From June 2: How to Find a Winner in Week 1

The sportsbook is now open for NFL Week 1 wagers, which begins in thirteen weeks. According to analysts on the NFL Network, ESPN, and FOX, every team has gotten better and, as such, are in the process of confusing the public for the first 3 – 4 weeks of the season. As past seasons have proven to us, these early games are always more difficult to handicap. Most teams are, in fact, not ready. Each team has a number of players who have suffered injuries during the off & pre-season which, in turn, causes teams to lack the timing, continuity and execution of plays that we, the public, see during the first 3-4 weeks.

Every team wants an elite QB for one reason and one reason only: they win the big games. The teams with newly drafted QBs hope that their new stars will develop past their college days, while other teams who have traded for a more established QB keep their fingers crossed that a new QB will elevate an organization. The last three years have turned the NFL upside down, between the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the transition of a newer playing style within the NFL (pass now, pass later and pass again). Up to now, a majority of the teams have drafted or traded QBs. We are now faced with the question: Who do we like in Week 1? The answer lies in finding a good team that will be ready to roll on Week 1.

Let’s take a look at each starting QBs record as a starter in the regular season.
E*= Elite QB

NFC East
Dallas Cowboys: Dak Prescott (53 – 32)
Philadelphia Eagles: Jalen Hurts (9 – 10)
Washington Commanders: Carson Wentz (44 – 40)
New York Giants: Daniel Jones (8 – 18)

NFC North
Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rogers (139 – 66 – 1) E*
Minnesota Vikings: Kirk Cousins 59 (59 – 2)
Chicago Bears: Justin Fields ( 2 – 8 )
Detroit Lions: Jared Goff (45 – 37 – 1)

NFC South
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tom Brady (243 – 73) E*
New Orleans Saints: Andy Dalton (77 – 69 – 2), Blake Bortles (24 – 49), and Jamesis Winston (33 – 44)
Atlanta Falcons: Marcus Mariota (37 – 37)
Carolina Panthers: Sam Darnold (17 – 32

NFC West
LA Rams: Mathew Stafford (86 – 95 – 1) E*
Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray (22 – 23 – 1)
San Francisco 49ers: Jimmy Garoppolo (33 – 14) E*
Seattle Seahawks: Drew Lock (8 – 10)

AFC East
Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen (39 – 21) E*
New England Patriots: Mac Jones (10 – 7)
Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa ( 13 – 8 )
New York Jets: Zach Wilson (3 – 10)

AFC North
Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow (12 – 13)
Pittsburgh Steelers: Mitch Trubisky (20 – 21) and Kenny Pickett (Rookie, No Record Yet)
Cleveland Browns: Deshaun Watson (28 – 25) and Jacoby Brissett (14 – 23)
Baltimore Ravens: Lamar Jackson ( 37 – !2 ) E*

AFC South
Tennessee Titans: Ryan Tannehill (72 – 59)
Indianapolis Colts: Matt Ryan (120 – 102)
Houston Texans: Davis Mills (2 – 9)
Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence (3 – 14)

AFC West
Kansas City Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes (58 – 15) E*
Las Vegas Raiders: Derek Carr (57 – 70)
LA Chargers: Justin Herbert (15 – 17)
Denver Broncos: Russell Wilson (104 – 53 – 1) E*

We call these 8 QBs elite because they win more times than they lose. When they win, we win.

These 8 QBs (Rogers, Brady, Stafford, Garoppolo, Allen, Jackson, Mahomes, and Wilson) know how to win. Here are their matchups for Week 1.

Bills vs Rams in LA.
Ravens vs Jets in New York.
Chiefs vs Cardinals in Arizona
Broncos vs Seahawks in Seattle
Packers vs Vikings in Minnesota
Buccaneers vs Cowboys in Dallas
49ers vs Bears in Chicago

The list of 8 included Mathew Stafford for a number of reasons. In his 12 years with Detroit, he led the league with 38 comeback wins, 31 of them were in the 4th quarter. His trade to the Rams that culminated in a win at the Super Bowl shows us he belongs in this group.

Unofficially we can add Joe Burrows and Deshaun Watson to this list, if they play to form this coming season. That’s for another time and another post.

Let’s return to the list and look at one the mentioned games. The 49ers are in Chicago against a team in transition. The Bears have a new GM and HC. They lost Khalil Mack on defense, Tarik Cohen at RB and their # 1 receiver Allen Robinson. Justin Fields is their 2nd year QB and lost to the 49ers 33 – 22 last year. The Bears had no first round draft pick and predicted to win 6 ½ games in the over / under total win wager for the 2022 season.

On the flip side, the 49ers finished the 2021 season on fire, winning 4 of their last 5 games. They have 2 starting QBs, which is a problem for them and us. Jimmy Garoppolo is competing with Trey Lance to become the starting QB. Our choice is Jimmy G, because he wins games. He is 3 – 0 lifetime vs Chicago, which includes a 33 – 22 win in 2021. As a starter, he is 33 – 14. The down side on Jimmy G is his inability to stay healthy enough to play. San Francisco have a better team. They are loaded with stars. Beeboo Samuel, George Kittle, Nick Bosa and more.

The line is currently – 6 ½ for the 49ers and – 280 on the money line. Of the games we listed, this is certainly one of the better match ups to keep an eye on.

We zeroed in on this game and the other six as ones to give you a head start for 2022. This season, seven of the eight teams with a winning QB open on the road in week 1. At PFWW, we give you our pick, and the many reasons why. Come back every Wednesday now until September, as we put you ahead of the curve in Betting the NFL.

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