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Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Rams to open 2022 season; Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football

The NFL will open its new season where the last one kicked off — in Los Angeles’ SoFi Stadium, as the Super Bowl-champion Los Angeles Rams host the Buffalo Bills on Thursday, Sept. 8, the teams revealed.

The Bills-Rams matchup features elite quarterback play between Matthew Stafford and Josh Allen, who has guided the Bills to back-to-back playoff appearances. This game highlights a challenging calendar for the Rams, whose opponents have the league’s highest winning percentage from last year (56.7%). NBC will broadcast the game.

The Monday Night Football opener offers a spicy storyline

Russell Wilson making his Denver Broncos debut against his old team, the Seattle Seahawks, in Lumen Field.

Wilson guided the Seahawks to two Super Bowl appearances and nine winning seasons over 10 years. Seattle traded Wilson to Denver in March for multiple draft picks and veteran players.

Other key Week 1 matchups include the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night, a rematch of last season’s Thursday night opener; the Los Angeles Chargers hosting the Las Vegas Raiders, reigniting a dramatic 2021 regular season finale with playoff implications; the Cincinnati Bengals at the Pittsburgh Steelers, a clash of fierce AFC North rivals; and the Kansas City Chiefs making the trip west to play the Arizona Cardinals, two high-powered offenses in the desert.

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The Buccaneers will face serious firepower in the first month of the campaign, with a Sept. 25 home opener versus the Green Bay Packers and a clash with the Chiefs the following week.

Other Week 1 matchups include the Jacksonville Jaguars, with new coach Doug Pederson, at the Washington Commanders, with new quarterback Carson Wentz. Pederson coached Wentz in Philadelphia and won a Super Bowl with the Eagles, although Nick Foles was behind center with Wentz injured.

Several key division matchups, meanwhile, are also on tap for Sept. 11: the New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans, New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins, and the Packers at Minnesota Vikings.

Also, it will be the Cleveland Browns at Carolina Panthers, San Francisco 49ers at Chicago Bears, Eagles at Detroit Lions, Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets, and New York Giants at Tennessee Titans.

NFL teams started releasing information on their home openers a few hours before the 8 p.m. league-wide schedule reveal.

Teams have known their opponents since the end of last season, but the NFL builds drama around the schedule release, announcing the order, kickoff times and broadcast networks for all 272 games on one night each May.

This will be the second NFL season that follows a 17-game schedule, as agreed upon by the NFL and players union during recent labor negotiations.

The regular season runs through Jan. 8, with the Super Bowl set for kickoff Feb. 12.

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Buffalo Bills, WR Stefon Diggs agree to four-year, $104M extension

Josh Allen will be working with his favorite weapon for years to come, as the Buffalo Bills have reached agreement with wide receiver Stefon Diggs on a four-year, $104 million extension that involves $70 million guaranteed, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

With two years left on his existing deal, Diggs’ contract now runs through 2027 at a total value of $124.1 million. Both the Bills and Diggs would like him to retire in Buffalo, sources said.

“There was so much work put in to get to this point but I am beyond happy to know that I will be playing the rest of my career with BILLS MAFIA. Words cannot describe how I’m feeling right now,” Diggs wrote in an Instagram post.

The agreement follows a wave of top wide receiver deals this offseason, making Diggs’ extension an inevitable conclusion for the Bills. New Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill received $72.2 million guaranteed, and Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams got $65 million guaranteed.

Allen’s contract extension signed last year ties him to the Bills through the 2028 season.

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The Bills obtained Diggs, 28, in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings in March 2020 in exchange for four draft picks, including a first-rounder. Since that trade, Diggs has put together two of the best seasons of his career, including his first two Pro Bowl appearances.

In his two years with the Bills, Diggs has caught 230 passes for 2,760 yards and 18 touchdowns. His 2020 season included career and league highs with 127 receptions, 1,535 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. In 2021, he caught a career-high 10 touchdowns during the NFL’s first 17-game season.

Since his trade to the Bills, Diggs has ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.

The only players with more receptions than Diggs since the start of the 2020 season are Adams and Cooper Kupp, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Diggs’ receptions and receiving yards are the first and fourth most by any player in their first two seasons with a team in NFL history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Diggs and Brandon Marshall (with the Chicago Bears) are the only players with 200 catches and 2,500 receiving yards in their first two seasons with a team all time.

“I want to give all players their respect and a fair pay, whoever it is, and Stef’s no different,” Bills general manager Brandon Beane recently said of Diggs. “… I think the world of Stef. I think what he’s brought our team has been great. He’s been great for Josh. He’s been great for our offense, and his leadership has stepped up, and we want to see Stef in Buffalo for years to come.”

The move is likely to create more money for the Bills to operate with this offseason. The team entered the week with less than $1 million in available cap space.

Selected by the Vikings in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL draft, Diggs spent the first five seasons of his career in Minnesota and signed a five-year extension with the team in 2018.

His time with the Vikings did not end on the best of terms, and Diggs has been vocal about enjoying being in Buffalo and his connection on and off the field with Allen.

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