NFL 2022 Week 1 Matchup Preview: Top 5 Games To Watch
There have been major transactions this offseason with some of the biggest NFL teams. Notably, Russell Wilson joined the Denver Broncos and Tyreek Hill joined the Miami Dolphins on a massive four-year, $120 million deal. Hill has recorded 2,500 yards and 24 touchdowns over the last two seasons for the Chiefs. Without him on the roster, how will the Chiefs pan out this season beginning with a Week 1 matchup against the star-studded Arizona Cardinals?
Likewise, Davante Adams left the Green Bay Packers to join the Raiders. We'll take a look at the offseason moves made by all the teams involved in the five matchups we've selected as the best to watch in Week 1 of the 2022 NFL Season.
2022 NFL Week 1 Matchup Previews
Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Rams
The Bills fell short of reaching the Super Bowl last season, losing 24-38 to the Chiefs in the NFL Conference Championship. This offseason, the Bills didn’t make too many moves in comparison to the offseason activity of other NFL teams. They did add veteran LB Von Miller who played last season with the Rams and was a difference-maker on defense. The Bills also added WR Jamison Crowder to their roster to fill Cole Beasley’s role, who the team released after the 2021 campaign. Crowder played for the Jets over the last three years where he amassed 1,979 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. He was even more efficient as a pass-catcher for Washington in the years prior. In the 2020 season, he averaged 14.0 yards per catch for the Jets. As a replacement for Cole Beasley, the Bills certainly made a wise move by scooping up Crowder on a one-year deal. The Rams’ biggest move this offseason was signing veteran wideout Allen Robinson to a three-year deal worth $46.5 million. This AFC-NFC clash of two championship contenders is without a doubt one of the most exciting games to look forward to in Week 1. The reigning Super Bowl champs have the edge offensively with Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and Allen Robinson despite Buffalo’s potent offense. Stefon Diggs will continue to serve as Josh Allen’s go-to target when the Bills head to SoFi Field to take on future Hall-of-Fame defensive stalwart, Aaron Donald, and the rest of the Los Angeles Rams.
Prediction: 27-24 Bills
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
The Packers lost big this offseason. Notably, they have had to replace their entire receiving core. Green Bay lost Davante Adams, Equinimous St. Brown, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling for the 2022 NFL season. Fortunately, they still have their guy Aaron Rodgers. However, after not addressing the wide receiver position in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, Sammy Watkins, Allen Lazard, and second-round pick Christian Watson are the Packers’ best available receivers heading into the 2022 season. Green Bay still has a great one-two punch in the backfield with Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon but this team may not be as explosive on offense without Adams running routes for Rodgers. Meanwhile, the Vikings are looking to close the gap in the NFC North division behind Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, and even third-year tight end, Irv Smith Jr. Smith missed the entirety of last season after a decent rookie season. If Smith can emerge as a true red-zone threat for the Vikings, Minnesota could be in business.
Prediction: 30-24 Packers
Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers
Fans will be excited for a rematch of the Week 18 overtime thriller and a regular-season finale that resulted in the Raiders eliminating the Chargers from the postseason while punching their ticket to the playoffs. Although Vegas was defeated by the Cincinnati Bengals on Super Wild Card Weekend, the Chargers are surely licking their chops as they hope to get revenge on Derek Carr. The Chargers are one of the most improved teams of the past few years in large part due to franchise quarterback Justin Herbert’s emergence. Austin Ekeler remains an absolute stud capable of catching tons of passes out of the backfield and running in between the tackles with the football. With Keenan Allen and Mike Williams still serving as the Chargers’ top two wide receivers, second-year wideout Joshua Palmer could take a substantial step forward in 2022. Palmer hauled in 33 receptions for 353 yards and four touchdowns in his rookie season. If he takes that next step in Year 2, the Chargers’ offense can be incredibly scary.
Meanwhile, Davante Adams will make his regular-season debut in black and silver. Derek Carr should see a slight uptick in production given the fact that he’s never played with a receiver even close to as talented as Adams. Not to mention, the Raiders still have superstar Darren Waller at tight end and bruising running back Josh Jacobs in the backfield. While the Chargers are clearly the superior and more well-rounded team, this is going to be a fun game to watch between these two AFC-West rivals.
Prediction: 31-21 Chargers
Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks
One of the most shocking moves this offseason was Russell Wilson’s departure from the Seahawks to go to the Denver Broncos. He joins a young core of fast and explosive wide receivers featuring Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, and K.J. Hamler. Jeudy was limited last season due to injury but recorded 856 receiving yards and 16.5 yards per catch in his rookie season. The Alabama product is going to be a monster this season with Wilson under center, throwing him dimes downfield. Jeudy could be the new Tyler Lockett.
There will be high-octane energy in the building for Rusell Wilson’s first return to Seattle since being traded to the Broncos. Surely, Pete Carroll would love to ruin Wilson's triumphant return with an upset victory. The Seahawks will likely be starting Drew Lock at quarterback, which is a major downgrade from Wilson. Hopefully, Lock can be decent enough for Seattle to make use of its star-studded receiving core featuring Lockett and DK Metcalf. Lockett has recorded 1,000+ yards and at least eight touchdowns in each of the last three seasons.
Prediction: 21-17 Broncos
Arizona Cardinals at Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City has lost big this offseason. Specifically, the Chiefs lost Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins, who inked a four-year $120 million (with $72.2 million guaranteed) deal with the three-time All-Pro first-team wideout. Elsewhere, the Chiefs lost Tyrann Matthieu to the New Orleans Saints, which will be a massive loss of a leader and fantastic player on their defense. Besides that, both teams still have some of the best offenses in the league. The Cardinals didn’t have to add much to their already incredible offense with Kyler Murray, Deandre Hopkins, and Marquise Brown looking potentially more lethal than the Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce duo heading into this season. Not all is lost for the Chiefs’ offense. They added Juju Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling to their roster. This won’t replace Tyreek Hill, but it does provide Patrick Mahomes with solid options to throw the ball too. This will make for a great early between two star-studded rosters in Week 1.
Prediction: 24-21 Chiefs
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