Week 1 picks: Bills vs. Rams, Broncos vs. Seahawks, and more


The 2022 NFL season is just about to get underway and if the offseason was any indication, this campaign is going to be a roller coaster.

One consistent theme will be familiar names in new places. From Russell Wilson joining the Broncos to A.J. Brown landing with the Eagles, the landscape of the NFL looks much different than it did when the Los Angeles Rams hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in February.

NBC Sports' Ethan Cadeaux and Matt Weyrich are back to make their picks for all 272 games this season, starting with those very Rams facing the Bills on Thursday night.

Here are their picks for Week 1. All game times listed are EST.

BILLS (0-0) at RAMS (0-0)

Thursday, 8:20 p.m. on NBC

The defending champions will take on the betting favorites to win it all this season when the Rams host the Bills in the NFL season opener. Both teams look absolutely loaded and betting lines suggest it will be a thriller. This one should live up to the billing.

Ethan: Rams 28, Bills 21 | Matt: Bills 24, Rams 20


Sunday, 1:00 p.m. on FOX

Two teams looking to take steps forward in 2022 will face off at FedEx Field on Sunday when the Commanders face the Jaguars. Washington has high hopes for its offense now that new quarterback Carson Wentz is under center while Jacksonville expects its roster to show some improvement with a competent head coach in Doug Pederson.

Ethan: Commanders 27, Jaguars 24 | Matt: Jaguars 21, Commanders 14

49ERS (0-0) at BEARS (0-0)

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. on FOX

Trey Lance and Justin Fields were the third and fourth quarterbacks taken in the 2021 NFL Draft, respectively, and they’ll now open their sophomore campaigns against each other. The 49ers retained most of the star-studded roster that was a couple of late stops away from reaching the Super Bowl. The Bears have one of the youngest rosters in the NFL.

Ethan: 49ers 31, Bears 13 | Matt: 49ers 28, Bears 7

SAINTS (0-0) at FALCONS (0-0)

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. on FOX

Nobody believes in the Saints this year more than themselves. Drew Brees and Sean Payton may be gone, but they’re still going all in on winning just like they have the last few years. They get their biggest rivals right out of the gate, facing a Falcons team that already seems like it’s penciled Bryce Young in as its starting quarterback for 2023.

Ethan: Saints 23, Falcons 10 | Matt: Saints 30, Falcons 3

STEELERS (0-0) at BENGALS (0-0)

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. on CBS

The Bengals may be the defending AFC champions and Mitchell Trubisky is starting for the Steelers, but these AFC North games always seem to come down to the wire. Cincinnati will get a stiff first test for its remade offensive line and Pittsburgh’s wide receiver pipeline will showcase its newest addition in rookie George Pickens.

Ethan: Bengals 27, Steelers 21 | Matt: Bengals 24, Steelers 14

EAGLES (0-0) at LIONS (0-0)

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. on FOX

Even though Detroit is coming off a 13-loss season, the Lions look like a fun team heading into 2022 with a plethora of offensive weapons and a head coach in Dan Campbell whose players would follow him into war if he asked. The Eagles have lots of high expectations themselves, though, especially after they traded for star wideout A.J. Brown.

Ethan: Eagles 28, Lions 20 | Matt: Eagles 34, Lions 31

DOLPHINS (0-0) at PATRIOTS (0-0)

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. on CBS

It’s a make-or-break season for Tua Tagovailoa, who has an offensive-minded head coach calling the shots in Mike McDaniel and an elite wide receiver duo of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle catching passing. The Patriots won’t be a pushover, though the cracks might be starting to show on this New England team that had a pretty quiet offseason.

Ethan: Dolphins 27, Patriots 14 | Matt: Dolphins 20, Patriots 10

RAVENS (0-0) at JETS (0-0)

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. on CBS

The Jets haven’t announced whether Joe Flacco or Zach Wilson will be starting at quarterback Sunday, but it might not matter. Finally almost back to full strength after injuries plagued them in 2021, the Ravens look poised to make another run at a top seed in the AFC. There are good vibes surrounding the Jets this year, just not Lamar Jackson-caliber vibes.

Ethan: Ravens 31, Jets 21 | Matt: Ravens 30, Jets 14

BROWNS (0-0) at PANTHERS (0-0)

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. on CBS

Baker Mayfield revenge game? The NFL schedule makers can’t even take credit for this one, the Browns just did the most Browns thing ever by trading their displaced starting quarterback to their Week 1 opponent. While Cleveland has the better overall roster, Carolina should hold the edge under center with Mayfield squaring up against Jacoby Brissett.

Ethan: Panthers 20, Browns 13 | Matt: Browns 17, Panthers 14

COLTS (0-0) at TEXANS (0-0)

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. on CBS

This game won’t get a lot of attention amid a packed 1:00 slate, but there’s a lot to watch for in Colts-Texans with season-long implications. How will Matt Ryan look in his Colts debut? Can Jonathan Taylor repeat as rushing champion? How will top Texans draft pick Derek Stingley Jr. fare locking down Michael Pittman Jr.? Can Davis Mills be Houston’s franchise quarterback?

Ethan: Colts 24, Texans 14 | Matt: Colts 27, Texans 24

TITANS (0-0) at GIANTS (0-0)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. on FOX

The Titans were the No. 1 seed in the AFC last season and all reports out of camp are that Derrick Henry is a full go. Yet expectations appear to be tempered for Tennessee, who drafted quarterback Malik Willis after Ryan Tannehill folded in the playoffs. The Giants, meanwhile, were lauded for the hiring of Brian Daboll, but there are lots of question marks on their roster.

Ethan: Titans 23, Giants 16 | Matt: Titans 21, Giants 14

PACKERS (0-0) at VIKINGS (0-0)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. on FOX

This one has “game of the week” written all over it, and not just because FOX is calling it that. The Packers haven’t ceded the NFC North division crown since 2018, but this year there might be an opening after they traded Davante Adams to the Raiders. If there’s a team capable of overtaking them, it’s the Vikings and their new high-flying offensive scheme.

Ethan: Vikings 28, Packers 24 | Matt: Vikings 31, Packers 30

CHIEFS (0-0) at CARDINALS (0-0)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. on CBS

Which Cardinals were real in 2021? The ones who started 10-2, or the ones who finished 1-4 before being blown out by the Rams in the first round of the playoffs? We should find out quickly when they go up against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, who are coming off their own Jekyll and Hyde season after they started 3-4 and went 9-1 the rest of the way.

Ethan: Chiefs 33, Cardinals 23 | Matt: Chiefs 35, Cardinals 28

RAIDERS (0-0) at CHARGERS (0-0)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. on CBS

The AFC West is going to be a treat this season and these two teams will be right at the center of it. Both teams made big offseason acquisitions as the Raiders landed Davante Adams and the Chargers bolstered their defense with J.C. Jackson and Khalil Mack. Every division game is going to have a playoff feel and this one should be no different.

Ethan: Chargers 35, Raiders 31 | Matt: Chargers 27, Raiders 20


Sunday, 8:20 p.m. on NBC

For an idea of how this game might go, look no further than the 2021 NFL season opener. These two high-octane offenses got things going with a 31-29 tilt in favor of the Buccaneers that saw nearly 900 yards of total offense. With Tampa Bay losing some pieces on the offensive line and Dallas sporting a depleted wide receiver room, can they replicate those fireworks?

Ethan: Buccaneers 31, Cowboys 23 | Matt: Buccaneers 38, Cowboys 28

BRONCOS (0-0) at SEAHAWKS (0-0)

Monday, 8:15 p.m. on ESPN & ABC

Russell Wilson is getting little-to-no time with his new teammates before having to return to Seattle, the team that shipped him to Denver after 10 seasons and eight playoff berths together. The Seahawks will look to play the role of spoiler on their own turf, something this Geno Smith-led squad might be more capable of than critics are giving them credit for.

Ethan: Broncos 26, Seahawks 10 | Matt: Seahawks 24, Broncos 21

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