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Buffalo Bills @ Los Angeles Rams: A ‘Super Bowl matchup’ to kick-off the 2022 season, says Phoebe Schecter

Phoebe Schecter, a former coaching intern with the Buffalo Bills, looks ahead to their 2022 season-opening clash with the defending Super Bowl-champion Los Angeles Rams on Thursday night; watch Bills @ Rams, live on Sky Sports NFL, 1.20am, Friday

Last Updated: 08/09/22 6:31pm


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Which players will stand out from the star-studded lineups as the defending NFL champions Los Angeles Rams open their season at home against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday?

Which players will stand out from the star-studded lineups as the defending NFL champions Los Angeles Rams open their season at home against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday?

The 2022 NFL season kicks off on Thursday night with a curtain-raising clash that could just as likely serve as the season closer in Super Bowl LVII in Arizona on February 12 of next year.

The defending Super Bowl-champion Los Angeles Rams host the Buffalo Bills, who are many people’s favourites to dethrone them, in Los Angeles – live on Sky Sports NFL, 1.20am, Friday morning.

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The Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 in last year’s Super Bowl, while the Bills were defeated by the Kansas City Chiefs in the divisional round of the playoffs despite edging into the lead with just 13 seconds left of the contest – ultimately losing a heart-breaker 42-36 in overtime.

Highlights of Super Bowl LVI between the LA Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals

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Highlights of Super Bowl LVI between the LA Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals

Highlights of Super Bowl LVI between the LA Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals

Phoebe Schecter, Great Britain’s first female NFL coach, who spent 11 months as a coaching intern with the Bills from 2018-19, believes both teams will again be among the NFL’s best in 2022.

“This should have been the Super Bowl matchup we were watching in L.A. last year,” Schecter told Sky Sports. “These are two really high calibre teams.

Phoebe Schecter spent time as a coaching intern with the Buffalo Bills

Phoebe Schecter spent time as a coaching intern with the Buffalo Bills

“The Bills, last season, really bought into the ‘everyone is against the Bills’ storyline. People still didn’t rate them unless they played and beat a ‘decent side’, a team of calibre and won.

“This year, they can almost utilise – as much of a deep wound it is – those 13 seconds in the playoff loss to Kansas City. They will make sure that pain remains with them so that they never end up in that position again.

“For the Rams, it’s a case of how do you manage the expectation within your team? How do you manage the outside noise? The pressure is on you so much more once you’ve been successful like that.

“People call it a ‘Super Bowl hangover’ for a reason.

With the new season about to get underway, catch all the live action from the NFL on Sundays at 6pm on Sky Sports

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With the new season about to get underway, catch all the live action from the NFL on Sundays at 6pm on Sky Sports

With the new season about to get underway, catch all the live action from the NFL on Sundays at 6pm on Sky Sports

“It’s something that [head coach] Sean McVay is going to have to do a really good job of managing.

“Bill Belichick, I believe, has said multiple times after a Super Bowl – win or loss – that the new season starts now. It’s forgotten. McVay will stress that too.

“Every year you have to reinvent yourself as a team. The Rams will never be exactly the same Super Bowl-winning team again. We can’t look at them like that.”

‘Miller shaping Super Bowl culture in Buffalo’

One notable change to the Rams roster will be highlighted on opening night, with All-Pro linebacker Von Miller – who arrived in LA midway through the season after a trade with the Denver Broncos – now lining up against his former team-mates for the Bills.

Buffalo Bills linebacker Von Miller says he expecting some 'weird' feelings when he faces his old LA Rams team-mates in Week One of the NFL

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Buffalo Bills linebacker Von Miller says he expecting some ‘weird’ feelings when he faces his old LA Rams team-mates in Week One of the NFL

Buffalo Bills linebacker Von Miller says he expecting some ‘weird’ feelings when he faces his old LA Rams team-mates in Week One of the NFL

The 33-year-old Miller, who added a second Super Bowl to go with his Most Valuable Player-performance in winning with the Broncos in the 2015 season, adds a veteran presence to the Buffalo defense as well as premier pass-rushing talent.

“The Bills love to have a veteran in the room,” Schecter said. “We’ve heard them talk tons about culture. And you can see Miller is already really buying in

“He is going to bring that leadership to the team, teaching the group what it takes to be a Super Bowl winner – the on-field and off-field work ethic.

“He is naturally going to be teaching the younger guys around him – even about how to practice. I know that sounds ridiculous, but if you’ve never been to the top of that level, you don’t know what it should look like.”

‘Kupp and Donald key to season curtain raiser’

Will Miller give the Bills the edge against his former team on opening night? Not necessarily. Schecter has concerns over Buffalo’s secondary up against McVay’s explosive Rams offense and believes it could be key to deciding the outcome.

“Tre’Davious White out to injury, he is a massive loss,” she said. “And they traded Levi Wallace last year.

“Plus the rookie that they drafted, Kaiir Elam, has not had the best training camp so far.

NFL Network insider Ian Rapaport says LA Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is fully fit to face the Buffalo Bills in their Week One matchup

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NFL Network insider Ian Rapaport says LA Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is fully fit to face the Buffalo Bills in their Week One matchup

NFL Network insider Ian Rapaport says LA Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is fully fit to face the Buffalo Bills in their Week One matchup

“And you look at that Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp combo which we saw chip away at the Bengals at the last Super Bowl, that is a concern.

“That said, there’s the flip side and Buffalo’s weapons, with Josh Allen able to throw the ball to Stefon Diggs, Gabriel Davis.

Watch the top-10 plays by Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen from the 2021 NFL season.

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Watch the top-10 plays by Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen from the 2021 NFL season.

Watch the top-10 plays by Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen from the 2021 NFL season.

“But how will the Bills offensive hold up against the Rams defense and the strongest asset they have in Aaron Donald?

“They generally do a great job protecting Josh, and he will use his legs a lot which adds another element that is tough to defend.

“For me, that’s what this game will come down to, Kupp versus Buffalo’s inexperienced secondary and Donald against the O-line – they will be the major matchups.”

Don’t miss a second of the 2022 NFL season with Sky Sports NFL – join us for all the live action, starting with Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Rams from 1.20am on Friday, September 9.



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