Week one of the 2022 NFL season is officially in the books and it sure was an unpredictable one. I know that because I tried to predict it and I didn’t do a great job, which I also predicted so maybe I am good at some of these predictions (ok, that’s enough of the word ‘prediction’ I promise). So now we are on to week two where we fool ourselves into thinking we have a better understanding of these teams after one crazy week of games. We don’t. Trust me. But that won’t stop me from giving out my picks for each of the 16 games we will get to watch this week, starting with an exceptional primetime matchup and ending with another potential entertaining showdown. (Once again, my pick against the spread is noted by the spread in parentheses next to the team I believe will cover).
Los Angeles Chargers (+4.5) over Kansas City Chiefs
I’m coming out the gates hot on this one. This game has the chance to not only be the best game of the week but maybe even the year. And it will be even better if the Chargers manage to pull off the upset. The Chiefs looked like their same-old offensive juggernaut selves when they whooped the Cardinals last week but it’s the Cardinals. The Chargers are much better than them and will therefore put up much more of a fight. I see this game going down to the wire, hence the Los Angeles spread pick, with one of the two star quarterbacks making a play to win. Both Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert are incredible but it will be the defenses that decide this one. And that is why I am going with the Chargers. They have the better unit on that side of the ball and it may just be good enough to slow down Mahomes and company enough for the offense to get the win, even without Keenan Allen.
Washington Commanders (+1.5) over Detroit Lions
I appreciate what the Lions were able to do in week one by putting up a fight against the Eagles and really making them earn the win, but Detroit should not be favored in this matchup. That roster just isn’t as talented as the Commanders’ roster, and it will show on the field. Washington actually surprised a lot of people, myself included, by beating the Jaguars last week. But Carson Wentz looked like the good version of Carson Wentz, and that version of him can actually win some games. I don’t expect him to be that guy all season but he shouldn’t have too much trouble against a Detroit defense that is still building. I think the Lions will be scrappy on offense and keep this one close like they tend to do but ultimately won’t be able to topple the mighty Commanders on their way to 2-0.
Cleveland Browns (-6.5) over New York Jets
If there is one game to completely forget about on Sunday it would be this one. This game would at least be intriguing if we were getting Deshaun Watson versus Zach Wilson but instead, we get to watch Jacoby Brissett take on Joe Flacco (who needs Mahomes versus Herbert when you have this?). But in all reality, the Browns were able to beat the Panthers last week so they have shown the ability to win games with Brissett under center. This game very likely will not be pretty but the Browns should be able to get the win behind players such as Nick Chubb, Amari Cooper, and Myles Garrett, who are just on a level that the Jets’ players are not.
New Orleans Saints (+2.5) over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I’m sure we have all heard by now that Tom Brady has yet to beat the Saints in the regular season while on the Bucs. I think that streak continues this week when New Orleans pulls off the upset and takes down Tampa Bay. The Bucs didn’t look all that great in their game against the Cowboys, taking way too long to score a touchdown. Tampa Bay can’t play like that if they expect to beat a Saints team that will be very ready for this game. The Saints also didn’t look great at times in their game against the Falcons but the offense showed that it is much more dynamic with Jameis Winston, Michael Thomas, and Chris Olave. Add that offense to a defense that is legitimately very good and that might be the recipe for taking Brady and company. The Bucs are vulnerable right now with injuries all across the offensive line and at receiver with Chris Godwin missing time. New Orleans needs to come into this game aggressively and really take it to the Bucs in order to get the win.
New York Giants (-1.5) Over Carolina Panthers
The Giants actually being favored in a game is crazy but what is even crazier is that I am picking them to win. New York looked energized in Brian Daboll’s first game as coach and it led to them earning the upset over the Titans. Saquon Barkley looks like the old Saquon (which is weird to say for a guy that is 25 years old) and Daniel Jones didn’t look terrible, which is an improvement. On the other hand, the Panthers lost to the Browns and if Baker Mayfield wasn’t going to show out and dominate the team that cast him aside then he may never have a good game ever again. It seems wrong to say that the Giants are the better-coached team but they are and with possibly more talent across the board, New York should be able to take this game.
Pittsburgh Steelers (+2.5) over New England Patriots
Every week there is one betting line that makes no sense and this is the line for week two. Whoever made the Patriots the favorite in this matchup must not have watched the games last week. One of these teams beat the defending AFC Champions while the other looked awful against a team that missed the playoffs. Sure, it took the Steelers getting a million turnovers and still needing overtime to beat the Bengals but they may be able to pick off Mac Jones four times this week too. The Steelers will probably be without T.J. Watt and maybe even Najee Harris, which will certainly make life harder for them, but they could still be the better team without those players. New England’s only chance is for Bill Belichick and the defense to just absolutely stifle Mitch Trubisky, which is very much a possibility. But even then, this game could be a 10-9 Patriots win so the Steelers would still get the cover.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+4.5) over Indianapolis Colts
Did I get burned by picking the Jaguars last week? Yes. Will I let that stop me from picking them again this week? Absolutely not. I am still a big believer in this team so I figure I better back that up by picking them again. Eventually, the wins will come for this team. They already pulled off a much bigger upset over the Colts last year in week 18 so they clearly can beat this team. The Colts are still the favorites to win the division but they didn’t look too good to start the season. Playing to a tie against the Texans isn’t exactly the best way to convince people that you are a good football team. I expect both of these teams to play better this week but Indy could be at a disadvantage if Shaq Leonard doesn’t play again. This game just means more for the Jaguars because they desperately need to get off to a good start in the Doug Pederson era so they are going to come out motivated and get the win.
Baltimore Ravens (-3.5) over Miami Dolphins
The Ravens did what they needed to do in week one, beating the Jets but not necessarily making a statement. This is their chance to do that because the Dolphins look like they can be a pretty formidable team in the AFC this year. The Baltimore secondary, which is very talented, is going to be tested by Miami with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, and Marcus Williams will need to have a big game and maybe pick off Tua Tagovailoa a few times. The Ravens’ offense should be able to score on the Dolphins’ defense but it will be up to Rashod Bateman and week one stud Devin Duvernay to help Lamar Jackson and Mark Andrews put points on the board. A healthy J.K. Dobbins would really help Baltimore stay on the attack on offense but even without him, Kenyan Drake should be competent enough in the backfield. Baltimore is the better team and has legitimate postseason aspirations so they should be the ones to emerge from this victorious, but the Dolphins can certainly play spoiler if the offense can put up some points.
Los Angeles Rams (-10.5) over Atlanta Falcons
Sometimes we just see some teams play weird games in week one and I think both of these teams will be examples of that. There is no way the Rams are actually as bad as they looked against the Bills and the Falcons likely played one of their most competitive games already against the Saints. All eyes will be on Matt Stafford and how he bounces back from that pitiful performance he put up on Thursday. But even if he struggles again, which would be a bad sign going forward, Cooper Kupp may be good enough to win this game by himself. Other players will need to step up on offense even if Stafford plays better, so guys such as Allen Robinson, Darrell Henderson, and Cam Akers should use this matchup as a chance to get back in the groove of things. The Falcons do have Kyle Pitts who is a very young and exciting player but unfortunately, he won’t make much of a difference against a defense with Aaron Donald, Bobby Wagner, and Jalen Ramsey. The Falcons do have a chance to win if the Rams really have taken a step back but since I don’t think that is the case, Los Angeles should get a fairly easy victory.
Seattle Seahawks (+8.5) over San Francisco 49ers
Call this recency bias or me being a homer or whatever, but I think Seattle has a legit shot to win this game. They certainly have a good chance to keep this game within nine points and get the cover. Personally, I am throwing out everything that happened in the Niners game against the Bears and giving the entire team a mulligan but I still think they could struggle against Seattle. The Seahawks’ defense looked really good against Russell Wilson and the Broncos and could have similar success against Trey Lance and the 49ers. With Elijah Mitchell out for an extended period of time and George Kittle still nursing an injury, the San Francisco offense is far from full strength. Lance and Deebo Samuel could just gash the Seahawks on the ground and make this game not even close but the defense should be competent enough to contain them a bit. This game will come down to Geno Smith. He looked good in week one but playing good for one game is a lot easier than doing it for a whole season. If he can keep this game close then the defense has a chance to win it but if he struggles against a good Niners’ defense then this could be a blowout.
Cincinnati Bengals (-7.5) over Dallas Cowboys
I would have picked the Bengals in this game even if Dak Prescott wasn’t out with an injury but the Cowboys having Cooper Rush under center makes this even easier. Dallas looked bad even with Prescott in the game, clearly suffering from issues up front on the offensive line. They also looked like they really missed Amari Cooper, as CeeDee Lamb was ineffective and the rest of the receivers were seeing passes for the first time. The Bengals had a comedy of errors that led to their last-second defeat to the Steelers last week so they will make sure they play a much better game this week. Joe Burrow isn’t going to throw four picks again, so that alone should lead to a double-digit win for the Bengals. This would have been a potentially competitive game if the Cowboys were at full strength but given the current state of the rosters, this game doesn’t figure to be close at all.
Denver Broncos (-9.5) over Houston Texans
Maybe I am a fool for thinking the Broncos can beat any team by 10 points after the way they played last week but I still think this team can be pretty good. I am choosing to believe that week one was an anomaly, with Wilson still getting used to his team and having to play a game in front of a very hostile crowd. Now he gets to face a less talented team in front of his home crowd and should have a lot more success. The Broncos certainly have the weapons to win this game by a lot so as long as Wilson utilizes Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy over Andrew Beck and Eric Saubert, Denver should be fine. The Texans are coming off a very good performance against the Colts where they were able to escape with a tie but I view that game as more of a fluke than an indicator that they can compete in this contest. If the Broncos come out motivated to avoid an 0-2 start and make up for their embarrassing loss last week, there will be nothing the Texans can do but roll over and get out of the way.
Arizona Cardinals (+5.5) over Las Vegas Raiders
Sometimes I just have a gut feeling that a team is going to win a game even though I can’t really justify it and this is one of those games. Something about the Cardinals in this matchup is calling to me so I am picking them to get the win. I do expect them to cover if nothing else because I think these two teams are very close in terms of talent. I expect this game to be a high-scoring affair because both defenses seem pretty inept and the offenses have the talent to light up the scoreboards. I don’t expect Arizona to be able to guard Davante Adams at all with their lackluster secondary but I also don’t expect the Raiders to be able to slow down Kyler Murray with their disappointing defense. I also just find it very hard to have confidence in the Raiders given how bad their offensive line is. When two teams as close as these two play each other, I like to go against the team with the glaring weakness (Raiders’ offensive line), and if I get the points in the process that makes it even better.
Green Bay Packers (-9.5) over Chicago Bears
The Packers could be coming off 10 losses in a row and the spread could be 100 points and I would still take them every time against the Bears. As Aaron Rodgers said himself last year, he owns Chicago and this should be no exception. The Bears do deserve some credit after earning a tough victory over the 49ers last week. Justin Fields looks like he isn’t being totally wasted by the Bears’ organization so there is some hope that it can get better. It just won’t get better this week. Rodgers will benefit greatly from the return of Allen Lazard if he does play this week because the wide receiver group needs some form of stability. The only question is whether the Packers will cover and get the double-digit win, which I think will be the case because Green Bay just has too much talent to lose to this Chicago team.
Buffalo Bills (-9.5) over Tennessee Titans
Normally, week one is full of a lot of failing to live up to expectations. Some teams need a little while to get everything working before they look like the best versions of themselves. That was not the case for the Bills. They looked absolutely fantastic as they throttled the Rams and proved that they are deservedly the favorites to win the Super Bowl this year. The Titans, on the other hand, lost a game to the Giants, which is all you need to know to figure out how their season is starting. I do believe that Tennessee will be a solid team this year but going from losing to the Giants to beating the Bills is the sort of change that happens over time, not one week. Buffalo also has three more days of rest than Tennessee, which is going to make this matchup even more unfair. Eventually, somebody will be able to stop Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, Gabriel Davis, and the rest of the Bills but it certainly won’t be the Titans on Monday.
Minnesota Vikings (+1.5) over Philadelphia Eagles
My motto is when I believe either team could feasibly win the game, go with the one getting the points so that is why I am picking the Vikings here. Each team had good performances last week that should inspire confidence going forward but I believe Minnesota is the better team right now. They beat the Packers by 16 while the Eagles beat the Lions by three. This should be an incredibly competitive, back-and-forth contest between two teams that are hoping to make the playoffs, though, This is going to be a real test for the Philly defense and should show what that group is capable of. Justin Jefferson is going to challenge Darius Slay and James Bradberry while Dalvin Cook and the run game is going to test the front seven. If the Eagles’ defense passes that test then it will be a very good sign going forward. I still have some concerns about the Minnesota defense but I believe in the offense so much that I think they can give up a few scores to Jalen Hurts and A.J. Brown and still get the victory.