The 2022 NFL regular-season schedule will be unveiled on NFL Network, NFL.com and the NFL app at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, May 12, and buzz is building around the question of which matchup we'll see to start things off in Week 1.
Presuming the NFL sticks with the tradition of having the previous season's Super Bowl winner host the NFL Kickoff Game, we can expect the star-studded Rams to be the home team. And we know L.A. will face the 49ers, Bills, Broncos, Cardinals, Cowboys, Falcons, Panthers, Raiders and Seahawks at SoFi Stadium this upcoming season. (UPDATE: Since this article was posted, the NFL has revealed Broncos-Rams will take place Christmas Day, meaning Denver is out of the running.) So we asked our analysts to answer the following question:
Who would you most want to see the Rams play to open the 2022 NFL season?
I'm dying to see more Josh Allen after what he did in last year's postseason. Who isn't?! I'm curious to see what the dynamic QB, along with the Bills' offense as a whole, looks like after the departure of offensive coordinator Brain Daboll -- and there's no better measuring stick than the defending champions.
Let's take a quick second to recall the last two times the San Francisco 49ers played the Rams at SoFi. 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. Let's let one of today's best rivalries duke it out to begin the season.
It has to be the Raiders. There are endless storylines in this matchup. The Rams and Raiders were the last two teams to win championships while calling Los Angeles home, so what a perfect way to begin the 2022 season at SoFi Stadium. It's the beginning of the Josh McDaniels-Derek Carr era. Pass rushers galore. Davante Adams vs. Jalen Ramsey. The list goes on ... and I'm here for it.
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. 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.
The Rams have the hardest strength of schedule this upcoming season, as their opponents' combined 2021 record was 164-125. That means that there are almost too many good choices to kick off the season, and I'll tell you right now that I'm torn. Between the 49ers and the Bucs.
The 49ers coming back to SoFi Stadium about eight months after we saw them crumble down the stretch in the NFC title game would make for a potential revenge game. (Somehow, I don't think a Week 1 win will be as great as a Super Bowl berth, but still.) Then there are the Bucs, who still have Tom Brady and were also bounced in the playoffs -- this time in the Divisional Round -- by, you guessed it, the Rams. Brady vs. the Rams is made for prime time.
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. I know it feels way too early to suggest such things, but these teams got better this offseason -- which is saying a lot.