The Los Angeles Rams host the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night in the NFL's annual Kickoff Game. While L.A. is at home after winning the Super Bowl, the Rams are decided underdogs to open Week 1 of the 2022 season.

After coming up short in the AFC playoffs, the Bills are the preseason Super Bowl favorites. The odds at most sportsbooks favor Buffalo by 2.5 points at Sofi Stadium.

It's not difficult to see why the Bills have such high expectations for the 2022 season. When they last played, Buffalo was as impressive as a team can be in a playoff loss. The Bills were 13 seconds away from reaching the AFC Championship Game before the Kansas City Chiefs made an improbable comeback and won 42-36 in an epic divisional playoff matchup.

Josh Allen performed at an all-time level in the playoffs. The quarterback completed 77.4% of his passes for 637 yards, nine touchdowns, no interceptions and a 149.0 passer rating. Allen added 17 rushes for 134 yards.

If Allen picks up where he left off, the Rams' defense will be in for a serious test. Allen is the MVP favorite after back-to-back seasons of at least 4,400 passing yards, 36 passing touchdowns and six rushing touchdowns.

It remains to be seen how Allen and Buffalo will be impacted by the loss of Brian Daboll. The first-year New York Giants head coach was the Bills offensive coordinator for four seasons. Buffalo had a top-five offense in 2021 and ranked second in total offense two years ago.

Allen will be going up against a star-studded Rams' defense. Three-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald and All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey are back in Los Angeles. Linebacker Von Miller left the Rams for the Bills, but he's been replaced by Bobby Wagner, who has been selected to eight straight Pro Bowls.

Facing some of the NFL's best offenses, the Rams gave up 18.8 points per game during their Super Bowl run.

The Bills had the NFL's No. 1 ranked defense in 2021. The unit should be among the league's best in 2022, but it is likely to take at least a small step back.

Buffalo had no answers for Patrick Mahomes in the divisional playoffs with star cornerback Tre'Davious White sidelined. White will miss the start of the season as he continues his recovery from a torn ACL. Rookie cornerback Kaiir Elam faces a tall task against Cooper Kupp and Los Angeles' high-powered offense in his regular-season debut.

Matthew Stafford finished third in the NFL with 4,886 passing yards and second with 41 touchdowns last season. In his second year with the Rams without the pressure to prove that he can be a winning quarterback, Stafford can be just as good in 2022.

The Rams are not going to be affected by a Super Bowl hangover in Week 1 when they are home underdogs and seemingly no one is picking them to repeat as champions. In the last eight seasons, the Super Bowl champs are 7-1 in Week 1, including a 6-1 record in the Thursday night opener.

Thursday's game starts at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock.

Prediction: Rams over Bills, 27-20

Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams
Aaron Donald #99 celebrates with Los Angeles Rams Owner Stan Kroenke Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium on February 13, 2022 in Inglewood, California. The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images