Monday Night Football, as announced by the new MNF team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. This could officially rule out the Bills as a season-opening option for September 8.
But now there’s this scenario that could be unveiled in four days: The Rams take on an old rival or a fierce rival to start their pursuit of back-to-back titles. Here are two other strong possibilities.
The Old Rival, Plus Reunions Galore
This battle is shaping up to be a strong suitor for opening kickoff of the ’22 season for numerous reasons.
For starters, an old rival faces the Rams again in new Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson. But on the Rams’ side? Wilson’s longtime Seahawks teammate and fellow captain Wagner — in their first battle against one another as non-teammates.
There’s more: Ejiro Evero is on the Broncos’ side as defensive coordinator after being on Sean McVay’s staff from 2017 to 2021.
The last time the Broncos were featured in the NFL kickoff game was the Super Bowl 50 rematch versus the Carolina Panthers in 2016. Now, with star power on both sides and the reunion angles, this could draw lots of television viewers and lots of ticket purchases for SoFi Stadium and the Rams.
The Fierce Rival, & The Rematch
If there was ever a game where the league wanted a sold out crowd, a bitter rivalry on display and two contenders on the same field in front of a nationally televised audience…
A rematch of the NFC title game versus the San Francisco 49ers is an enticing move.
There are already NFL analysts on board to see these two go at it — notably Steve Smith Sr. who wrote down on Tuesday, May 3 that a 49ers-Rams showdown is his pick.
But this installment of 49ers/Rams comes with new growing plot twists: Trey Lance taking the QB reins over Jimmy Garoppolo, the 49ers adding Charvarius Ward after watching what Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham did to the 49ers’ cornerbacks and for the 49ers’ defense, having to now game plan for new Rams wideout Allen Robinson.
But there you have it: A game featuring an old rival and a contest featuring a bitter rival are the growing possibilities for the Rams’ season opener before the final official schedule is released.