The 2022 NFL regular season will kick off on Thursday, Sept. 8, when the Buffalo Bills travel to take on the reigning Super Bowl champions Los Angeles Rams. Week 1 will conclude with the Denver Broncos and their new quarterback Russell Wilson on the road against Wilson’s previous team, the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football. All 32 teams will be in action the first week of the season since byes do not start until Week 6. But for those fans who are in a survivor or knockout league, what matchups should be the focus? Here are some NFL Week 1 survivor league top picks.
Top Picks for 2022 NFL Week 1 2022 Survivor League
The early part of the NFL season, particularly Week 1, can be a bit tricky as fans have not yet seen teams play in games that count. It can be difficult to truly get a good read on some teams. And while there can be and are upsets at any point in a season, the first week of an NFL season has provided some baffling results in the past (i.e., the Jacksonville Jaguars defeating the Indianapolis Colts in 2020 or the Pittsburgh Steelers besting the Bills last season). To survive and advance in a 2022 NFL survivor league this year, focus on the below matchups in Week 1.
Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets (1:00 PM Sunday, CBS)
Last season the Baltimore Ravens went 8-9 and the New York Jets finished with a record of 4-13. The Jets had a nice off-season, but they are not ready to contend in the AFC. The Ravens struggled last season largely due to them suffering a number of injuries, including to Lamar Jackson (here is his fantasy outlook for 2022).
Jets quarterback Zach Wilson is dealing with a knee injury and probably will not be ready to play Week 1. If he cannot go against the Ravens, Joe Flacco will start under center for the Jets. Flacco was a good quarterback at one point, but he will not scare Baltimore’s defense if he plays. And if Wilson can go, he will not be 100%. The Ravens will have Lamar Jackson under center so Baltimore will have the edge at quarterback regardless of who plays for New York. Even if the Jets are much improved, the Ravens, especially since they are healthy, are the superior team and should easily get a win against the Jets.
Tennessee Titans versus New York Giants (4:25 PM Sunday, FOX)
The Tennessee Titans finished the 2021 season with a 12-5 record, tied with the Kansas City Chiefs for the best record in the AFC, and had the conference’s top seed heading into the playoffs. The New York Giants went 4-13 and finished last in the NFC East.
The Titans no longer have A.J. Brown after they traded him to the Philadelphia Eagles during the 2022 NFL Draft and that is a significant loss. But the Titans still have the advantage at quarterback. Ryan Tannehill might not be a future Hall of Famer, but he is a good quarterback and definitely better than Daniel Jones. Plus, Tennessee has running back Derrick Henry and last season the Giants allowed 129.0 rush yards per game (25th in the NFL). Even if the Giants are somewhat improved against the run, Henry should have an impressive start to his 2022 campaign on Sunday. The Titans will not finish with the AFC’s top seed in 2022, but they should not have an issue defeating the Giants.
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans (1:00 PM Sunday, CBS)
Last season the Texans allowed 142.2 rush yards per game (31st in the league). The Colts offense averaged 149.4 rush yards per game (second in the NFL) largely due to Jonathan Taylor (here is his fantasy outlook for 2022). In two games against the Texans last season, Taylor tallied 288 rushing yards on 46 carries and four rushing touchdowns. Taylor should have a field day on Sunday.
In addition, Indy no longer has to deal with Carson Wentz now that he is with the Washington Commanders. Matt Ryan will now be under center for the Colts. While many people have long had questions about Ryan and where he ranks among the quarterbacks in the NFL, he is unquestionably an upgrade over Wentz. The Colts have the better quarterback and overall roster. Indy should get off to a 1-0 start this season.
Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions (1:00 PM Sunday, FOX)
Philadelphia could win the NFC East this season and be a factor in the playoffs. And Jalen Hurts will be the key to any success the Eagles have in 2022. Hurts is capable of taking that next step forward and the Eagles have surrounded him with the talent to help him do so. This off-season Philly added Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Brown via a trade during the NFL draft.
The Detroit Lions went 3-13-1 last season and finished last in the NFC North. While they might show improvement this season, they are not better than the Eagles. Philly has the better roster and while some are wondering exactly how Hurts will fare this season, he is already better and more dependable than Jared Goff so the Eagles have the edge at the most important position.
Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks (Monday Night Football, ESPN)
One last game to focus on is the Monday Night Football game when the Denver Broncos and Russell Wilson travel to take on Wilson’s old team, the Seattle Seahawks. Both teams have some talented offensive weapons, and the Seahawks might have the edge there with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, but the Broncos have the better roster from top to bottom. And the Broncos decidedly have the advantage at quarterback.
Wilson and the Broncos shouldn’t have any issues with the Seahawks as they try to get off to a hot start and keep pace in the best division in the NFL.
Two other teams to consider in Week 1 for NFL survivor leagues are the San Francisco 49ers (at Chicago Bears) and Cincinnati Bengals (versus Pittsburgh Steelers). But, it might make sense to first see how Trey Lance performs before going with the 49ers in a knockout pool. And before picking against the Steelers, fans might want to see how Mitch Trubisky does in Pittsburgh.