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NFL Week 1 Predictions and Picks Against the Spread

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Welcome back, faithful readers. The 2022 NFL season begins this week. With the return of football comes the return of The Big Lead's weekly picks and predictions, courtesy of Liam McKeone and Kyle Koster. The two posted an overall record of 133-119 through the regular season and playoffs last year and they look to capitalize on their success in Year 2.

Without further ado, here are our Week 1 picks and predictions (all odds via WynnBet).

RAMS (+2.5) over BILLS

The sheer disrespect of making the defending Super Bowl champions an underdog at home is galling. It sort of feels as thought everyone is taking crazy pills and forgot what we just saw from Matthew Stafford and Aaron Donald, two veterans who decided they'd had enough and climbed the mountain. Plus, if there's one quarterback capable of drinking celebratory beer without fear of a rough next morning, it's Stafford. Stuff is like water to him. Josh Allen and the mighty Bills offense may follow through on promises to score 5 gazillion points this year but let's not forget that Week 1 has never arrived on the heels of a more meaningless preseason. Hammer the under and trust the home team to win even if there are more visiting fans in attendance. Rams 23, Bills 20

SAINTS (-5.5) over FALCONS

Jameis Winston is somehow only 28 years-old and has another opportunity to lead a team. He's been quite good in this career and maturing past some of the silly turnovers could make him a viable playoff option should the Saints exceed expectations. To do that they'll have to beat up on the listless Falcons whose plans to make the entire plane out of Kyle Pitts were shot down by the league. No problem. Saints 26, Falcons 17

BEARS (+7) over NINERS

You know what's crazy? It feels like the Chicago Bears are actively trying to make Justin Fields hate playing football and yet they have a more shored-up quarterback situation than the Niners. Trey Lance is going to play, and Jimmy G will be there and Kyle Shanahan has proved he doesn't even need someone to throw the football to win, but damn. We'd like to see how this whole thing is going to work before we feel comfortable laying a touchdown. Niners 23, Bears 20

BENGALS (-6.5) over STEELERS

The only way Pittsburgh is salvaging this season is by playing a hologram of Jack Pearson from This Is Us at quarterback and all indications are that it isn't happening. Cincy is going to take great joy in beating the pants off their rival. Bengals 38, Steelers 20

LIONS (+4) over EAGLES

Philly has been picking up Super Bowl buzz. In this economy. But they have a fatal flaw and it's having an ass cheek. Lions 30, Eagles 24

DOLPHINS (-3) over PATRIOTS

TuAnon will finally get a chance to spread some propaganda nationwide as the sophomore quarterback looks around and sees two elite vertical targets at his disposal. Meanwhile this Patriots offseason has reeked of watching a History Channel documentary on how great civilizations crumble. When you go through the rosters of these teams, it's just clear Miami is better and they have homefield advantage. Brace for cranky-ass Bill Belichick. Dolphins 27, Patriots 10

JETS (+7) over RAVENS

Every Opening Weekend there's a perplexing result and the Lamar Jackson thing is a bit weird. It seems too easy to expect Baltimore to go in there and dominate. So we zag. Ravens 35, Jets 31

COMMANDERS (-3) over JAGUARS

Carson Wentz gets an opportunity to make a solid first impression against an equally listless franchise. God damn does it ever feel good to have atrocious 1p.m. games that RedZone will mostly ignore back in our lives. Ron Rivera has done yeoman's work keeping the trains running even as everything veers off-track and should be commended. Trevor Lawrence will eventually look like the No. 1 pick — just not in Week 1. Commanders 20, Jaguars 14

PANTHERS (-2) over BROWNS

Baker Mayfield need not wait long to exact his revenge, and with a healthy Christian McCaffrey, he'll do just that. This line is juicy because it seems to undersell how bad the Browns are going to be without Deshaun Watson. Jacoby Brissett is a fine backup and a bad starter behind an average offensive line. Nick Chubb can only help so much. It won't be a blowout but it won't be close. Panthers 24, Browns 14

COLTS (-8) over TEXANS

There is reason to be concerned about Matt Ryan growing pains under Frank Reich and the overall lack of weapons the Colts have at their disposal at wideout. But Indy could just give the ball to Jonathan Taylor 25 times and win by a few scores. The Texans should put up a better fight than expected. It'll still be a victory in moral only for Lovie Smith's squad. Colts 31, Texans 20

GIANTS (+5.5) over TITANS

Derrick Henry will be back to his old self but the loss of AJ Brown will impact this offense more than anticipated. The Giants are not a good team, but Brian Daboll is a good coach who will pull out all the stops to earn his first win. It won't work, but it'll give the defending No. 1 seed in the AFC a heart attack as it all comes down to a last-second field goal. Titans 24, Giants 21

VIKINGS (+2) over PACKERS

This is a tempting upset pick and for good reason. The Vikings replaced their offensive system in hiring Kevin O'Connell but return all the important pieces at skill positions. The Packers lost their top wideout and didn't do a lot to replace him, instead relying on the skills of Aaron Rodgers to elevate a subpar receiving core. He'll be able to do that in the long run, but in the short run, it'll be a trial by fire that Minnesota will take advantage of. Vikings 30, Packers 24

CHIEFS (-4.5) over CARDINALS

The Chiefs did lose Tyreek Hill but still have a variety of other quality options at their disposal and Andy Reid is a savant when it comes to scheming players open. He also has a tendency to break out the fancy stuff in Week 1 to great effect. The Cardinals are missing Deandre Hopkins for the first six games of the year and his absence will be felt. It feels probable Patrick Mahomes will strike early and often, forcing Arizona to become one-dimensional in a doomed comeback attempt. Chiefs 34, Cardinals 23

CHARGERS (-3) over RAIDERS

The first of many AFC West slugfests this season, these two teams are fairly evenly matched. However, our belief is that the Chargers' offseason additions on the defensive side of the ball will make their impact known immediately. Chargers 33, Raiders 27

COWBOYS (+1.5) over BUCS

Vegas clearly didn't know what to do with this one. On the one hand, the Cowboys will be in Dallas and should boast an electric offense to go along with a ball-hawking defense for a second year in a row. On the other hand, they're playing Tom Brady. Yet Brady has had quite the bizarre offseason and just took two weeks off from camp. How much will it affect him? Enough to drop the season opener. It'll be a great game for ratings, though. Cowboys 30, Bucs 27

BRONCOS (-6) over SEAHAWKS

ESPN enjoys a tremendous storyline for the first MNF matchup of the year, but that's where the buck stops in terms of quality. Seattle is terrible and will be starting Geno Smith against Russell Wilson in a Denver offense loaded with weapons. This one will be over by halftime as Seahawks fans watch sadly. Broncos 37, Seahawks 14

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