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2022 NFL Week 1 picks against the spread: Baker Mayfield’s Panthers knock off Browns; Cowboys upset Tom Brady

If Thursday night’s opener is any indication how Week 1 will go, home dogs are in a heap of trouble. Buffalo destroyed the Rams in front of the whole world, flexing some road chalk muscles to kick off the 2022 NFL season. I’m more inclined to expect a little more chaos than Thursday suggested, particularly when there’s so much unknown with a lot of different teams hitting the road as favorites. 

Having said that, I’m picking a Super Bowl matchup between a pair of Week 1 road favorites. My pick this year is Ravens over Eagles, the first ever bird matchup* we’ve seen in a Super Bowl (*according to John Breech, who almost certainly didn’t research it, so let’s not get too aggressive with any fact checking).

People are too low on Baltimore this year, getting a motivated Lamar Jackson and a much healthier roster. John Harbaugh will have this team fully back into the hunt for the No. 1 seed.

As for the Eagles, people are bizarrely against the idea Jalen Hurts can take a leap forward. He’s only 24 years old — it just feels like he’s closer to 30 because of how long he’s been in the general spotlight. Philly is deep on the offensive and defensive lines and upgraded big time at receiver with the A.J. Brown trade. 

The Bills look like justifiable favorites after the opening game, but it’s a long season ahead. 

All NFL odds are via Caesars Sportsbook

NFL Week 1 Picks

Ravens at Jets

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
CBS | Stream: Paramount+ (click here)

Latest Odds:

New York Jets

Joe Flacco revenge game! Did not see this coming when we started prepping for the 2022 season. There’s a chance he’s an upgrade over Zach Wilson, at the very least for this initial Week 1 matchup against Flacco’s old team. Before 2021, Baltimore had a dominant Week 1 run. Even with the overtime loss to the Raiders last year, the Ravens have a +119 point differential in opening weeks since 2018. A lack of a Lamar Jackson contract only helps the Ravens in my opinion. They basically dared him to pull a Flacco and bet on himself. Add in Duane Brown missing at left tackle and this could get ugly for the Jets if Baltimore is in typical Week 1 form. 

The pick: Ravens 35, Jets 13
Props, Best Bets: N/A

Sunday,1 p.m. ET
CBS | Stream: Paramount+ (click here)  

Latest Odds:

Carolina Panthers

Baker Mayfield revenge game! I DID see this coming with Carolina desperate to upgrade at the quarterback position. Given Sam Darnold’s injury, it’s an extremely good thing they did. It might not be great for the Browns — with Deshaun Watson suspended, it’s now Jacoby Brissett or bust. I’m leaning bust, even though the Browns don’t have a bad roster. The Panthers simply have a motivated Baker, a healthy Christian McCaffrey and an upgraded offensive line and should be good enough out of the gate — a la last year — to take down a Watson-less Browns team. 

The Pick: Panthers 24, Browns 17
Bets: Panthers -1.5

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
CBS | Stream: Paramount+ (click here)  

Latest Odds:

Houston Texans

Outrageous stat of the weekend: the Colts haven’t won a Week 1 game since 2013. That’s multiple coaches, multiple quarterbacks, multiple GMs, everything. Just obscene to go almost 10 years without winning a Week 1 game. Houston feels extremely frisky this year, with a bunch of veterans, and the Colts defense should take a step back under Gus Bradley with a questionable secondary. The Texans are probably live to win this game outright. 

The Pick: Texans 24, Colts 21
Bets: Houston +7

Jaguars at Artist Formerly Known as WFT

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
Fox | Stream: fuboTV (click here)  

Latest Odds:

Washington Commanders

The last football game Carson Wentz played was the infamous Week 18 loss to the Jaguars in 2021, preventing the Colts from making the playoffs and launching Jim Irsay’s campaign to run Wentz out of Indy. The NFL schedule makers are a ruthless bunch — Wentz’s first game of 2022 and his new team (with their terrible new name) hosting Jacksonville. The bonus? Wentz’s old coach, Doug Pederson, is at the helm of the Jags now. That upgrade alone makes me love Jacksonville in this spot.  

The Pick: Jaguars 21, AFKAWFT 17
Bets: Jaguars +2.5

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
CBS | Stream: Paramount+ (click here)  

Latest Odds:

Miami Dolphins

Can’t wait for the Dolphins to win by 45 points followed by a full-blown attack in my mentions. I actually can wait for that, but what I can’t wait to see is what the heck the Patriots offense looks like under the direction of Matt Patricia and Joe Judge. Most likely it’ll be Bill Belichick with a heavy hand on the offense, but the whole setup is morbidly intriguing regardless of who’s calling plays. 

The Pick: Patriots 17, Dolphins 14
Bets: Pass

Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET
NBC | Stream: fuboTV (click here)  

Latest Odds:

Dallas Cowboys

It’s doubtful there’s been a team more “sold” by the general public over the last few weeks than the Cowboys. It’s primarily because of the Tyron Smith injury — Dallas is expected to be without its superstar left tackle until at least December. Dak Prescott’s struggled in the past without Smith on the field and it’s not unreasonable to wonder if it causes long-term issues with the offense. Short-term it’s a problem too, but the Cowboys got enough time to prep for this Week 1 game that I think they can surprise a Bucs team dealing with its own litany of injuries on the offensive line. Dan Quinn will likely use Micah Parsons and DeMarcus Lawrence in multiple spots on the field, including the interior, to take advantage of the Bucs injuries and possible pressure on Tom Brady. It’s probably best to wait for kickoff to grab the Cowboys, hoping it gets to +3. 

The Pick: Cowboys 31, Buccaneers 27
Bets: Cowboys +2.5

Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET

Latest Odds:

Seattle Seahawks

This is being billed as the Russell Wilson Revenge Game but I think it’s a bigger motivational matchup for Pete Carroll, who just sent Russ packing in a trade to the Broncos and who would LOVE to let people know Seattle can still win without Russ in town. It won’t be easy, but none of the Seahawks games this year will be “easy” — I’d bet anything Carroll wants to muddle every game this season, turning them into low-scoring slogs. Think 2010 and 2011 Seahawks games when you picture what we’ll get from Seattle this year. The Unders should be great value early on this season for the Seahawks and the offensive machine being led by Geno Smith.

The Pick: Seahawks 21, Broncos 17
Bets: Under 44.5

Other Scores

Saints 24, Falcons 21
Eagles 35, Lions 17
Steelers 24, Bengals 21
49ers 35, Bears 14
Packers 31, Vikings 28
Chiefs 31, Cardinals 24
Chargers 27, Raiders 24
Giants 17, Titans 14