NFL Week 1 Lines & Predictions

Thursday, September 8

Buffalo Bills @ Los Angeles Rams

The current Super Bowl favorites travel to play the defending Super Bowl champs in Week 1 in what should be a doozy of a matchup. The quarterback matchup between Matthew Stafford and Josh Allen should be fascinating. Von Miller also has a revenge game narrative against a Los Angeles offensive line now without stalwart left tackle Andrew Whitworth. The big matchup for me here is the Bills’ cornerbacks without Tre’Davious White against Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson, and I believe the Rams win in that area. In their last meeting in 2020, Allen led the Bills to a 35-32 win over Jared Goff’s Rams in Buffalo. This time around, I’m betting on the Rams to get the win and open their Super Bowl defense with a big home win.

My Pick: Rams win 31-28, Rams cover, over 52 points

Sunday, September 11

Philadelphia Eagles @ Detroit Lions

The Lions had one of their worst showings of the 2021 season against the Eagles in a 44-6 loss, and Philly’s run game was far too much for Detroit to handle as they picked up four rushing touchdowns. The Lions have improved in many ways this offseason, but their run defense is still a weakness. With A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith drawing defenders away from the line of scrimmage, and the Eagles possessing one of the best offensive lines in the league, the Lions won’t be able to keep up with this Eagles’ offense. I’ll take the under here as Philadelphia should be able to control possession and keep this a lower-paced game on the back of their ground game and improved defense.

My Pick: Eagles win 26-16, Eagles cover, under 46.5 points

San Francisco 49ers @ Chicago Bears

Week 1 brings a highly anticipated matchup between two high-upside second-year quarterbacks in the 49ers’ Trey Lance and the Bears’ Justin Fields. Unfortunately for Fields, the talent discrepancy between these two teams is massive. Kyle Shanahan also remains one of the best coaches in football, and the Bears will be running out a first-time head coach in Matt Eberflus. Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead should also tee off against arguably the worst offensive line in the NFL. The spread in this game is significant, and with a low over-under, I don’t love laying the points with such an inexperienced quarterback in Lance on the road. The spread is likely a stay-away for me here, but I’ll lean towards the Chicago side at home.

My Pick: 49ers win 23-17, Bears cover, under 42.5 points

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals had the Steelers’ number last season as they held them to just ten points in each of their two meetings and won by an average of 22.5 points. Pittsburgh’s significant advantage is its front seven featuring reigning DPOY T.J. Watt and Cameron Heyward. However, the Bengals have improved their offensive line significantly over the offseason with the additions of La’el Collins, Alex Cappa, and Ted Karras. It’s looking like Mitchell Trubisky will be the starter for Pittsburgh in Week 1, and it’s hard to have confidence in his ability to keep up with Joe Burrow, even with some solid weapons surrounding him. Look for Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins to pick apart a weak Steelers secondary in a big Bengals win.

My Pick: Bengals win 31-17, Bengals cover, over 45 points

New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins

The Patriots have lost their last seven of their last nine games in Miami, and these two teams are headed in opposite directions. New England lost All-Pro cornerback J.C. Jackson, arguably the best player on their roster, just in time to face the Dolphins’ new-look offense featuring Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. I’m bullish on Miami this season under new head coach Mike McDaniel, and Tua Tagovailoa is poised for a breakout season. The Dolphins are poised to earn a critical home win over a divisional rival. I’d rather drink the juice on the Moneyline here rather than lay the points as the Dolphins beat the Patriots by one point in their season opener last year.

My Pick: Dolphins win 26-23, Patriots cover, over 45 points

Cleveland Browns @ Carolina Panthers

Baker Mayfield’s revenge narrative kicks off beautifully in Week 1, and to say he’ll be motivated against his former team would be a massive understatement. The Panthers aren’t far off from being a playoff-caliber roster with their young talent on both sides of the ball, and a seemingly healthy Christian McCaffrey is a massive boost to the offense. The big question will be the left tackle spot as rookie Ikem Ekwonu will be thrown into the fire against Myles Garrett, but Mayfield should be able to get rid of the ball quickly enough to keep Garrett at bay. With Jacoby Brissett likely under center in the wake of Deshaun Watson’s looming suspension, I love Mayfield to lead the Panthers to a home win over his former team.

My Pick: Panthers win 24-17, Panthers cover, under 42 points

Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans

The Colts beat the Texans twice last year by final scores of 31-3 and 31-0. Jonathan Taylor averaged 23 carries for 144 yards and had four total touchdowns across those two games. As fun as it is to get on the Davis Mills hype train, the Houston defense simply has no answers for Taylor, and it will allow Matt Ryan to have a very efficient opening game with his new team. The Colts’ defense should also be improved from last year with the addition of former All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore. You should be looking for contrarian spots and underdog bets in Week 1 as there are always surprises, but this matchup is pretty cut and dry, and it’s hard to see the result deviating much from last year.

My Pick: Colts win 28-14, Colts cover, over 44.5 points

New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons

The Saints were just 3.5-point favorites in Week 1 against the Falcons, and the line has continued to move with sharp action. Atlanta will open the season with Marcus Mariota as their new starting quarterback. While the former Titan will be reunited with head coach Arthur Smith, it’s hard to fathom him having much success against the elite New Orleans defense. Jameis Winston will be back from his ACL injury, and while we still don’t know about the status of Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas, the Saints shouldn’t have too much difficulty scoring in this game. If this number gets past the critical 7-point threshold, I’ll reassess, but it’s hard not to back the movement on the Saints here.

My Pick: Saints win 23-16, Saints cover, under 42 points

Baltimore Ravens @ New York Jets

There has been some significant buzz around the Jets with their young nucleus of talent on the rise and their impressive draft haul featuring starters on both sides of the ball. However, my biggest question for this team will be their run defense, which ranked just 26th in DVOA last year. The Jets will have a hard time defending the run against a Baltimore offense with the best rushing quarterback in football, an elite offensive line, and a deep stable of running backs. I also don’t have much faith in Zach Wilson against an elite secondary. The Ravens deserve to be back in the Super Bowl conversation, and they couldn’t have asked for a much better matchup to start their season with a win.

My Pick: Ravens win 31-24, Ravens cover, over 45 points

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Washington Commanders

I firmly believe Trevor Lawrence will look like a completely different quarterback this season as he transitions from Urban Meyer to Doug Pederson as his head coach. He has an excellent opportunity to prove it in Week 1 against a Washington defense that was hit-or-miss despite its top talent last season. I have less faith in Carson Wentz in his new surroundings, and the Jaguars’ defense should be improved with big-ticket free agency signings and two first-round picks on that side of the ball. Jacksonville could end up a fringe playoff team this season, and their redemption arc starts with an upset win on the road in Week 1.

My Pick: Jaguars win 20-17, Jaguars cover, under 44.5 points

Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings

Can Aaron Rodgers adapt to life after Davante Adams? That’s the biggest question facing the Packers as they enter this season hoping for their fourth straight year with 13 wins. Minnesota has quietly had an excellent offseason with some great coaching hires and the additions of Za’Darius Smith and rookies Lewis Cine and Andrew Booth Jr. on defense. The Packers put up 37 and 31 points on the Vikings last year, but I wouldn’t project that to happen again in Week 1. Green Bay should also have one of the best defenses in the NFL this season with Jaire Alexander’s return to health and top-end talent at all three levels. Look for this to be a surprisingly low-scoring game, and I’ll take Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson to engineer the home upset.

My Pick: Vikings win 23-20, Vikings cover, under 49 points

New York Giants @ Tennessee Titans

Derrick Henry should be licking his chops for this Week 1 matchup against the worst-ranked run defense from last season. While the Titans will have to adjust to the loss of A.J. Brown, their offense may not have to do much to score against an often hapless Giants’ defense. I loved the hire of Brian Daboll as New York’s new head coach, and their fans should have high hopes for the team’s future. The new scheme should boost Daniel Jones, and this team sneakily has a lot of skill talent with Saquon Barkley, Kadarius Toney, and Kenny Golladay. Henry and the Titans won’t lose their home opener, but the Giants should keep this very interesting.

My Pick: Titans win 28-24, Giants cover, over 44 points

Las Vegas Raiders @ Los Angeles Chargers

After the Raiders bested the Chargers by 3 points in a Week 18 duel for the ages that landed Las Vegas in the playoffs, Justin Herbert’s crew will be licking their chops for a chance at retribution. The edge-rushing tandem of Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack could be downright terrifying for opposing offensive lines, particularly the Raiders’ middling group. While Davante Adams injects much more life into the offense, the Raiders defense didn’t improve much from the group that allowed Herbert to put on a clinic in that Week 18 game. With Mack and J.C. Jackson boosting a much-improved Chargers’ defense, I like Los Angeles to start its season with a real statement win over their divisional foe.

My Pick: Chargers win 27-20, Chargers cover, under 52 points

Kansas City Chiefs @ Arizona Cardinals

Patrick Mahomes and Kyler Murray have never faced each other – not in college or the NFL. However, Murray’s current head coach Kliff Kingsbury was Mahomes’ college head coach at Texas Tech, and the two quarterbacks play a very similar brand of football. This game will miss the presence of elite wideout DeAndre Hopkins who has been suspended for the first six games, but the combination of Marquise Brown, Zach Ertz, and James Conner is enough to keep Arizona’s offense afloat. The more significant issue is their defense with a secondary primed for regression and a pass-rush that will miss Chandler Jones. While the Chiefs’ loss of Tyreek Hill will be felt throughout the season, I don’t expect Mahomes to miss a beat in Week 1 as he should carve up the Arizona defense.

My Pick: Chiefs win 31-26, Chiefs cover, over 53 points

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys played the Buccaneers on opening week last year, and it was an incredibly memorable game featuring a combined seven passing touchdowns from Dak Prescott and Tom Brady. This season, Prescott will be without Amari Cooper, and Brady will be without Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski, and Chris Godwin, at least until he returns from his ACL injury. Still, these two teams are favored to win their respective divisions, and this game could be telling as a litmus test for two contenders in the NFC. After his incredible rookie season, Micah Parsons is back for more, and he’s one of the best defensive players in the NFL. Still, I’ll back Brady to get the job done on the road with a healthy dose of Mike Evans and Leonard Fournette, but this should be a fascinating Sunday Night Football showdown.

My Pick: Buccaneers win 30-27, Buccaneers cover, over 51.5 points

Monday, September 12

Denver Broncos @ Seattle Seahawks

Revenge game! This worked out quite nicely for the schedule-makers, with Russell Wilson already slated to return to Seattle this season, and this will be a fascinating game for Broncos fans. It’s unclear who the Seahawks will be trotting out at quarterback in Wilson’s emotional return to Seattle. Still, they will be facing one of the best secondaries in the NFL, featuring Patrick Surtain II, Justin Simmons, and Ronald Darby. The Seahawks’ offense should be limited in this game, and your pick for the spread depends on how quickly you think the Denver offense will gel. I believe Wilson can hit the ground running in Nathaniel Hackett’s offense with Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy by his side, and I’ll bet on them to win by a touchdown on the road.

My Pick: Broncos win 23-16, Broncos cover, under 41 points

I've been a huge sports fan for as long as I can remember and I've always loved writing. In 2020, I joined the Lineups team, and I've been producing written and video content on football and basketball ever since. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. My goal is to tell enthralling stories and provide meaningful insight on the sports I write about while helping you cash some bets along the way.

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