Welcome to the Friday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
After watching only one game of the NFL season, I have decided that the Bills are definitely the best team and that we don't even need to play any more games. Just give them the Lombardi Trophy now, and we don't even have to give them a new one, just give them the one the Rams won last season.
In one of the most impressive opening game performances of the past few years, the Bills destroyed the Rams 31-10 in a game that probably could have been 52-10 if the Bills didn't turn the ball over three times. That's right, the Bills had three turnovers and still won by three touchdowns.
Although we now have one game down, we still have 15 more to go in Week 1 and we'll be giving our picks on those games in today's newsletter. Plus, we'll rehash Buffalo's win and we're even going to vote on which team is going to end up with the worst record (Spoiler: It definitely will not be the Bills).
As always, here's your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the Pick Six newsletter. To get your friends to sign up, all you have to do is click here and then share this link with them. Alright, let's get to the rundown.
1. Today's show: Recapping the Bills' wild win over the Rams
The NFL has been holding a Thursday night opener since 2002 and this game might have given us the most surprising result of any opener over the past 20 years. The only thing more surprising than the result of the game was how good our podcast was afterward.
For today's episode, we recapped the Bills' 31-10 blowout win over the Rams. If you missed the game, here's a quick rehash of what happened and what we talked about on the podcast:
- Josh Allen eviscerates the Rams. If Josh Allen plays the entire season like he did on Thursday night, then they should just go ahead and give him the MVP now. The Bills quarterback completed his first 10 passes and only got better from there. Not only did Allen throw for 297 yards, but he also threw three touchdown passes, including a 53-yarder to Stefon Diggs. Allen, who went 26 of 31, also had the highest completion percentage (83.8%) of his career in a regular season game (Allen did throw two picks, but both of those hit his receiver before being intercepted). The Bills quarterback also steamrolled the Rams on the ground, rushing for 56 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. One of those rushes included a stiff arm of Nick Scott, which you can see by clicking here. Allen and the Bills were so good on offense that Buffalo didn't punt a single time on Thursday.
- Von Miller gets revenge. The Bills defense needed some pass rushing help going into 2022, so they went out and signed Von Miller to a monstrous contract and that investment paid off handsomely on Thursday night. Miller terrorized his former team as he racked up two of Buffalo's seven sacks in the game. Thanks to Miller, the Bills were able to sack Matthew Stafford without blitzing, which threw the Rams offense out of whack.
- Rams offense looked out of sync. The Rams had to replace several key players from their Super Bowl winning team (Odell Beckham, Austin Corbett and Andrew Whitworth) and so far, things aren't going so well. The Rams brought in Allen Robinson, who basically was non-existent on Thursday night with just one catch for 12 yards. The loss of Whitworth (left tackle from last season) and Corbett (right guard) was also huge as the Rams got absolutely dominated up front. Matthew Stafford was sacked seven times, which is the most sacks he's ever taken in a single game with the Rams (Last season, the most sacks he took in a game was five). Due to the constant pressure, Stafford ended up throwing three interceptions and the Rams only finished with 243 offensive yards, which was their lowest total since adding Stafford prior to the 2021 season. The only Rams offensive player who looked like he knew what he was doing was Cooper Kupp, who finished with 13 catches for 128 yards and a TD.
- The Bills went after Jalen Ramsey. The Rams corner is one of the best in the NFL, which means that teams will sometimes try to avoid throwing his way, but not the Bills. Not only did Josh Allen attack Ramsey, but he had a lot of success. Of the 31 passes that Allen threw, seven of those were targeted at Ramsey and with those throws, Allen went 6 of 7 for 124 yards and two touchdowns. The Rams better hope this happened because the Bills are awesome and not because Ramsey has taken a step back, because if it's that second thing, the Rams secondary could be in for a long season.
If you want to listen to the rest of the mailbag, be sure to click here. You can also watch today's episode on YouTube by clicking here.
2. Today's show Part II: Best bets for Week 1
The best part about Friday -- besides the fact that it's Friday -- is that you get two episodes of the podcast in your feed. After the recap of the Thursday game, Brinson politely asked me and Ryan Wilson to leave so that he could bring in Pete Prisco and R.J. White for a discussion about their best bets for Week 1.
Actually, Brinson didn't politely ask us to leave, he disconnected our Zoom call and then blocked us from ever calling him again.
Anyway, the guys spent nearly 60 minutes going over the best bets for every single game being played in Week 1 and we're going to cover three from each guy below.
Packers (-1.5) to cover against the Vikings
Eagles (-4) to cover against the Lions
Panthers (-1.5) to cover against the Browns
Giants (+5.5) to cover against the Titans
Texans (+7) to cover against the Colts
Chiefs at Cardinals OVER 53.5 points
Cowboys (+2.5) to cover against the Buccaneers
Dolphins (-3.5) to cover against the Patriots
Cardinals (+6) to cover against the Chiefs
The three guys also have a parlay they like that pays out +595, which means you'd make a $595 profit off of a $100 bet. Here's a look at the three legs in their parlay:
- Giants (+5.5) to cover against the Titans
- Jaguars (+2.5) to cover against the Commanders
- Cowboys (+2.5) to cover against the Buccaneers
To hear what the rest of the best bets are for Week 1 -- and there are quite a few -- be sure to click here so you can listen to the entire episode of the podcast.
3. NFL Week 1 picks
This is the final newsletter of the week, which means I feel morally obligated to cram as many picks as possible into this space. I once crammed nine hot dog buns into a package the was only supposed to fit eight, so I know I'm good at cramming.
With that in mind, we've got five more Week 1 picks coming your way and those will be coming from NFL senior writer Pete Prisco, along with Jason La Canfora, Jordan Dajani, Tyler Sullivan and myself.
Here's how things are going to work: I'm going to give you one pick from each guy and then direct you to the rest of their picks. That way, if you like their pick, you'll be able to read the rest of them, but if they pick against your favorite team, you can ignore the rest of their picks and move on.
- Pete Prisco: Panthers 23-17 over Browns (Pick'em). Prisco loves a good revenge game, which is why I think he's secretly rooting for Baker Mayfield to beat the Browns. For the rest of Prisco's Week 1 picks, be sure to click here.
- Tyler Sullivan: Raiders 27-24 over Chargers (-3.5). From Sullivan, "The AFC West is primed to be one of the crazier divisions in the NFL this year, so why not start the year off with an upset?" For the rest of Sullivan's Week 1 picks, be sure to click here.
- Jason La Canfora: Dolphins (-3.5) cover against Patriots. From JLC, "Going to Miami has always been a bad spot for the Patriots and that was back when they actually had superior talent. No longer. Miami has the better roster. Miami has explosive speed at every skill position spot on offense, and this Pats defense is not particularly twitchy." For the rest of La Canfora's Week 1 best bets, be sure to click here.
- Jordan Dajani: Eagles 30-17 over Lions (+4.5). From Dajani, "Everyone will be watching the Eagles offense Sunday, but I also think this defense is underrated. With James Bradberry and Darius Slay locking down wideouts and C.J. Gardner-Johnson roaming the second and third levels, this unit could make life tough on Jared Goff." Give me the Eagles to cover." For the rest of Dajani's Week 1 best bets, be sure to click here.
- John Breech: Buccaneers 30-27 over Cowboys (+2.5). Tom Brady is 45, he spent six weeks in retirement, he skipped 11 days of practice, he spent half his offseason tweeting out underwear ads and I'm not actually sure if he's gotten any practice in over the past month, but it doesn't matter because he's playing the Cowboys and Brady doesn't ever lose to the Cowboys (He's 6-0 all-time). For the rest of my Week 1 picks, be sure to click here.
4. Five teams that could surprise everyone in 2022
Last season gave us one of the biggest surprises in NFL history when the Bengals followed up a 4-11-1 season in 2020 with a SUPER BOWL season in 2021. The Bengals' success was a huge surprise to almost everyone and since we love surprises here, we asked Jordan Dajani to come up with five teams that could end up being a huge surprise in 2022.
Here are the teams that Jordan came up with:
- Saints. "I'm high on this team, and will be betting them at +105 to make the playoffs. This defense can be a top five unit and I'm also excited about the offense."
- Dolphins. "Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has new weapons in Tyreek Hill and Cedrick Wilson Jr., a revamped offensive line with the additions of Connor Williams and Terron Armstead, a new running back duo in Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert and then a fiery defense with fun pieces such as Jevon Holland and Jaelan Phillips."
- Vikings. "With tools to work with like Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook, we could see an impressive campaign from Kirk Cousins -- who actually spent time with new coach Kevin O'Connell back during his days with Washington."
- Panthers. "A healthy Baker Mayfield is an automatic upgrade at quarterback for the Panthers. Plus, Christian McCaffrey is back healthy (mostly), D.J. Moore is a great wideout, the offensive line was upgraded with free-agent additions and the defense has some dogs. That could all spell success."
- Cardinals. "Ever since the Cardinals hired Kliff Kingsbury as head coach in 2019, Arizona has improved its win total by three each season, and has improved its final standing in the division each season, so let's not pretend like it can't happen again this year."
If you want to check out Jordan's entire story, be sure to click here.
5. Which NFL team will have the worst record in 2022?
We've spent a lot of time over the past few weeks trying to predict who's going to win the Super Bowl, so we thought we'd go the opposite route today and try to figure out who's going to finish with the worst record in the NFL. To do that, we rounded up three of our draft writers -- Ryan Wilson, Josh Edwards and Chris Trapasso -- and let them make their prediction.
Here's who they predict will end up with the No. 1 overall pick:
- Wilson: Bears. "The Texans, Falcons and Seahawks all have longer odds to win the Super Bowl, but the Bears might be in the pole position once the season ends. And that's not a bad thing (other than the part about all the losing football over the next five months) because Justin Fields is a franchise QB in my mind, which means that the team could target Will Anderson Jr. No. 1 overall and then spend the rest of the draft stockpiling offensive linemen and wide receivers."
- Edwards: Seahawks. "Seattle is playing in a competitive division with the Rams, Cardinals and 49ers. Pete Carroll's team has the worst starting quarterback among that group. I think the Seahawks are playing out this season with the intention of having a top pick to start over."
- Trapasso: Falcons. "I love Kyle Pitts and Drake London. Grady Jarrett has been underrated for like 20 years now. A.J. Terrell was an All-Pro last year. The rest of the roster is basically barren."
The three guys also took a guess at who the No. 1 overall pick might be in 2023 and if you want to see what they had to say, be sure to click here .
6. Rapid-fire roundup: No contract extension for Lamar Jackson
It's been a busy 24 hours in the NFL and since it's nearly impossible to keep track of everything that happened, I went ahead and put together a roundup for you.
- Lamar Jackson will play 2022 season without a new contract. The Ravens QB set a deadline for today to get a contract extension done and it looks like the two sides were unable to reach a deal. The Ravens released a statement saying that they'll go back to the negotiating table with Jackson after the season. With no new deal in place, that means Jackson will be playing the 2022 season under the final year of his rookie deal, which will pay him $23.02 million. The upside for the Ravens is that if a deal doesn't get done by next March, they can simply hit him with the franchise tag, which would pay Jackson roughly $45 million for the 2023 season. The sticking point in negotiations was the amount of guaranteed money. Jackson wanted a deal closer to Deshaun Watson's fully guaranteed contract while the Ravens were looking to give him a market-fair deal that wasn't fully guaranteed like the ones given to Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson.
- George Kittle might miss the 49ers' opener. The 49ers star tight end is dealing with a groin injury and there's a good chance it could keep him out of San Francisco's opener with the Bears. According to Pro Football Network, Kittle's injury has been characterized as "not good" and it might be for the best for him to miss a game so that the injury doesn't get worse. Kyle Shanahan admitted on Friday that he doesn't know yet if Kittle will be able to play.
- Jets $11 million man out for Week 1. Less than a month after signing Duane Brown, the Jets new left tackle is already dealing with an injury. Brown (shoulder) will miss Sunday's game against the Ravens and could even end up in injured reserve, coach Robert Saleh announced Friday. The Jets signed Brown to a two-year, $22 million deal in mid-August after losing Mekhi Becton for the season.
- Russell Wilson says the Seahawks tried to trade him multiple times. Earlier this week, ESPN reported that the Seahawks tried to trade Wilson multiple times over the past few years (The Giants, Saints and Browns were three of the teams that almost landed him) and Wilson confirmed that report on Thursday. "Definitely they tried to [trade me] a couple of times, tried to see what was out there," Wilson said, via ESPN.com.
- Steelers to honor Dwayne Haskins. The Steelers will be honoring Haskins this year by wearing a "3" sticker on their helmet all season. Haskins died on April 9 after being struck by an oncoming vehicle on an interstate in Florida. You can see what the decal looks like by clicking here.
- Amani Hooker gets three-extension from Titans: The Titans safety has been in Tennessee for his entire career and now, he's going to be sticking around even longer. According to NFL.com, Hooker has agreed to a three-year extension worth up to $33 million while also including $19.5 million in guarantees. Hooker has started 15 games for the Titans since being selected in the fourth-round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
- Saints center lands five-year extension. The Saints are set at center for the next few years after signing Erik McCoy to an extension on Thursday. The five-year deal is worth a total of $63.75 million and includes $40 million in guarantees. The former second-round pick has been the Saints starting center since his rookie year in 2019.