The NFL Season is here! The action is set to kick off Thursday night, which means it's time for TRO to get the gears turning on the Green Zone by setting out its picks against the spread for Week One of the 2022 Season:
Picking up where we left last year on the Green Zone, TRO will be making picks against the spread before the action kicks off each week. As a reminder, while we will make picks for every game, we will place emphasis on our "First Four Downs" which will be the four picks we feel most confident about. Our record against the spread will be kept on the Green Zone page, be sure to check it out each week!
FIRST FOUR DOWNS:
First Down: Cleveland Browns @ Carolina Panthers (-1.5)
via the Charlotte Observer
This is our favorite pick of the week. A revitalized Carolina team at home against a team dealing with a never-ending controversy and media circus. Oh yeah, no Deshaun Watson for the Browns, and Carolina will be trotting out a Baker Mayfield with a monumental sized chip on his shoulder against the organization that flat out did him wrong. Look at Baker's history, he always delivers at his best in these moments. He'll have the support of his new home crowd, a healthy Christian McCaffrey, a hungry defense, and a Panthers coaching staff with enough experience to keep Matt Rhule out of his own way.
Second Down: Baltimore Ravens (-7.5) @ New York Jets
via Getty Images
A Joe Flacco revenge game doesn't instill fear into our hearts. A healthy Ravens team will be too much for the Jets. Lamar Jackson is STILL in contract talks, and don't you think he wants to remind everyone exactly who he is and what he is worth? We sure do. Then, take a look at the other side of the ball, where Baltimore has one of the best secondaries in the League, and they will prove to be far too much for this young Jets receiving corp. This just feels like a 2, probably 3+ possession win for the Ravens.
Third Down: New Orleans Saints (-5.5) @ Atlanta Falcons
via AZ Central
Atlanta is going to struggle to win games this year. Take advantage of Vegas using Week 1 as a barometer to gauge how to set Atlanta's lines going forward. The Saints have too good of a defense, and too many offensive weapons to not routinely attack the holes on both sides of the ball the Falcons are dealing with. New Orleans should have no trouble winning by 2 possessions or more.
Fourth Down: Jacksonville Jaguars (+2.5) @ Washington Commanders
Washington just seems like its reeling. There haven't been good reports about Carson Wentz out of camp. Brian Robinson is recovering from his recent gunshot wounds sustained in a carjacking. Chase Young had a setback on his knee recovery, at the displeasure of his team. It just seems like Washington is getting off on all of the wrong feet, whereas Jacksonville has Trevor Lawrence entering his second year with more weapons, a real NFL coaching staff, and an improved defense. Look for the Jags to get off to a good start with a Week 1 victory.
Buffalo Bills @ Los Angeles Rams (+2.5)
Flip a coin for this one. Buffalo seems to be the better team, but we'll take the home dog in this situation. The reigning Super Bowl Champs in front of their home crowd should at the very least keep this thing within 2 points.
Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5) @ Detroit Lions
Detroit will be far more competitive early on this year compared to last, but Philadelphia stacks up well against them. The Lions should hang around early, but the Eagles will pull away when it counts.
Indianapolis Colts (-7.5) @ Houston Texans
One team has a very complete roster, and one has the complete opposite. There's just too much going right for Indianapolis on both sides of the ball to not win this game by 10+.
Pittsburgh Steelers (+6.5) @ Cincinnati Bengals
The Steelers did not fare well against the Bengals in either matchup last season. We think Cincinnati will come out of the gates a little slow this year, dealing with the Super Bowl loss, Joe Burrow's lack of an offseason due to his appendix rupturing in the Summer, and new offensive line pieces that need time to gel. The Steelers should be able to ugly up this game enough to at least keep the deficit under 7.
New England Patriots (+3.5) @ Miami Dolphins
We think Miami wins this game due to possessing far more offensive talent, but New England should be able to hang around and keep it within a field goal - especially with a first year head coach squaring off against Bill Belichick.
San Francisco 49ers (-6.5) @ Chicago Bears
San Francisco will likely squeak by with the cover here, winning by 7 or so. The Bears just don't have enough to overcome this 49ers defense.
Las Vegas Raiders (+3.5) @ Los Angeles Chargers
This game should be an all out shootout, picking up where they left off in their Week 18 matchup last year. That being said, the Raiders should keep it within 3 points if they can't pull off the upset.
New York Giants @ Tennessee Titans (-5.5)
Derek Henry has a clean bill of health, and the Titans should have a coaching advantage. We like Tennessee to win by 6 or more at home.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Arizona Cardinals (+5.5)
We think the Chiefs will be noticeably better than the Cardinals this year, but it will take some time for Patrick Mahomes to adjust to life without Tyreek Hill (and others). There's also enough holes in the Chiefs defense for Kyler Murray to move the chains often, keeping this game close.
Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings (+1.5)
The Vikings seemingly always play Green Bay at home well. Kirk Cousins is 4-3-1 against the Packers in his career. Minnesota is a complete football team, and they should steal one early this year while Aaron Rodgers works things out with his new-look receiving corp.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5) @ Dallas Cowboys
This should be an entertaining game, but Tampa Bay just feels like the better team here. Dallas lost a couple of key pieces that would have helped them take advantage of the Bucs' shortcomings. Dak will keep it close, but Tampa will pull away late.
Denver Broncos (-6.5) @ Seattle Seahawks
Russell Wilson won't (and shouldn't) get booed in his return to Seattle, but the 12s will be letting SOMEONE have it by the end of this game. The Broncos are too talented and the Seahawks too untalented for this game to be any closer than 7 points.