Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald watches during the first half of a preseason NFL football game in Cincinnati, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

Defending Super Bowl champion Rams open season as underdogs

Matthew Stafford, Aaron Donald and the Los Angeles Rams will raise their Super Bowl banner Thursday night before kicking off the NFL season at home where they became the first team to hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy in their own stadium.

Somehow, they’re underdogs against the Buffalo Bills.

“It’s going to be fun,” Rams All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald said. “I’m pretty sure it’s going to be loud. … We definitely got to go out there and play a good team and try to find a way to win.”

The Bills are preseason favorites to win the Super Bowl after falling short in the AFC divisional round against the Kansas City Chiefs last January. Josh Allen leads a dynamic offense and the Bills had the league’s stingiest defense in 2021.

“Going to play the defending Super Bowl champs and watching them raise their banner, that’ll be an interesting feeling for sure,” Allen said. “And I’ve talked to a few people who have played and coached in this game before, and just really the unanimous thing that they were talking about was it feels like playoff atmosphere. So, we got to understand that going in, not get too high, not get too low. Understand the flow of the game and just try to put our best foot forward.”

Under Sean McVay, the Rams are 5-0 in season openers. Defending champions are 19-3 in Week 1 since 2000.

FanDuel Sportsbook has the Bills as a 2 1/2-point favorite. Pro Picks disagrees.

UPSET SPECIAL: RAMS, 29-26