Welcome to my NFL week 1 point spread picks. It is the inaugural week of the 2022 NFL season and I am back with my weekly column. I will bring you my picks against the point spread for each week of the season and the playoffs. If you want to see my past performance you can do so here. My career record for the last eight NFL seasons is 1153-1003. That is a 53.5% winning percentage. On the site that I play on I rank 2 out of 4505 participants in that time frame. The season’s first few weeks are some of the hardest to predict. After the first few weeks of the season, I will analyze trends of how teams are doing against the spread and how they are performing at home and on the road.
Thursday, September 8th
Buffalo Bills @ Los Angeles Rams Line: Bills by 2 1/2
The Rams were the favorites when this line was first posted. Since then the line has been heavily betted in the Bills favor. Buffalo is the current betting favorite to win the Super Bowl, however, I don’t think this will be an easy game for the Bills to cover. They have to travel across the country and win by at least 3 points against the defending Super Bowl champions.
NFL Week 1 Pick: Rams
Sunday, September 11th
New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons Line: Saints by 5 1/2
The Falcons shipped their captain QB, Matt Ryan, to the Colts in the offseason and now have Marcus Mariota to guide the ship. The Saints appear to be improved this season. Their defense should be one of the top three in the league. Saints QB Jameis Winston has all of the tools he needs with the return of WR Michael Thomas and the addition of Jarvis Landry through free agency. New Orleans will also lean heavily on first-round pick Chris Olave in the passing game.
NFL Week 1 Pick: Saints
Cleveland Browns @ Carolina Panthers Line: Panthers by 2 1/2
I’m surprised the Panthers are only favored by 2 1/2 points here. Cleveland is in disarray after foolishly trading with the Houston Texans to acquire Deshaun Watson to be their quarterback of the future in the offseason. I believe that Carolina is going to surprise a lot of people with their play this season. Baker Mayfield will get his revenge on the Browns in this game.
NFL Week 1 Pick: Panthers
San Francisco 49ers @ Chicago Bears Line: 49ers by 6 1/2
The Bears are the only team that has never had a quarterback pass for 4,000 yards in a season. They are also the only franchise to never have a QB throw for 30 TD passes. For the Bears to have a successful season they will need Darnell Mooney to keep progressing towards being a top 10 wide receiver. They will also need Justin Fields to prove that he is going to be a top 10 quarterback. This is also not your typical “Monsters of the Midway” Bears defense. It looks like they could be one of the worst in the league this season. There are many questions surrounding second-year 49ers QB Trey Lance as well but he has a much better-receiving corps and a vastly superior defense to back him up.
NFL Week 1 Pick: 49ers
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals Line: Bengals by 6 1/2
The Bengals almost brought home their first Super Bowl title last season. The Steelers have moved on from retired future hall of fame QB Ben Roethlisberger to Mitchell Trubisky and rookie Kenny Pickett. This might be a very challenging year for Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin.
NFL Week 1 Pick: Bengals
Philadelphia Eagles @ Detroit Lions Line: Eagles by 3 1/2
The Eagles should be competing with the Dallas Cowboys for the NFC East division title this season. They have upgraded at the wide receiver position by adding A.J. Brown. This will be Jalen Hurts’ chance to prove that he belongs in the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks. The Lions should be improved this season but I believe that the Eagles will win and cover the spread.
NFL Week 1 Pick: Eagles
Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans Line: Colts by 7 1/2
The Texans are another team that should be marginally improved over last season. Davis Mills looked better than expected as a rookie quarterback. Dameon Pierce had a very good preseason as well. The Colts managed to snag QB Matt Ryan away from the Atlanta Falcons. Indianapolis is hoping that Ryan still has some gas left in the tank. I think the Colts will win this one but by less than the point spread.
NFL Week 1 Pick: Texans
New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins Line: Dolphins by 2 1/2
The Miami Dolphins went all out in adding many key players to their offense in the offseason. They added wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Cedrick Wilson Jr. The Dolphins also added running backs, Raheem Mostert and Chase Edmonds. The weapons should aid the development of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. I’m not sold that Mac Jones is the second coming of Tom Brady for the Patriots. This season will tell if I am correct in that assessment.
NFL Week 1 Pick: Dolphins
Baltimore Ravens @ New York Jets Line: Ravens by 6 1/2
It is still unknown whether Zach Wilson will be able to start at quarterback this weekend for the Jets. If he is unable to go then Joe Flacco will get the call for New York. This season, Baltimore should be competing with Cincinnati for the AFC North division title. The Ravens should also have another solid defense and should cover this spread.
NFL Week 1 Pick: Ravens
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Washington Commanders Line: Commanders by 3 1/2
The Jaguars are my pick for my most improved team this year. They have added a solid coach, a number one receiver in Christian Kirk, and will get Travis Etienne back on the field. Etienne missed all of his rookie season with a Lisfranc injury to his foot. The Commanders will hope that Carson Wentz can adjust to his third new offense in the last three years.
NFL Week 1 Pick: Jaguars
New York Giants @ Tennessee Titans Line: Titans by 5 1/2
The Giants are going to need Daniel Jones to improve drastically if they hope to compete for the playoffs this season. The Titans are hoping that running back Derrick Henry can bounce back from the foot injury that caused him to miss half of last season. The Giants are also hoping that RB Saquon Barkley will be able to shake off his lingering injuries and return to his dominant play.
NFL Week 1 Pick: Titans
Kansas City Chiefs @ Arizona Cardinals Line: Chiefs by 3 1/2
The Chiefs have the toughest strength of schedule this season according to Pro Football Focus. They also have lost their top wide receiver Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins. If they still manage to win the difficult AFC West then they will be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs. Arizona will have to manage for six games without suspended wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
NFL Week 1 Pick: Cardinals
Las Vegas Raiders @ Los Angeles Chargers Line: Chargers by 3 1/2
The Raiders acquired wide receiver, Davante Adams, from the Green Bay Packers in the offseason. The Chargers will be hoping that wide receiver Mike Williams can be dominant instead of streaky. Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert is already a star in the NFL after his first three seasons and he might be leading the Chargers to an AFC West division title this season.
NFL Week 1 Pick: Chargers
Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings Line: Packers by 1 1/2
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will now have to rely on Allen Lazard as their number one wide receiver. He showed flashes of brilliance last season and if Aaron Rodgers trusts him then he should have a huge season. The Vikings will need quarterback Kirk Cousins to consistently produce in the red zone if Minnesota stands a chance of upending Green Bay for the NFC North title this season.
NFL Week 1 Pick: Packers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Dallas Cowboys Line: Buccaneers by 1 1/2
Both of these teams are coming into this season with question marks. Is Tampa Bay’s offensive line going to be able to protect Tom Brady? Will the Buccaneers defense look as good on the field as it does on paper? Will Dallas have enough at wide receiver with the injuries to James Washington and Michael Gallup? Does running back Ezekiel Elliott have another great season in him for the Cowboys? I think that Tom Brady will do what he always does when others doubt him: win.
NFL Week 1 Pick: Buccaneers
Monday, September 12th
Denver Broncos @ Seattle Seahawks Line: Broncos by 6 1/2
Quarterback Russell Wilson gets to play his former team in his very first game away from Seattle. The Seahawks appear to be rebuilding after jettisoning Wilson to Denver. Geno Smith will have to be at least an average NFL quarterback for Seattle to have a chance at mediocrity this season. If he doesn’t perform better than expected then Seattle may be one of the worst teams in the league this season.
NFL Week 1 Pick: Broncos