Editor’s Note: It’s not often that we start with an Editor’s note, but Week 1 can be crazy. Joel was sick this week, life happens, but he still deserves credit for his well-done article. I have divided this article into Actionable Information and Bragging Rights!
We’re back for Part II of the Blurred Lines Preseason Spectacular. This edition will cover NFC season props and make our picks for the Week 1 games. As much as we think we know the teams going into the season, we really don’t, so we want to lean into the underdogs and grab points as much as we can. There will be time for taking favorites in Week 2 when we have actual information to work with. Also, remember there’s always at least one result in Week 1 that makes no sense in the context of the season in full. Last year, Pittsburgh won at Buffalo, and the Saints destroyed Green Bay in their openers. In 2020, Jacksonville beat Indy in what would be their only win of the season.
Standard Disclaimer – All opinions are my own and may or may not reflect those of this website. “Analytic Lines” are ELO point spreads from fivethirtyeight.com, and “Vegas Lines” are courtesy of thelines.com, current as of the writing of this article. Predicted Line (“PL”) is my early week estimate of where the Vegas line would be set.
Additional Disclaimer – Prop totals are from DraftKings Sportsbook and can vary significantly. If you’re legally wagering, as always, shop around for the best number.
Actionable NFL Week 1 Bets
Kansas City at Arizona – Analytic Line: ARI (+2), Vegas Line: ARI (+6.5), PL: ARI (+6.5)
I’m not sure what Rondale Moore means to this offense throughout the season, but losing him to a midweek injury is a blow to a group already missing DeAndre Hopkins. Although KC might struggle to cover a diverse offense, I doubt they’ll struggle with just Hollywood Brown and the shell of A.J. Green.
Pick: Kansas City (-6.5)
Tampa Bay at Dallas – Analytic Line: DAL (Pick ‘Em), Vegas Line: DAL (+2.5), PL: DAL (+2.5)
I’m with ELO here. This should be a Pick ‘Em line. Ultimately, I think Dan Quinn causes enough confusion to trouble the makeshift Bucs interior offensive line and frustrate Tom Brady. I like both defenses enough to bet the 50.5-point under.
Pick: Dallas (+2.5)
Denver at Seattle – Analytic Line: SEA (+2), Vegas Line: SEA (+6.5), PL: SEA (+7.5)
The oldest rule of thumb in the history of betting on the modern NFL: Beware the home dog on Monday Night!
Pick: Seattle (+6.5)
Tomorrow morning at 11 AM EST, we will be going live to discuss our reactions and overreactions to all of Sunday’s action! Join Us!
Bragging Rights for Joel
Baltimore at New York Jets – Analytic Line: NYJ (+3.5), Vegas Line: NYJ (+6.5), PL: NYJ (+7)
Joe Flacco Revenge Game! My pick for the “Week One Game That Makes No Sense in the Context of the Full Season.” Love the Jets (+240) on the money line. Ravens are a Survivor Pool trap.
Pick: New York Jets (+6.5)
San Francisco at Chicago – Analytic Line: CHI (+3.5), Vegas Line: CHI (+6.5), PL: CHI (+7)
I planned on being all over the Niners in this one, but not having George Kittle is a blow to both the run and passing games. Even if he plays and is limited, it’s enough to get me to lean on the home dog and take the points.
Pick: Chicago (+6.5)
Jacksonville at Washington – Analytic Line: WAS (-5.5), Vegas Line: WAS (-3), PL: WAS (-1.5)
My favorite dog play of Week One. If anyone knows how to stymie Carson Wentz, it’s Doug Pederson. He had a sideline view of it happening for an entire season two years ago. It feels like the ELO is leaning too hard into last year’s Jags.
Pick: Jacksonville (+3)
Indianapolis at Houston – Analytic Line: HOU (+5), Vegas Line: HOU (+7), PL: HOU (+6.5)
I’m skeptical of the Colts being elite this year, so there’s no way I’m laying a touchdown on the road. So another Survivor Pool stay away.
Pick: Houston (+7)
Philadelphia Over 9.5 wins (-155) & (+140) to win the division
First off, no team has repeated as NFC East champs since the Andy Reid/Donovan McNabb/TO-led Eagles of 2004, so Dallas is right out to win the division. Philly is by far the best option of the remaining East teams, so we’ll take plus money on them taking it down. Their schedule is softer than a stick of butter left on the counter in summer. Getting to 10 wins should be a shoo-in. That said, if you believe in Jalen Hurts making the leap, taking them at (+1000) to get to the Super Bowl isn’t unreasonable, either.
Tampa Bay under 11.5 wins (-160)
There’s a lot going on with this team in the preseason, and none of it is good. Tom Brady’s retirement, unretirement, and subsequent extended vacation during training camp; Bruce Arians abdicating the head coaching spot after Brady’s unretirement; Chris Godwin coming off a late-season ACL/MCL tear; perhaps, most importantly, the restructuring/rebuilding of the entire interior offensive line after Ali Marpet retired, Alex Cappa signed with Cincinnati and Ryan Jensen’s knee injury during training camp.
Carolina over 6.5 wins & (+900) to win the division
Say what you want about Baker Mayfield. He’s a massive upgrade over Sam Darnold and a motley crew of sub-replacement backups the Panthers have sent out at QB the last few years. With an underrated defense that should get even better with the return of Jaycee Horn and 3rd-year leap from Derrick Brown, this is my favorite “worst to first” pick for ‘22.
Green Bay over 11 wins (-110)
The Matt LaFleur/Aaron Rodgers duo has never not-won 13 games in a season in three years together. Included in those 39 wins are seven in the seven games played without Davante Adams. The division isn’t tough, the schedule doesn’t appear daunting, and the defense could run out seven first-round draft picks if Davonte Wyatt cracks the D-Line rotation. Considering you don’t even get plus money to take the under, there’s really no good reason to do so.
Minnesota under 9.5 wins (-110)
Everyone expects a dead cat bounce going from Mike Zimmer to Kevin O’Connell. Still, they weren’t exactly bad last year (16th in DVOA on offense and defense per Football Outsiders). The defense is old and has injury issues. Danielle Hunter has played seven games in the last two seasons, Za’Darius Smith is 30 and played 37 snaps surrounding back surgery last year, Jordan Hicks is 30, Eric Kendricks is 30 and hasn’t played an entire season since 2017, Harrison Smith is 33, and I’m pretty sure Patrick Peterson was a rookie during the Cardinals’ final season in St. Louis (citation needed). What’s the over/under on how many games these guys actually all play together? Three? Unless Jalen Reagor is the missing piece to unlocking a historically good offense, I don’t see them exceeding last year’s win total by more than one.
San Francisco over 10 wins (-110) & (+140) to win the division
The best defense and O-Line in the division, and it’s not close. The early season schedule is soft enough to get Trey Lance comfortable and entrenched enough to eliminate any JImmy G scuttlebutt.
Los Angeles Rams under 10 wins (-105)
We haven’t seen repeat Super Bowl champions since 2005, and this team is highly unlikely to break that streak. Think of all the breaks they got along the way to lifting the Lombardi; Green Bay losing in the Divisional round, so the Rams got a home Championship game as a four seed; Jaquiski Tartt dropping what should have been the easiest game-sealing interception of all time in that Championship game; having the Super Bowl in their home stadium; Zac Taylor keeping his best running back on the bench for the most important running play of the season. So a lot went their way. Matthew Stafford’s elbow may or may not be a long-term problem, but losing Andrew Whitworth from an already mediocre offensive line is definitely a problem. The organization’s laissez-faire attitude toward the draft makes them unable to reload instead of rebuild.
We’ll be back next week with all of the Week 2 action you could possibly want, starting with our Waiver Wire article on Tuesday. You can find all of our published work here!