Christmas morning is here and NFL Sundays are officially back. Team Degenerate got off to a good start on Thursday with the CeeDee Lamb over receiving yardage victory and the Bucs pushing on the first leg of our teaser. Without anything else to recap, let’s get right into Week 1.
Green Bay Packers (-3.5) at New Orleans Saints
When all the Aaron Rodgers was going on during the summer this was a line that sat at -3 in favor of New Orleans. No matter who was playing quarterback for New Orleans that was questionable, and now that would have been insane value to be holding right now.
The Packers caught a big break with this being a neutral site game, as no team took more advantage of not playing in front of a hostile crowd than Green Bay last year. There are a couple of trends that favor the Packers here. New Orleans has been notorious for slow starts and is just 4-17 ATS in the first two weeks of the season dating back to 2010. Green Bay has been the opposite and has won its last six season openers and is 5-1 ATS.
The Saints are a team I was looking to fade regardless, but especially since they have been displaced due to Hurricane Ida. It’s a roster that has more holes than usual, especially at the skill positions. In addition to Michael Thomas and David Onyemata already being out, Marcus Lattimore was a late add to the injury report as questionable. Even if he plays, Aaron Rodgers should be able to carve up the weak New Orleans corners in a similar fashion to the way he did at Minnesota to open the season last year.
Pick: Packers -3.5 3 units
Washington Football Team (-1) over Los Angeles Chargers 2 units
The Washington Football team is the most underrated team in the NFL headed into Week 1. Not only do I believe they win the NFC East again, but that they also win at least one playoff game. This will be a team I’m looking to play on early. If Ryan Fitzpatrick plays at the level he did last year for Miami this will be a dangerous squad.
This line is way off even as my calculated line would be Washington -4. The Chargers have almost an entirely new offensive line, and Washington is not the pass rush you want to face when you’re building continuity. Ron Rivera will also have the experience edge against Brandon Staley, who will be making his debut as a NFL head coach.
Cleveland Browns (+6) over Kansas City Chiefs 1 unit
The Browns are another team I feel is underrated and I will be looking to play on. The defense should be much improved with the additions of Malik Jackson, Jadeveon Clowney, John Johnson III, Grew Newsome and Greedy Williams and Grant Delpit coming back from injuries.
Cleveland should be able to keep the Kansas City offense off the field behind the running game of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Willie Gay being out at MLB for the Chiefs should only help that cause. The Chiefs have a new starter at every spot on the offensive line, which will likely create continuity issues early in the season. The loss of Sammy Watkins is also underrated with not much depth behind Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. If either go down this season the Chiefs could be in some trouble.
Buffalo Bills -6.5 over Pittsburgh Steelers 1 unit
Pittsburgh is a team I’m down on this season and it starts up front with their offensive line, which should still be pitiful. Their lack of depth in the secondary is a bad matchup against Buffalo, which won eight of their last nine games last year by double digits.
Los Angeles Rams -7.5 over Chicago Bears 2 units
A large favorite that is backed in a big way by the public bettors is not a team I usually back, but there is no reason the Rams should not blow out the Bears and this spread should really be in double-digit territory. The Rams have both a huge coaching and roster edge.
I would reckon not many Chicago players are thrilled with the clearly inferior Andy Dalton starting. Eddie Goldman has already been ruled out with an injury and Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn are both questionable. The cornerback group is awful after Jaylon Johnson, and the Chicago defense is supposed to be their strong point. An immobile Dalton behind the porous Bears offensive line against Aaron Donald and company is a recipe for disaster.
Michael Pittman over 47.5 yards 2 units
Seattle’s secondary is still awful and with no T.Y. Hilton I expect Pittman to break out as the No. 1 receiver
Myles Gaskin over 17.5 receiving yards 2 units
Gaskin exceeded this number in nine of 10 games he played last year and should be the lead back for Miami this year
Tee Higgins over 57.5 receiving yards 1 unit
The Vikings should still be vulnerable to the pass with a poor secondary and Higgins hit this number in 7/9 games with Joe Burrow last year
Terry McLaurin over 67.6 receiving yards 1 unit
Scary Terry has been a beast since he stepped into the league with awful quarterback play and now gets an upgrade with Fitzpatrick. This is too low a number for one of the game’s best receivers
DK Metcalf over 77.5 receiving yards 1 unit
I have a feeling the Seahawks will want to put the ball in the air more often early on to appease Russell Wilson, and Metcalf can take advantage with Xavier Rhodes sidelined