Matthew Stafford pointing in a Rams game.

We did it, everyone! After an excruciating offseason full of contract disputes, suspension predictions, and hand size measurements, the NFL finally returns tonight with a top-notch game, Bills vs. Rams. This also marks my return to Unafraid Show after a short hiatus. Sometimes, you need to recharge the batteries, and that’s exactly what I did. But I’m ready to go, so buckle up and enjoy my NFL season predictions and bets for Week 1.

2022 NFL Season Thoughts

The Bills Are Awesome, But Everyone Likes Them

I’ve known my Super Bowl pick since March. The Bills are going to win the Super Bowl. Josh Allen knows he must do two things: choose heads and secure home-field advantage. Adding Von Miller will help bolster a unit that finished 11th in sacks last season. Gabe Davis and Isaiah McKenzie are prime candidates for breakout seasons. The only thing that scares me is the media’s infatuation with the Bills. Everyone likes the Bills, you say? What could go wrong?

The AFC West Conundrum

On paper, the AFC West is the strongest division in the NFL. There’s a world where all four teams make the playoffs. There’s also a world where one team makes the playoffs. It’s unlikely the latter scenario happens, but it’s possible if all four teams beat up each other throughout the season. The Chiefs and Chargers are the standout teams behind MVP candidates Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert. The Raiders brought in Josh McDaniels and Davante Adams while the Broncos opted for Nathaniel Hackett and Russell Wilson. However, the player that will decide which of these two teams will make the playoffs is Derek Carr. If Carr clicks with McDaniels and Adams, the Raiders will return to the postseason. If they struggle, Mr. Unlimited will ride Denver to the postseason.

New Teams To Make The Playoffs

By now, you’ve seen the stat where four to six teams new teams will make the playoffs. As easy as it would be to include all the team’s from the 2022 postseason and slot them in the 2023 postseason, that wouldn’t be smart. A team will likely go from worst to first* and vice versa. The tough part is deciding who’s in and who’s out.

* It’s an expression. It might not be “worst to first,” but it will be “worst to the playoffs.” I excluded that phrasing because it doesn’t roll off the tongue.

Who’s In: Vikings, Colts, Ravens, Chargers, Broncos

Who’s Out: Steelers, Cowboys, Titans, Patriots, Raiders

2022 NFL Season Predictions

AFC

  1. Bills
  2. Chiefs
  3. Ravens
  4. Colts
  5. Chargers
  6. Bengals
  7. Broncos

AFC Championship: Bills over Chiefs

NFC

  1. Packers
  2. Bucs
  3. 49ers
  4. Eagles
  5. Vikings
  6. Rams
  7. Cardinals

NFC Championship: 49ers over Packers

Super Bowl: Bills over 49ers

2022 NFL Awards

  • MVP – Justin Herbert
  • Offensive Player of the Year – Christian McCaffrey
  • Defensive Player of the Year – Nick Bosa
  • Offensive Rookie of the Year – Dameon Pierce
  • Defensive Rookie of the Year – Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner
  • Comeback Player of the Year – Christian McCaffrey
  • Coach of the Year – Sean McDermott

Week 1 Bets

I figured I would take this time to sprinkle in some of my favorite bets for Week 1. Unfortunately, I’m addicted to teasers, which is not the right path to pursue, but it makes me happy, so who cares. I’m not sponsored by a sportsbook so I’ll shop around for the best lines. I’ll be using FanDuel for this article, but I’m not afraid to mix it up with DraftKings. My DMs are open if any sportsbook would like to sponsor me.

*Lines from FanDuel as of 9/8

Ravens -6.5 vs. Jets

  • The Ravens had the worst injury luck imaginable a season ago. Lamar Jackson may not be playing under a new contract (please hire an agent), but when he’s healthy, Jackson is one of the league’s best weapons. The Jets will be missing Zach Wilson. That’s not saying much, but “Cool” Joe Flacco is a downgrade from Wilson. Last season, the Jets defense allowed the fourth most rushing yards per game with 138, and the Ravens rushed for the third most yards per game with 145. Don’t overthink this. Bet the Ravens.

49ers -6.5 vs. Bears

  • Name one receiver on the Bears offense outside Darnell Mooney. Also, the Bears have the worst-ranked offensive line heading into 2022 according to Sharp Football Analysis. Justin Fields will be running for his life on Sunday with no lifeline in sight. The 49ers offense will experience growing pains under Trey Lance, but they should win by at least two touchdowns.

Underdog of the Week: Vikings +1.5 vs. Packers

  • Skol! I’m a Kirk Cousins defender. Over the last two seasons, Captain Kirk has thrown for over 8000 yards and 65 TDs. Now with Mike Zimmer out, the Vikings will throw even more. The Packers will probably win 13 games again, but Rodgers still needs time to figure out who to trust at WR. I’m not expecting another 38-3 Week 1 loss, but the Packers will be rusty on offense, and the Vikings will light up the scoreboard.

Teaser of the Week: 6 points – Ravens -.5, 49ers -.5

  • For the reasons outlined above.

Here’s to a great year of losing money and yelling at your TV!

What are your NFL predictions? Leave them in the comments below or tweet at @danny_giro.

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