NFL Week 1 Picks: Can Minnesota Upset Green Bay?

The NFL is officially back on Thursday night as the Buffalo Bills head out west to Los Angeles to take on the Super Bowl champion Rams. The only thing as fun as watching NFL games is picking them, so with football mere hours away, here are the NFL Week 1 picks from my favorite games of the week.

Buffalo Bills @ Los Angeles Rams

  • Spread: Bills -2.5
  • Bills ML: -136
  • Rams ML: +116
  • O/U: 52 points

Frey’s Pick: Bills -2.5

The Los Angeles Rams might be the Super Bowl champs, but they’re rather banged up going into the season opener on Thursday night. Van Jefferson is officially out for the game, and guys like Cam Akers, Jalen Ramsey, and Matthew Stafford have had nagging injuries for much of the offseason. Meanwhile, Buffalo is a highly motivated team, and their offense looks ready to rock-and-roll through their schedule. I’m taking the Bills to win this game.

New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons

  • Spread: Saints -5.5
  • Saints ML: -220
  • Falcons ML: +190
  • O/U: 42.5 points

Frey’s Pick: Saints -5.5

As long as their key players on offense stay healthy, the New Orleans Saints have a great chance to compete for the NFC South division. Remember, New Orleans was 5-2 in the seven games that Jameis Winston started in 2021, including victories over the Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

That was without Michael Thomas too, and he looks healthy for week 1. That receiving group looks much better with Thomas and additions of Chris Olave and Jarvis Landry, and they’ll give a porous Falcons defense a headache all afternoon. The Saints win in a blowout.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Arizona Cardinals

  • Spread: Chiefs -6
  • Chiefs ML: -245
  • Cardinals ML: +205
  • O/U: 53.5 points

Frey’s Pick: Cardinals +6, Over 53.5 points

Ultimately, this is the chess match of the week. It’s likely that the Chiefs end up winning this game because Patrick Mahomes pulls another magic trick out of his hat. While they lost Tyreek Hill this offseason, Kansas City maintains the best tight end in the league, Travis Kelce, and there’s no reason why JuJu Smith-Schuster can’t be a viable receiver in this offense.

That said, six points is a lot of points to give the Cardinals at home. Zach Ertz immediately was a very viable target for Kyler Murray, and Hollywood Brown may be overrated as a WR1, but he’s still talented. The Cardinals will keep it close, and this game will be a shootout.

Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings

  • Spread: Packers -1
  • Packers ML: -120
  • Vikings ML: +100
  • O/U: 47 points

Frey’s Pick: Vikings ML

The Minnesota Vikings are in the beginning of a new era, and they want to get off to a hot start. Meanwhile, the Green Bay Packers try to incorporate new weapons on the offensive side of the ball, and they may be without Allen Lazard for the game.

Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson will end up being fine NFL receivers, but a hostile environment for their first real NFL experience against a much-improved Vikings defense might be too much pressure for the rookies. The Vikings will sneak this one out.

Las Vegas Raiders @ Los Angeles Chargers

  • Spread: Chargers -3
  • Raiders ML: +158
  • Chargers ML: -178
  • O/U: 53.5 points

Frey’s Pick: Chargers -3

In a rematch of what was the most chaotic game of the 2021 regular season, the Chargers and Raiders begin the year with a divisional rivalry matchup. LA demolished the Raiders last time they played in Los Angeles, and the Chargers are a very explosive team once again this year. The Chargers win by a touchdown in week 1.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Dallas Cowboys

  • Spread: Buccaneers -2.5
  • Bucs ML: -141
  • Cowboys ML: +121
  • O/U: 51 points

Frey’s Pick: Buccaneers -2.5

I’ve gone back and forth on this pick all week, but at the end of the day, I can’t go against Tom Brady. Chris Godwin looks like he’ll be ready to go for this Sunday night opener, and the Bucs defense can still cause problems for any offense in the NFL. Tampa Bay’s interior o-line looks rough right now, but Dallas’ line is rather bad across the board. The Bucs will pull away in the fourth quarter.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing as well as minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh‘s hobbies include training for a marathon, playing video games, and rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his takes, NFL and otherwise, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken