NFL Week 1 takeaways: Cowboys are in trouble without Dak Prescott
Cowboys star quarterback Dak Prescott is expected to miss six to eight weeks with a hand injury. Photo by Ron Jenkins/AP.

If the first 15 games of the season are anything to go on, 2022 could be a year of change in the NFL.

Last season's Super Bowl participants both lost at home, back-to-back MVP winner Aaron Rodgers threw for fewer than 200 yards with no touchdowns in a blowout loss to the Minnesota Vikings and the San Franciso 49ers were stunned by the Chicago Bears.

To make sense of it all, check out our NFL Week 1 takeaways.

NFL Week 1 takeaways

There's a pretty clear pattern from Week 1 heading into Monday Night Football. Specifically, it was a great week to bet the under.

The over went 5-10 as shootouts were few and far between. Underdogs also covered in the majority of games, going 8-7 ATS.

Those outcomes fit with our understanding of early-season football: sloppy offences make upsets easier to come by.

GameO/UATS WinnerTotal
BUF (-2.5) vs. LAR 52.5Bills41 (U)
BAL (-6.5) vs. NYJ44Ravens33 (U)
CLE vs. CAR (-1.5)41.5Browns50 (O)
IND (-7) vs. HOU45.5Texans40 (U)
JAX vs. WAS (-3)43.5Commanders50 (O)
NE vs. MIA (-3)46Dolphins27 (U)
NO (-5.5) vs. ATL44Falcons53 (O)
PHI (-5.5) vs. DET49Lions73 (O)
PIT vs. CIN (-7)44.5Steelers43 (U)
SF (-6.5) vs. CHI37.5Bears29 (U)
KC (-6) vs. ARI54Chiefs65 (O)
NYG vs. TEN (-5.5)44Giants41 (U)
GB (-1.5) vs. MIN47Vikings30 (U)
LV vs. LAC (-3.5)53.5Chargers43 (U)
TB (-2.5) vs. DAL49.5Bucs22 (U)

Before we look back on the week that was, let's take a quick look at the lines of some key Week 2 games.

Early Week 2 lines

The battle between the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas Chiefs (-3.5) on Thursday Night Football is the most exciting matchup of the week and will help set the tone for the AFC West race.

Neither the Baltimore Ravens (24-9 win) nor the Miami Dolphins (20-7 victory) were truly tested on Sunday but that should change in Week 2.

Monday Night Football could also be a doozy as it includes two of the NFC's rising powers (Vikings vs. Philadelphia Eagles) in addition to a Tennessee Titans vs. Buffalo Bills matchup.

As of Monday morning, the Bills (-10) were one of four double-digit favourites.

Visit all our NFL betting markets and gets full odds for Week 2.

DateAwayHomeO/UBet the spread
Sept. 15LACKC (-3.5)54.5Chargers or Chiefs
Sept. 18MIABAL (-3.5)44Dolphins or Ravens
Sept. 18IND (-4)JAX46Colts or Jaguars
Sept. 19MINPHI (-1.5)51.5Vikings or Eagles

Odds as of 2:52 p.m. on 09/12/2022.

NFL Week 1 takeaways: Stock up

Chiefs: Any worry about Kansas City's offence struggling without Tyreek Hill has been snuffed out after a 44-point effort in the season opener.

The Los Angeles Chargers are the trendy pick in the AFC West, but K.C. looked significantly more impressive Sunday. As long as Andy Reid is coaching this team and Patrick Mahomes is behind centre, bet against the Chiefs at your own risk.

Mitch Trubisky: The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback didn't produce an all-world performance against the Cincinnati Bengals, but his workmanlike outing included some clutch throws and — crucially — no interceptions.

More importantly for Trubisky, a Sunday report stated that the team plans to give him a long leash with the starting role before turning it over to Kenny Pickett in 2023.

From a betting standpoint, that gives the Steelers a higher floor but a lower ceiling for those dreaming on a scenario where Pickett takes the reigns and cooks as a rookie with all the skill-position talent around him.

Vikings: The buzz around the Vikings entering the season appears to have been justified. Minnesota absolutely manhandled the Green Bay Packers and wide receiver Justin Jefferson proved he's an offensive weapon that can't be stopped.

The third-year wideout and running back Dalvin Cook combined for almost as many total yards (292) as the entire Packers team (338), and Minnesota's defence made Green Bay's offence look ordinary all day.

The battle for the NFC North is far from over, but bettors who went with a chalky Packers pick to win the division prior to the season (-182) must be feeling a little nervous.

Stock down

Dallas Cowboys: The departures of Amari Cooper and Randy Gregory, as well as the improving Philadelphia Eagles, looked like they would make life tough on the Dallas Cowboys entering the 2022 season. That said, they opened their campaign flatter than even the biggest pessimists would've suspected.

An offence that led the league in points last season provided a single field goal and the defence was steamrolled by a Tampa Bay Buccaneers rushing attack led by Leonard Fournette.

The Cowboys ranked second in the NFL with a +172 point differential last season and looked like a team with few weaknesses. Dallas didn't demonstrate a single strength on Sunday Night Football.

To make matters worse, quarterback Dak Prescott left the game late with a hand injury and is expected to miss a big chunk of the season.

Rodgers: Losing Davante Adams in the offseason was tough. Seeing Allen Lazard get injured in practice was another blow. There's no doubt that Rodgers was lacking weapons against Minnesota.

Even with that context in mind, a sub-200-yard effort without a touchdown through the air was disappointing for Rodgers.

Before we bury the 38-year-old, it's worth remembering he started 2021 with a stinker — 15-for-28 for 133 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions — and ended the year on fire.

That said, it's probably wise to stay away from overs on Rodgers' props until he proves he can be productive with his current cast of receivers.

Matt Stafford: Though the season opener has faded into the background, it's worth remembering how unimpressive Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams looked.

The 34-year-old is dealing with an elbow injury and it showed as he rarely pushed the ball downfield on Thursday, averaging just 5.9 yards per attempt. He was also sacked seven times.

It's too early for outright panic, but it's fair to be a little less optimistic about Stafford and the Rams than you might've been entering the season.

Upset of the week

Steelers over Bengals (-7): Joe Burrow accounted for five turnovers and Evan McPherson had an extra point blocked with seconds left on the clock and missed a chip-shot field goal in overtime. Pittsburgh still won by just three points.

That isn't to say that the Steelers defence doesn't deserve credit for a fine day at the office, but it's unlikely that this win is an indication that they're about to go on a significant run.

This was a heartbreaker for Bengals fans, but they can feel good about their team's chances the next time these two meet (Week 11).

Honourable mention: Bears over 49ers (-6.5): San Francisco produced an uninspiring performance against the talent-bereft Bears, but the weather played a significant role as the rain came down in sheets in the fourth quarter.

That made it extremely difficult for the 49ers to move the ball and mount a comeback, although there's no guarantee they would have as the Trey Lance-led group struggled to capitalize on early opportunities when the weather was better.

NFL Week 1 takeaways: Prop watch

Michael Thomas (5 receptions, 57 yards, 2 TDs): Even though Thomas missed all of last season and had no experience catching passes from Jameis Winston, he was huge in Week 1.

Between the uncertainty about his health — and skepticism about whether his hyper-efficient style was only effective with Drew Brees — doubting Thomas ahead of the season made sense.

The 29-year-old caught the game-winning score against elite corner A.J. Terrell and showed he'll be a receiver to watch on a number of props as long as he's healthy.

Michael Pittman Jr. (9 receptions, 121 yards, 1 TD): This isn't the biggest line of Week 1, but it reinforced how big a season Pittman could produce.

The third-year receiver isn't just the top option in the Colts' passing attack, he's the only guy new quarterback Matt Ryan can rely on.

Pittman caught three times as many passes as any other Colts receiver against the Texans.

He won't always dominate targets this much, but he seems like a good bet to catch 100 passes this season. The 24-year-old is worth a look on reception and yardage overs for the foreseeable future.

Saquon Barkley (18 carries 164 yards, 1 TD + 6 receptions for 30 yards): After a forgettable 2021 season, Barkley looked like the guy who led the NFL in yards from scrimmage as a rookie in 2018.

Few running backs possess his ability to rip long runs, and he produced four carries of 10-plus yards on Sunday (including his longest since 2019):

New York's offence isn't overflowing with playmakers so expect Barkley to get a heavy workload as long as he's healthy. If he continues to show this level of explosiveness, he'll be a profitable play in a number of prop markets.

Target Barkley in combined rushing and receiving yardage props as he's a major factor in the passing game. New York is also likely to fall into some trailing game scripts that could limit his carries.

We'll make prop and TD-specific picks every week. Here's how we performed in Week 1:

Trevor Lawrence o21.5 completions-14424 completions
Cordarelle Patterson o56.5 yards from scrimmage-115136 yards
Justin Herbert o36.5 passing attempts-12534 attempts
Alvin Kamara anytime TD-1320 TDs
Ja'Marr Chase anytime TD+1051 TD
Adam Thielen anytime TD+1430 TDs

Bad beat of the week

A number of games were decided on last-minute field goals, but there weren't any TDs in garbage time that blew up ATS picks.

If you bet on Baker Mayfield to win his revenge game against the Cleveland Browns you probably weren't happy to see a rookie kicker drill a 58-yarder for the win, though.

One game that stands out from an ATS perspective is the Eagles-Detroit Lions matchup. The Eagles (-5.5) controlled the game with a 38-21 lead entering the fourth quarter but conceded two touchdowns to an offence that was among the league's worst last year.

They failed to cover, winning by three.

NFL Week 1 takeaways: Key injuries

Prescott (thumb): If Prescott does in fact miss six to eight weeks, he might not be back until Nov. 13, after the Cowboys' Week 9 bye.

Dallas will now lean on Cooper Rush, a career backup with a single NFL start under his belt. Although that start did result in a Cowboys win, Dallas can't be trusted right now.

The Cowboys didn't look good with Prescott on Sunday and things could get grim without him.

Keenan Allen (hamstring): Allen is one of the league's most underrated receivers, and he was off to a great start with four catches and 66 yards before he left the game.

It's tough to estimate how much the veteran moves the needle for an excellent Chargers offence, but Los Angeles wasn't as sharp after he left. It seems likely he'll be absent in Week 2 as the Chargers only have three days to rest before TNF.

Tee Higgins (concussion): Higgins didn't return after suffering a concussion in Week 1. Concussions are difficult to project, but the Bengals can elevate reliable veteran Tyler Boyd to a bigger role without losing too much on offence.

Ja'Marr Chase could see more double teams if Higgins misses time, though Cincinnati's offence is likely to do better in Week 2 regardless.

T.J. Watt (pectoral) and Najee Harris (foot): Watt is Pittsburgh's best player on either side of the ball, and there is fear that he could miss significant time with a torn pectoral.

Harris, meanwhile, was dealing with a foot sprain prior to the season and was seen wearing a protective boot after the game. Even though Harris is a quality playmaker, some of his production can be replicated by a committee of backs.

Watt is nothing short of irreplaceable.

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