NFL Week 1 (’22): Picks & Predictions

I already talked about that show a good amount on two different podcast articles and the Buffalo recap I write every week, so I won’t get into that again but it’s nice to start the season 1-0 on picks. I didn’t get the final score, but I hit the pick, had the Bills covering, and landed the under which is a rare trifecta.

I finished 175-96-1 (64.3%) overall last season and Christen finished 161-107-1 (59.8%), both a bit down from the previous year, bringing our two-year totals to 353-172-2 (66.9%) and 323-198-2 (61.7%) respectively. We are by no means aces, but those solid percentages and we are going to compete against my dog Ridley as well this year. Unfortunately, I am 99.9% sure I got sick at the Bills/Rams game. So, this will be a very abbreviated run down but you can check out the audio version of this below.

(-230) New Orleans Saints at (+190) Atlanta Falcons (+5.5, O/U 43)

The Saints get Jameis Winston and Michael Thomas back this season and it appears as though Alvin Kamara will not serve any suspension. The Falcons have a new-look team as well with Marcus Mariota at QB and rookie Drake London at WR to complement Kyle Pitts, but they won’t have Calvin Ridley who is suspended for the whole year on some dome gambling fiasco. Go figure. I do think Atlanta will improve and I like Arthur Smith as the coach, but it’ll still take time to figure out who they are now. The Saints already know that and they need to strike while the iron’s hot.

Pick: NO | ATS: NO -5.5| O/U: Under 43

(-300) San Francisco 49ers at (+250) Chicago Bears (+7, O/U 40.5)

The Trey Lance era begins Sunday morning in Chicago and in a lot of ways it’s the start of the Justin Fields era as well. Both these QBs were drafted in the same year and are both getting the keys to the team in the second seasons, but it looks like Lance will have a lot less slack to work with as the 49ers couldn’t find a suitor for Jimmy G and wound up re-signing him and putting him on the bench behind the “break in case of emergency” glass. The Niners’ vaunted defense is dealing with some secondary injuries, because what else is new, but their front seven is still ready to rock. The Bears lost their defensive identity as both Akiem Hicks and Khalil Mack left for greener pastures and it’ll take time to get that together. I see SF being too much.

Pick: SF | ATS: SF -7 | O/U: Over 40.5

(+240) Pittsburgh Steelers at (-290) Cincinnati Bengals (-7, O/U 44.5)

I know the Bengals went to the Super Bowl last year season and people are high on them for the right reasons, and they beat the Steelers twice last season but I know Mike Tomlin remembers that too. The Ben Roethlisberger era has given way to Mitch Trubisky under center with Kenny Pickett waiting in the wings. Whether or not that opens the offense up effectively remains to be seen, but you’ve gotta think they can attempt some passes that just weren’t in the playbook for Ben. Their defense also looks better with the addition of Larry Ogunjobi opposite Cameron Heyward and the additions of Myles Jack and Levi Wallace behind them. I don’t know that Cincy got better, although I assume they did (at least a little), but I know the Steelers did. They will also be playing for the memory of their teammate Dwayne Haskins who died tragically in the offseason. I saw the 7-point spread and already thought it was too big, but I have started to think PIT just wins the game outright.

Pick: PIT | ATS: PIT +7 | O/U: Over 44.5

(-220) Philadelphia Eagles at (+180) Detroit Lions (+5, O/U 48.5)

I guess the Eagles are the new sexy pick to take over the NFC because I have been hearing a lot about that during the offseason. The additions of A.J. Brown, to help the offense, and James Bradberry, to help what was already a Top-10 defense. were both good signings and early reports looks like Jalen Hurts has cleaned up some weaknesses. I’m excited to see them play, but the same goes for the Lions who brought in one of my favorite players in D.J. Chark and get D’Andre Swift and T.J. Hockensen back healthy. I see Detroit making a pretty substantial improvement on their 3-13-1 mark last year, but the Eags are further along and should take care of business.

Pick: PHI| ATS: PHI -5| O/U: Under 48.5

(+155) New England Patriots at (-180) Miami Dolphins (-3.5, O/U 46)

Miami is one of the new sexy picks in the AFC and they certainly got more explosive with the additions of Tyreek Hill and Chase Edmonds. The pressure is going to be on Tua to live up to the hype now because he has weapons around him, but the team acquired Teddy Bridgewater for a reason too. New England lost both matchups to Miami last season. That has to irk Belichick and he won’t be playing against one of his disciples this time as rookie head coach Mike McDaniel is trying to jump-start a new era in South Florida. Between the teams, Miami go more talented but former Dolphin DeVante Parker is now a Patriot and I think NE finds a way to edge this one early against the new coach.

Pick: NE | ATS: NE +3.5 | O/U: Over 46

(-330) Baltimore Ravens at (+225) New York Jets (+7, O/U 44)

The Lamar Jackson drama has been in full swing the whole offseason and it’s not resolved yet. That’s not what you wanted if you are Baltimore and Jackson risking his health for the team doesn’t seem like something he is going to want to do. It’s a weird curveball in a game where they are favored by 7-points. Another interesting wrinkle is Joe Flacco starting for an injured Zach Wilson against the guy who replaced him in Lamar Jackson, so there will be something to prove. The Ravens are dealing with injuries of their own but it looks like Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey are good to go after losing all of last year. Hollywood Brown departed too, so this could be a very different Ravens team but John Harbaugh is a good coach and I trust that more than anything.

Pick: BAL | ATS: NYJ +7| O/U: Under 44

(+125) Jacksonville Jaguars at (-145) Washington Commanders (-3, O/U 44)

The Urban Meyer saga is over in Jacksonville so they get a new lease on life with Doug Pederson stepping in as the head coach. Still though, this was one of the worst teams in the league for the fourth year in a row and that doesn’t change overnight. I expect they finish better than 3-14, and Trevor Lawrence should improve a decent amount, but Washington is more ready to perform now. Say what you will about Carson Wentz, and I certainly have, but he is an upgrade at QB for the Commanders. The Brian Robinson shooting was very sad and unfortunate for a young man who had really played well in the preseason. Fortunately for Washington, Antonio Gibson knows the job but I am excited to see Curtis Samuel healthy. It wasn’t as good as the year prior, but the Commanders’ defense is still better than the Jags’.

Pick: WSH | ATS: WSH | O/U: Under 44

(Even) Cleveland Browns at (-120) Carolina Panthers (-1, O/U 42)

It’s the Baker Bowl! This is going to be a super weird game for both Baker Mayfield as the starter for Carolina and the visiting Browns. You bet your butt that this is a big game for Baker and the Panthers are going to do everything in their power to get Baker that W. In the meantime, Jacoby Brissett is no slouch and CLE still has Nick Chubb, a strong O-ling, and a good defense that knows Mayfield well. Plus they added Amari Cooper in the offseason to spark the passing game. I know the feel-good pick and story is Baker and company getting that W, but I still have to lean Browns. It’s a close spread for a reason

Pick: CLE | ATS: CLE +1 | O/U: Over 42

(-340) Indianapolis Colts at (+270) Houston Texans (+7, O/U 45.5)

The Colts are going through veteran QBs at an alarming rate and best-case scenario they get, what, 2-years of a solid Matt Ryan. Is he an upgrade from Wentz, yeah probably, but not a big one, and neither was better than Philip Rivers. Houston used the divining Ty-rod (Taylor) to find their new starter and Davis Mills had a solid rookie season. Houston will be better this season but they did lose to the Colts both times last year by a combined score of 62-3. Yikes! I feel like the Colts should be better in all phases, but Dameon Pierce will be interesting to watch against a solid but not elite defense. Hopefully, Ryan can shake out the cobwebs and not blow any 4th quarter leads. Just let Jonathan Taylor go to work and I’ll be happy.

Pick: IND | ATS: IND -7 | O/U: Under 45.5

(+245) New York Giants at (-245) Tennessee Titans (-5.5, O/U 44)

The Giants are a talented team and they are healthy. So, there is no slacker for Daniel Jones here. Saquon is back to full health and Jones has his full arsenal of receivers. The G-Men are dealing with some injuries on the D-line and linebacker levels and that is not a good thing when King Henry is on the other side of the line. Roger Saffold left Tennessee to join the Bills in the offseason so it’ll be curious to see how effective the Titans’ run game is. Their run defense was great last season and helped carry them to the No. 1 seed in the AFC, so Danny Dimes is going to have to win this game with his arm at some point. Even with Brian Daboll as the head coach for NYG, rookie head coaches don’t have it easy, and starting on the road against a proven team is a tall order. I would like to see the Giants cover, but I won’t bet on it.

Pick: TEN | ATS: TEN -5.5 | O/U: Over 44

(-110) Green Bay Packers at (-110) Minnesota Vikings (Even, 46.5 O/U)

Photo Credit: USA Today

When I first looked at this game during the podcast, Green Bay was favored on the road and I was all over Minnesota with that line. Clearly, others were too because it’s a pick ’em game now with even money odds. Za’Darius Smith jumped ship from GB to MIN to help improve a unit that was bad last season, and he gets to play his old team twice as a result. I like the talent on the Minny side of things better, but the best player on the field will be wearing number 12 for the Packers. Aaron Rodgers is enigmatic and I am curious to see what he does without his safety blanket Davante Adams, but the path to the NFC North crown is finally open a bit more and Minny needs to seize that opportunity.

Pick: MIN | ATS: MIN | O/U: Over 46.5

(-275) Kansas City Chiefs at (+225) Arizona Cardinals (+6.5, O/U 54)

I am not a Kyler Murray believer and he doesn’t produce at a great level without DeAndre Hopkins on the field and we saw that down the stretch last season. They are also dealing with injuries to Rondale Moore and a gimpy Zach Ertz, plus they lock Christian Kirk to free agency, so it’s up to the reliable but aging A.J. Green and the newly acquired Marquise Brown. Oh yeah, J.J. Watt is also injured already and Chandler Jones got out of dodge too. Murray is an exciting talent, but I haven’t seen what I would need to see out of him yet to give him the edge here and we’ll see what all that guaranteed money does to his head. Chiefs should cruise.

Pick: KC | ATS: KC -6.5 | O/U: Under 54

*(+150) Las Vegas Raiders at (-175) Los Angeles Chargers (-3.5, O/U 52)*

Photo Credit: Sporting News

This one has the makings of the best game of the week. Both teams went to work in the offseason with the Raiders bringing in a new coach and Belichick disciple, Josh McDaniels. They also added the aforementioned Chandler Jones who will be a beast in that defense opposite Maxx Crosby. Los Angeles was not to be outdone in that department by bringing in Khalil Mack to team up with Joey Bosa. Both of those are nasty pass rush tandems. The Bolts are another one of those sexy new AFC picks but I have questions about their gameplay philosophy after they lost key games to poor decision-making. Derek Carr gets to play with his college buddy Davante Adams and that already dangerous passing attack should really flourish. This is closer than a 3.5-point game and these teams split two close ones last year for a reason. I’m torn, but I kept hearing whispers of Raiders in my mind, so I will roll with it.

Pick: LVR | ATS: LVR +3.5 | O/U: Over 52

(-140) Tampa Bay Buccaneers at (+120) Dallas Cowboys (+2.5, O/U 50.5)

Photo Credit: USA Today

In a rematch of last year’s season-opener, the Bucs take on the Cowboys. With all of Tom Brady’s offseason personal drama, this could be a situation where Tampa is just not ready to go in Week 1. They know they don’t need it, and they haven’t had a full off-season workload together. It does look like Chris Godwin and Russell Gage are good to go, but probably a but limited. I’ll be watching the tight-end snaps closely as I have a lot of stock in those three guys on TB. It’s hard for me to imagine that Dallas got better by losing Amari Cooper, but you never know. Ezekiel Elliot is supposedly back to full strength and ready to rock but you don’t run on Tampa and the Bucs added Akiem Hicks on the new-look D-line as well. I think there is room for Pollard to do well but CeeDee Lamb is going to have to have a big one against a very handy Bucs secondary. I can’t go against TB12 here, but if there was a game to get him out of sync, this could be the one.

Pick: TB | ATS: TB -2.5 | O/U: Over 50.5

(-280) Denver Broncos at (+230) Seattle Seahawks (+7, O/U 44)

Photo Credit: Clutch Points

Russell Wilson returns to Seattle in Week 1 and it’s the last game of the Week on Monday night. I don’t think the Seahawks will be as bad as many people predict after Wilson’s departure, but they were definitely better with him. Russ gets a chance for a fresh start and Denver had the better defense as well, so you’d think they should win. However, nobody knows Wilson’s tendencies better than Pete Carroll and it’ll be closer than it looks on paper.

Pick: DEN | ATS: SEA +7 | O/U: Over 44

I know it’s way late in the game to put this out and I will try to do better.

Thanks for reading! I still believe word of mouth is the best way to help, so if you enjoy what I’m doing, please tell somebody. And if you have a comment, I’d love to hear it! Liking, subscribing, and sharing go a long way too. And, as usual, be well, stay safe, and Go Bills!