Since 2004, it has become the norm for the defending Super Bowl champion to start the season at home. The only exceptions came in 2013, when the Baltimore Ravens had to play on the road due to a scheduling conflict with the Orioles, and 2019, when the NFL chose to celebrate its 100th season with a Bears-Packers game rather than a fresh one. England Patriots.
At the time, the Super Bowl champion was 14-3 in the Week 1 game. If we go back to 2000, that jumps to 18-3. Basically, Super Bowl hangovers didn’t play a major role at the start of the season. However, with the Rams taking over this year’s Super Bowl favorite, the Buffalo Bills, tonight, many people turned away from the defending champions. Hell, even Vegas lists the Bills as a 2.5-point favorite on the road. So, are bills much better? I’ve always been told that the home field advantage gives you a three-point swing in your favor in terms of betting odds, so does that mean the Rams would be an underdog by 5.5 points if they were in Buffalo? This cannot be true. Rams are still remarkably good. However, there is one factor that has made many bettors believe that bills have a huge advantage: von Miller.
That’s stupid. Von Miller is awesome, sure, and was a great part of the Rams’ Super Bowl last year, but are we really supposed to believe that Miller holds the Rams defense secrets the Bills need in order to win? News flash, the Rams haven’t changed their defensive coordinator. Any and all movies that Bills would need in order to prepare for this game were already available.
Yes, having a vet like Miller to help explain the defensive intricacies of some of the Bills’ younger players would help set up the team, but let’s not pretend Miller has been holding the Rams’ secrets and has revealed everything he does to coach the Bills this two workers. Buffalo is a multi-billion dollar organization with many scouts, video teams, and data analysts. Any information they could want about Miller’s ex-team, they will likely already have months before Miller is signed to free agency.
Glad we got that out of the way. The biggest factors to watch for in this game will be Stefon Diggs-Jalen Ramsey’s match and whether Josh Allen-Gabe Davis’s connection has any leftovers from the AFC League Tour with the Chiefs. If Davis is anything like he was in that playoff, the rams are toast. However, I don’t trust Davis after one great match. This was the man who scored more than five goals only three times last season and never had more than five receptions in one game. Then the playoffs roll, he goes for eight catches, 201 yards, four points, and all of a sudden everyone loses their minds.
I understand Davis was heading higher in the target division late last season (he scored eight, seven, three and 14 in his last four games), but let’s be real for a second. He had 14 goals in that game in Week 18 against the poor secondary Jets and only scored three receptions. It happened two weeks before his brilliance. At least, that’s a flash of inconsistency, and against a team as talented defensively as the Rams, they’ll take every advantage they can get. While I suppose most of the defensive focus will be on Diggs, Davis will definitely be on the Rams’ radar. Everyone knows the Bills are a heavy passing team, so it’s possible that the Rams are primed to shut down the air assault and will try to force the game at the hands of Devin Singletary, James Cook and Zack Moss early on. I don’t trust any of these guys.
On the other side of the ball, the question remains: “Can the Bills stop Cooper Cup?” Honestly, I wouldn’t trust them. In 2021, the Bills only had to face an elite wide receiver twice last season: Week 5 in Kansas City and Week 14 in Tampa Bay (three times if you include their playoff loss to KC). In those games, the Bills struggled to stop their opponents’ highest competition. Mike Evans and Chris Goodwin combined for 16 receptions, 196 yards, and touchdowns in Week 14. Terrick Hill and Travis Kelsey combined for 13 receptions, 120 yards, and touchdowns in Week 4, which isn’t terrible, but the Chiefs did struggle At the start of last season. In the playoffs, Hill went on to break 11, 150 and score. I understand the match was a penalty shootout and difficult to defend when teams are in the area, but there is no track record long enough for the Bills to be able to defend against elite receivers, and Kupp is arguably the best in the league.
Just because Kupp will have a good match doesn’t mean the Rams are guaranteed to win. However, in matches in which Cobb scored 12 or more goals last season, Rams went 6-3 and scored under 20 points only once. They scored 30 or more points in four of those games. Even for a strong offense like the Bills, 30 points are hard to beat.
All this said, I don’t pick rams to win. You’d probably think given everything I said, but instead, this was all to indicate how the Rams would win. I don’t feel comfortable choosing either side in this match. I wouldn’t touch this game with a 39-and-a-half-foot shaft if I’m betting this weekend. Surprisingly, however, according to ESPN’s Pick ‘Em numbers, more than 60 percent of people chose Bills to win and cover. This is a high number for the competition between two talented teams as we see it. This rubbed me the wrong way. I’m not saying that anyone who picks bills is stupid or wrong, but it should be much closer in my opinion.
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