Rams to face Buffalo Bills in NFL season opener: Five takeaways

The Super Bowl champion Rams will face the Buffalo Bills on Thursday, September 8. at SoFi Stadium in the NFL season opener, the league announced Thursday.

The game kicks off at 5 p.m. PDT and will air on NBC.

Five takeaways from the game:

Super Bowl preview? The Rams are trying to become the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowl titles since the New England Patriots achieved the feat in the 2003 and 2004 seasons.

The Rams added Pro Bowl receiver Allen Robinson and six-time All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner to a star-studded roster that includes quarterback Matthew Stafford, receiver Cooper Kupp, defensive lineman Aaron Donald and running back corner Jalen Ramsey.

The Bills look set to break into the AFC and reach the Super Bowl for the first time since dropping the last of four straight Super Bowl losses in the 1993 season.

Quarterback Josh Allen and receiver Stefon Diggs are the stars of offense, and rusher Von Miller — who helped the Rams win Super Bowl LVI — now leads the defense.

Super Bowl LVII will be played at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

The Matthew Stafford-Josh Allen duel will be a TV staple: After starring in the Super Bowl run last season, Stafford, 34, can shape a potential Hall of Fame resume.

The No. 1 pick in the 2009 draft is among the best of major returns — see last season’s NFC Divisional Round victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tom Brady — and has passed for nearly 50,000 yards. Last season, he passed for 41 touchdowns, with 17 interceptions.

Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) had Buffalo on the verge of a trip to the Super Bowl last season.

(Joshua Bessex/Associated Press)

Allen, the seventh pick in the 2018 draft, shot to fame in 2020 and needs a Super Bowl ring to join the league’s top tier of quarterbacks. Last season he had 36 touchdowns, with 15 interceptions and ran for six touchdowns.

Allen is so dynamic that the NFL changed its overtime rule because he was denied possession in a divisional round loss to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Von Miller in pursuit of the trifecta: The Rams traded Miller, a future Hall of Fame rusher, mid-season in 2021. He made several big plays and then played in the playoff run to victory at Super Bowl LVI.

That’s why the Bills — looking to get past the top by passing Mahomes — gave Miller a six-year contract that includes $51.4 million in guarantees, according to overthecap.com.

Miller won the Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos and the Rams.

In Game 1, he’ll begin a quest to join former NFL linebacker Matt Millen as the only players to win Super Bowl rings with three different franchises. Millen won with the Oakland and Los Angeles Raiders, San Francisco 49ers and Washington.

Kupp and Stefon Diggs carrying cash: Last season, Kupp won the NFL Offensive Player of the Year award after leading the league in catches (145Z), yards received (1,947) and touchdown catches (16). Kupp was targeted 191 times.

Diggs caught 103 passes for 1,225 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was targeted 164 times.

In April, Diggs signed a four-year extension that includes $70 million in guarantees. It helped set the stage for an offseason of huge NFL receiver contracts — and what could be a record payday for Kupp heading into the season opener.

Bills Mafia at SoFi? Last season, the Rams saw 49ers fans invade SoFi Stadium.

It’s probably a reach to expect the Bills fan base to travel across the country for more of the same.

But with six months to plan…

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