Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports


Why Steve Smith Sr. is hoping for a 49ers-Rams NFL opener

May 3, 2022 at 1:46 PM--


The NFL will release the entire 2022 schedule on May 12. Three days earlier, the matchups and dates of select games will be revealed. One of those will likely be the NFL kickoff game—the first game that kicks off the 272-game slate of matchups.

Typically, the reigning Super Bowl champions will host that first game of the season. That means some team will need to travel to SoFi Stadium to try to hand the Los Angeles Rams an 0-1 start.

Steve Smith Sr. of NFL Media is hoping the visiting team is the San Francisco 49ers. It's certainly a possibility. However, the Rams are also scheduled to host the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, and Seattle Seahawks.

Why does Smith prefer the 49ers over any of those other teams?

"Let's take a quick second to recall the last two times the San Francisco 49ers played the Rams at SoFi," wrote Smith, explaining the selection. "The first was Week 18, when the 49ers came out victorious to secure a playoff berth; the second was the NFC title game, when San Francisco blew a 10-point fourth-quarter lead to send the Rams to the Super Bowl. Let's let one of today's best rivalries duke it out to begin the season."

Three other analysts—Joe Thomas, Marc Ross, and DeAngelo Hall—selected the Buffalo Bills, which makes perfect sense. The Bills are expected to be among the best teams in the NFL and could make for an intriguing interconference opening matchup.

Maurice Jones-Drew wants to see a rematch of the NFC title game between the Rams and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That would have to be a home game for the Bucs, as they are scheduled to host the Rams in 2022. Although, Jones-Drew admits that he is torn between that matchup and 49ers-Rams.

Then, of course, you have David Carr, who selected the Las Vegas Raiders as the opponent, stating, "It has to be the Raiders." Of course, his younger brother, Derek Carr, quarterbacking the team likely influenced his choice.



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