4-Down Territory: Previewing the Rams-Bills season opener

On Thursday, September 8 at 8:20 p.m. EST, our long national nightmare will be over. The NFL regular season is back, and the 2022 season starts with a highly compelling matchup: The defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams welcome the Buffalo Bills, this year’s trendy pick to win it all, to SoFi Stadium.

Recently, Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar and Luke Easterling of Bucs Wire and Draft Wire previewed the game for “4-Down Territory,” the USA Today Sports Media Group’s must-watch weekly video. Here, Doug and Luke discuss the game’s most compelling matchups and potential turning points.

Doug: The Bills have a receiver group that can really stretch you out, and they’ll go five-wide out of empty on first down. They just don’t care. The Rams are light at cornerback outside of Jalen Ramsey, with Darious Williams signing with the Jaguars in the offseason. They have Troy Hill and David Long and Robert Rochell, but do they have the alphas outside of Ramsey to deal with that receiver group?

Luke: If there’s a weak link on this Buffalo roster, it’s probably the offensive line. That’s bad news when you’re facing Aaron Donald, but I want to see how much Donald and the rest of that Rams’ defensive front misses Von Miller, who will be on the other sideline for this game. Along with Miller, the Bills have some talented young pass rushers (Ed Oliver, Greg Rousseau, Boogie Basham), which could make life difficult for Matthew Stafford.

Doug: Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White is on the PUP list, and he won’t be eligible to return before week five from the torn ACL he suffered in Week 12 of the 2021 season. So, in this game, and through the first month of the season, how does Buffalo defend opposing receivers when their own offense presses opponents to score as much as possible just to keep up? First-round pick Kaiir Elam looked great this preseason, Dane Jackson and Taron Johnson have shown potential (especially Johnson in the slot), but there’s no comparable to White on this roster. That will bite the Bills in Week 1 and beyond – as long as White is out. 

You can watch the game preview video here.

Story originally appeared on Touchdown Wire