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The NFL season gets underway with a mouth watering clash between last year’s Super Bowl champions, the Los Angeles Rams, who host this year’s Super Bowl favourites, the Buffalo Bills.
Being posted as underdog in their own stadium – where they won the Super Bowl seven months ago – is disrespectful to the Rams who look the clear value in the season opener.
Los Angeles have not lost in the opening week in the Sean McVay era, and it is no surprise that the offensive mastermind has his teams ready to go from opening week given his reputation for meticulous game planning. The Rams are 5-0 against the spread in those Week 1 games as well.
While there was a query over the fitness of Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford earlier in preseason, he appears to be at full health heading into this game.
The Bills, in contrast, lost in Week 1 last season at home to Pittsburgh. They are 3-2 in Week 1 under head coach Sean McDermott, but all three of their wins came against the perennially hapless New York Jets.
Buffalo are also bedding in a new offensive play caller, Ken Dorsey, and it would be no surprise to see them take some time to find their rhythm on offence, even with superstar Josh Allen under centre.
Typically, the defending Super Bowl winners are always hard to beat in the season opener. The reigning champs are 18-3 straight up in the last 21 games, and 13-6-2 against the number.
Getting points at home, the Rams are the play.
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Running back James Cook was drafted by the Bills for his pass catching ability, and he should be Buffalo’s prime receiving option out of the backfield. This should mean less receiving opportunities for Devin Singletary, who is merely adequate in that role anyway.
Allen Robinson is a star who has been stuck in receiver purgatory (aka Chicago) for the last few seasons. Back to full health, the Penn State product should have a huge role to play in the Rams offence this season.
Reggie Gilliam, the Bills fullback, saw an increased snap count in the second half of last season as the team shifted towards heavier personnel packages. As a result, he had three receptions in the playoffs. Expect Gilliam’s usage to only increase this year and $18 to find the end zone looks an attractive price.