NFL Week 1 is HERE, and we are back with our NFL Week 1 Picks! No purchase required. No gimmicks. Just pure, untainted NFL picks.
It has been a long, hot summer. And we here at Shaving Points Podcast have not stopped thinking about football since the 2021 season ended. The time between the NFL Draft and Week 1 is a peculiar time. The 24/7 “news” cycle never ceases to end, even though nothing seems to be happening. Fans on social media continue their discourse. News gets made from nothing. The NFL flexes their muscles. Clear bombshells get brushed to the side for no apparent reason. The NFL forgets about their muscles. Star players hype up their teammates for “breakout seasons”. The sight of week one always brings a feeling of pure relief for my sore eyes. Because it means that the action is about to start up again and all the speculation and noise is behind us. Welcome, friends, to the 2022 NFL season. All stats for win/loss records, against the spread, and over/under data is sourced from Bet IQ
Bills @ Rams (Thursday Night Football)
Jay loves his home dogs. Get it? His home-dogs? And while he is still all aboard the “the Rams are frauds” train, he likes the Super Bowl champs to win at home in week one. Partially due to the addition of Allen Robinson to their already stout offensive attack. Additionally, Jay thinks that the Over hits in this game at 52 points. That is easy to imagine with these two offenses and adrenaline running high for the first game of the NFL season. Personally though, I am on the Bills money line. According to my model (which is based on 2021 stats), the Bills should be a 4.1-point favorite in this spot.
49ers @ Bears (Sunday at Noon CST)
Another home dog! While Jay is on the Bears +7, I have chosen to take the over in 49ers vs Bears at 41.5 points. Who am I kidding though? We all know I am going to jump on the Bears +7 because I cannot help myself. This game features a showdown between Trey Lance and Justin Fields. Lance went #2 overall in the 2021 NFL draft, while Fields fell to the Bears at the #11 pick. The Bears offense lacks talent, but the hope is that they will be able to overcome that with scheme and a year two jump from their young signal caller. Meanwhile, the 49ers offensive line has three new starters on the inside and all sorts of questions around the QB position. We will see if Trey Lance can silence all the controversy, but I am optimistic that Justin Fields and the Bears make this a fun game to watch.
Browns @ Panthers (Sunday at Noon CST)
The Baker Mayfield revenge game. Never bet against a Baker scorned. That is the main reason why Jay and I are both on the Panthers against the spread here. This is one of three revenge games this weekend (Flacco vs the Ravens; Russ vs the Seahawks). I am interested to see what Carolina can do with some clear talent in the offensive weapons department. The combination of Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore, and Robbie Anderson has always had promise, but never had much at QB. While Baker is not going to be taking any All-Pro votes home with him, he is more serviceable than what the Panther have seen in recent years. Meanwhile, I have questions about the Browns interior defensive line. That could spell a lot of yards on the ground for McCaffrey. On offense, the Browns have solid talent across the board, but the only playmakers are at the RB position. This game will have to be won through Nick Chubb for the Browns.
Buccaneers @ Cowboys (Sunday Night Football)
Last season, the NFL opened with this game in Tampa. Much to my surprise, the Cowboys covered, and nearly won while the total went over. Jay was on it the whole time though. This time around, we are both in on the over at 51 points, while Jay also likes the Cowboys to win. Despite some questions around the Cowboys WR room, I think they still have enough talent between Lamb, Elliott, Pollard, and Schultz to put up some points in this game. On the other side, I never worry about Tom Brady’s ability to put up points. But wait, should I be worried? I think all this stuff is just noise, but we will find out on Sunday night.
Chiefs @ Cardinals (Sunday at 3:25pm CST)
Patrick Mahomes will face off against his college coach for the first time in their NFL careers. I hope that Kliff is showing Kyler film of Mahomes at Texas Tech all week, and just asking him why he cannot do what Pat was doing. You know. Just to build that little brother complex up a little.
Jokes aside, we both like the Cardinals to cover in this game. Since Kliff arrived, Arizona is covering as the underdog at a clip of 67.9%. And as a home dog, they are covering at a 55.6% clip. Arizona has started the season hot for a few years in a row now, and we both think that trend continues in 2022.
Colts @ Texans (Sunday at Noon CST)
In this game, Jay likes the Texans to cover +7, while I like the under at 47 points. The Texans were a feisty team for all of 2021. As underdogs (16-games), they covered 50% of the time and went over 50% of the time. As home dogs (9-games), they covered 55.6% of the time and hit the over 66.7% of the time. However, against the Colts they lost both meetings by 28+ and scored a total of 6 points across those two games (weeks 6 and 13). Additionally, there are two things I know about Lovie Smith:
Rex Grossman, err, Davis Mills is his Quarterback.
He comes off the bus running.
I expect a lot of rush attempts from both sides in this game, and that means a running clock. Which is one of the reasons why I like the under here
Eagles @ Lions (Sunday at Noon CST)
The Detroit Lions were cover MACHINES in 2021. They covered in 64.7% of their games (all as underdogs), and 75% of their home games. Because we never sleep on the Lions, Jay likes Detroit +7 against the Eagles AND the over at 48.5 points. However, I am avoiding this game for a few reasons. The Eagles and Lions both made a lot of changes and upgrades this offseason that I want to see play out before betting on either side.
Additionally, I think the Lions are getting a little extra juice from the market because of hard knocks and their general likability. While I do think they are a much-improved offense, their defense still worries me. I considered the over here, but ultimately chose to avoid this game all together. These two teams did face off in Detroit for week 8 last year, and the Eagles won 44-6.
Packers @ Vikings (Sunday at 3:25pm CST)
The Vikings have been very strong at home since Kirk Cousins arrived in 2018. They have won at home at a clip of 59.4% but have only covered at home 48.4% of the time. The Vikings have only been home dogs 6 times since 2018. While they only won 2 of those games, they did cover four of them. Given the small spread of 1.5 here, the smart thing to bet would be money line. And that is exactly what Jay chose to do, taking the Vikings to win while also taking the under at 47 points. Although both teams have had a penchant for the over in recent years, 2022 could be different. The Packers lack offensive weapons for Rodgers and have one of the most talented defensive units in the league
Patriots @ Dolphins (Sunday at Noon CST)
The Dolphins are favored here by 3.5 points, and that does not sit right with me. I am a fool. Do you want to know why? Because this bet, right here, has burned me in 3 of the last four seasons. Since becoming the Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick is 8-13 straight on the road against Miami. And since 2013, he is 1-7 straight up on the road against the Dolphins. But you know what? I DO NOT CARE. I am still taking the Patriots +3.5.
Across 21 games in Miami since Belichick became head coach, the Patriots have covered +3.5 eleven times. However, in the past decade they have only covered +3.5 four times. This is making my head hurt. I believe that the Patriots are the better team, even with Miami adding Tyreek Hill, Ced Wilson, and Terron Armstead. Mainly because of the QB situation there.
Although, I should mention that Mike McDaniel provides a wildcard factor here. In 2021, the Patriots played against 6 first year head coaches (@ NYJ, @ HOU, vs NYJ, @ LAC, @ ATL, vs JAX. They went 6-0 with an average point differential of 21.8 points. They did not play any games against first-year head coaches in 2020, and because I do not want to muddy up stats with the Brady years, I will leave this at that.
Broncos @ Seahawks (Monday Night Football)
The Russell Wilson revenge game. I am very excited to see this Denver offense take flight. They are a track team. According to their Relative Athletic Score cards:
I do not see how the Seahawks keep up with that offense plus Russell Wilson in this game. Especially once you factor in the revenge game circumstances for Russ. In the Seahawks three games without Wilson in 2021, they went 1-2. In the game that Russ had to exit with injury, the Seahawks lost to the Rams in Seattle by a score of 17-26. I think that opponent is a good comp for the Broncos roster. But we will continue anyways.
In the next game against the Steelers in Pittsburgh, the Seahawks lost 20-23. This Broncos roster has a lot more firepower just because of the difference between Russ and late career Roethlisberger. Then, in New Orleans against the Jameis Winston led Saints they lost by a score of 10-13. And finally, they won a game against the dysfunction rotted Jaguars by a score of 31-7. So, while the Seahawks did cover 3 points against some decent teams in the Steelers and Saints, I do not think those offenses were all that comparable to what Denver is putting on the field to open the 2022 season. I am taking the Broncos to cover -6.5 and might even look for an alternate spread for them to win by 2+ touchdowns.