2022 NFL Betting Preview: Predicting the Result of Every Week 1 Matchup

The NFL’s regular season schedule was released on Thursday evening, and it wasn’t long before oddsmakers revealed the lines for every Week 1 football contest.

Here is a betting prediction for each of the 16 matchups on the opening weekend. Odds via DraftKings, as of May 13.

Buffalo Bills (+1) at Los Angeles Rams

Analysis: The NFL season starts with a bang as the Super Bowl favorite Bills face off against the defending champions. Buffalo should be able to put the league on notice by grabbing a win on the road. The Bills’ pass rush has been boosted by the addition of Von Miller, and Los Angeles lost some key offensive linemen this offseason. Buffalo is more well-rounded and is the pick to cover.

Pick: Bills 31, Rams 28

Pittsburgh Steelers (+6.5) at Cincinnati Bengals

Analysis: The Bengals made the Super Bowl last season and got better after beefing up the offensive line in free agency. The Steelers have Mitchell Trubisky or Kenny Pickett at quarterback, but even so, last year’s team still made the playoffs with the ghost of Ben Roethlisberger throwing passes. Pittsburgh’s defense is talented enough to keep this game closer than oddsmakers believe.

Pick: Bengals 24, Steelers 20

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San Francisco 49ers (-6.5) at Chicago Bears

Analysis: The 49ers still have to work out their starting quarterback situation, but whether it’s Trey Lance or Jimmy Garoppolo under center, the talent gap between these teams is extremely wide. San Francisco’s defense is going to eat against Justin Fields, and the offense will eventually score enough to pull away.

Pick: 49ers 23, Bears 13

Cleveland Browns (-3.5) at Carolina Panthers

Analysis: This is a tough one to gauge because it’s unclear if Cleveland quarterback Deshaun Watson will be suspended following 22 accusations of sexual misconduct. Jacoby Brissett is the Browns’ backup and is notably inferior. This seems like a good moneyline play on the Panthers, as they are at home and would pay out at +155 with the upset win.

Pick: Panthers 17, Browns 16

Philadelphia Eagles (-4) at Detroit Lions

Analysis: The Eagles added wide receiver A.J. Brown, edge rusher Haason Reddick and rookie defensive tackle Jordan Davis, among others, so the optimism is deserved heading into the season. But the Lions are better as well this season. I feel like this one is going to be a grind for Philly, which will squeak out a win but will fail to cover.

Pick: Eagles 24, Lions 21

New Orleans Saints (-3.5) at Atlanta Falcons

Analysis: The Saints refuse to rebuild, as they lost some talent in free agency but also added some, and then traded up in the draft to nab wide receiver Chris Olave and tackle Trevor Penning. While it’s unlikely to result in a deep playoff run, they are markedly better than Atlanta and should be able to cover, even if this line is a bit tricky.

Pick: Saints 27, Falcons 20

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Jacksonville Jaguars (+4) at Washington Commanders

Analysis: This is actually a decent amount of respect for the Jaguars, who were awful last year but added some talent this offseason. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence should be better this season, and it wouldn’t be a shock for Jacksonville to start hot against a Washington team that could end up worse than advertised.

Pick: Jaguars 23, Commanders 21

New England Patriots (+3) at Miami Dolphins

Analysis: The Patriots would love to put this game on the left arm of Tua Tagovailoa, but the Dolphins should be able to run the ball and dial up enough easy passes for the offense to get going without stressing him too much. Miami is a very intriguing team after revamping its offense this offseason, and the belief here is that the early returns will be good.

Pick: Dolphins 30, Patriots 23

Indianapolis Colts (-7.5) at Houston Texans

Analysis: Matt Ryan’s debut will come against the worst team in the NFL. It is a great setup, and the Indy defense should be able to dominate a Houston club that did not get much better this offseason. This is the biggest spread of the week and deservedly so. The Colts should cover.

Pick: Colts 34, Texans 19

Baltimore Ravens (-4.5) at New York Jets

Analysis: The Jets are, for some reason, starting to get some buzz. While they have definitely improved, there is still the small problem of Zach Wilson at quarterback. He will face arguably the best secondary in the NFL in the opener and is going to have trouble. Baltimore’s offense should roll against New York, as this line is much too low.

Pick: Ravens 28, Jets 20

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New York Giants (+6.5) at Tennessee Titans

Analysis: The Titans lost A.J. Brown and Julio Jones this offseason but the oddsmakers are still giving them respect. That, or they believe New York is going to be a dumpster fire again. Tennessee is at home but this line seems high. The Giants should keep this one close enough to cover.

Pick: Titans 27, Giants 23

Green Bay Packers (-1.5) at Minnesota Vikings

Analysis: This should be a game that tells us a lot about both teams. The Packers need some help at wide receiver, but I believe they will add a prominent name there in the coming weeks or months. With Aaron Rodgers and a very good defense, Green Bay should have enough to pull out a close win.

Pick: Packers 30, Vikings 27

Kansas City Chiefs (-3) at Arizona Cardinals

Analysis: The Chiefs won’t have Tyreek Hill (traded to Miami) and the Cardinals won’t have DeAndre Hopkins (suspended) for this matchup. Which coach will adapt better? My money is on Andy Reid, who is an elite schematic mind. It also helps to have quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who should take advantage of the Cardinals’ suspect pass-rush and cornerback groups.

Pick: Chiefs 34, Cardinals 27

Las Vegas Raiders (+4) at Los Angeles Chargers

Analysis: The Raiders and Chargers both loaded up over the offseason. The difference in this one is that Los Angeles has the superior quarterback and the home field advantage. Las Vegas should be able to score some points, but the Chargers should be able to put this one away late.

Pick: Chargers 31, Raiders 24

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5) at Dallas Cowboys

Analysis: Two of the best teams in the NFC will face off in an intriguing showdown. The Bucs are the superior team, but this seems to underplay Dallas’ ability to come out on top. Quarterback Dak Prescott had a down season in 2021, but if he bounces back in 2022, it will make up for the personnel losses this offseason. The Cowboys can start off strong by knocking off Tampa Bay in the opener.

Pick: Cowboys 28, Buccaneers 27

Denver Broncos (-4) at Seattle Seahawks

Analysis: Russell Wilson heads back to Seattle, and he will remind the Seahawks why trading him was such a bad idea. The polite quarterback undoubtedly has a mean streak and will want to thrash the Seahawks. I’m certainly not going to bet against it, especially considering Seattle will counter with Drew Lock or Geno Smith at quarterback.

Pick: Broncos 27, Seahawks 19

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