After dropping their season-opener to the Steelers 23-16 in Buffalo, the Bills torched their next four opponents averaging 39 points per game en route to a four-game win streak. Although that streak was snapped with a dramatic 34-31 loss to Derrick Henry and the Titans on Monday Night Football, they landed at their Week 7 by with a 4-2 record.
Uneven play over the next seven weeks landed Buffalo at 7-6 after Week 14 – the sixth loss 33-27 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in overtime – but it bounced back to mount another four-game win streak to close out the regular season and gain momentum heading into the playoffs. The Bills finished the regular season with the NFL's No. 1 total defense and No. 1 scoring defense, allowing the fewest yards and points per game. They also had the No. 5 total offense and No. 3 scoring offense.
In the postseason, the Bills throttled the Patriots 47-17 in the Wild Card Round – quarterback Josh Allen posted 308 passing yards and five touchdowns – before falling to the Chiefs 42-36 in overtime in the Divisional Round. The ending of that game prompted league owners to approve a rule change to playoff overtime rules ensuring both teams will get a possession.
Perhaps the biggest move came on the coaching staff, when offensive coordinator Brian Daboll was hired by the Giants as their next head coach. The Bills hired from within to fill Daboll's position, promoting quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey.
Buffalo lost one of its top pass rushers in free agency but also added one of the league's best in former Los Angeles Rams outside linebacker Von Miller to a six-year deal. Other notable free agency additions included signing former Titans and Rams offensive guard Rodger Saffold to a one-year deal, former Dolphins, Texans and Browns running back Duke Johnson to a one-year deal, former Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard to a one-year deal.
Sean McDermott enters his sixth season as head coach of the Bills, compiling a 49-32 regular season record and 3-4 playoff record. The Bills have qualified for the postseason in four of his first five seasons, including a current streak of three-straight.
What to watch for
Four key individual matchups
Jalen Ramsey vs. Stefon Diggs. Von Miller vs. Joe Noteboom or Rob Havenstein, depending on which side Miller lines up at. And while the quarterbacks don't directly play against each other, given their performances will get compared, Matthew Stafford vs. Josh Allen.
There's lots of compelling individual matchups in this game, but those three will likely have the most direct impact on the outcome of this year's NFL Kickoff Game.
More broadly, the battle in the trenches will be worth watching especially. Given the numbers Stafford and Allen put up last year and their abilities to escape the pocket and make off-schedule plays, whichever team can affect the quarterback more – or protect their quarterback best – will ultimately have the best chance of winning.
With the 2022 NFL Schedule released, take a look at when and where the Los Angeles Rams will play during each week of the 2022 season.