Football is back! And those Sunday games went exactly how we all anticipated they would, right?
We saw upset wins for the Bears and Steelers in the early games plus that tie between the Colts and Texans which makes it nine seasons in a row without a week one win for Indy. The Saints and Eagles were also pushed closer than they would have liked by teams they were expected to beat comfortably in the Falcons and Lions. The late kickoffs went a little more to script with the only real upset being the Giants coming back from 13-0 down at half time to beat the Titans.
Overreacting to a week one loss is what we all do best and this time it will be fans of the Packers, Bengals and 49ers that will be most worried. These three teams should all be fine though and I think they will all bounce back next week. Burrow isn’t turning the ball over five times again, the 49ers won’t be playing on an underwater pitch and the Packers will hope to get their starting tackles and Allen Lazard back from injury. If we are sitting here this time next week looking at back to back losses then that might be the time for real concern.
On to tonight’s game and the opening Monday Night Football of the season brings with it a lot of firsts. Russell Wilson’s first game as a Bronco is also his first game back in Seattle as a visiting quarterback, it’s Nathaniel Hackett’s first game as an NFL head coach and for Seattle it’s their first season without Wilson as the starting QB since they drafted him in 2012. And to add to all of that it’s my first time writing one of these game previews, which all being well, I will be doing for all the Monday and Thursday games for the 2022 season.
Broncos -6.5 @ Seahawks: 44.5
Say what you want about the NFL but they do a great job of making sure we always have something to talk about. For a prime time game this matchup is not very exciting on paper but the Russell Wilson narrative should be enough to keep us interested.
The Seahawks have been perennial playoff contenders since drafting Wilson in 2012 and really should have had back to back Super Bowls within his first three years. But after not returning to the NFC Championship game since that 2014 loss and posting the first losing record of Wilson’s career last season, it was obvious something had to give in Seattle.
The Broncos were seemingly just a quarterback away from being a contender themselves and so were always among the favourites to make a move for Wilson. Since trading for him they signed him to a five year, $245 million contract extension, so they better hope he has the same impact Peyton Manning did a decade ago.
After allowing the second lowest points total to opposing teams last season the popular opinion was that the Broncos were just a QB away from competing. They have one now in Wilson and will want to hit the ground running to keep competitive in the tough AFC West.
I think that after the investment in Wilson and with Hackett coming from an offense that was led by Aaron Rodgers, the Broncos will sway towards a pass heavy offense, at least when it comes to touchdown scoring. With Wilson also wanting to prove a point against Seattle I think the over on 1.5 passing touchdowns in this game should be fairly safe. SkyBet are offering Wilson 300+ passing yards and 2+ passing touchdowns as a 9/2 price boost which might be worth a look.
Of the receivers I like Courtland Sutton the most and would be looking at him to hit the over in this game as I don’t think the Seahawks have anyone that can stop him. But the line has been going up over the last few days and it’s still not clear if Wilson will favour him or Jeudy so I think it’s going to be a case of waiting to see how this one plays out.
Unfortunately we also probably need to see what happens with the backfield in this game before targeting it. Javonte Williams was everyones favourite rookie running back last year and I personally have a few fantasy shares in him but Melvin Gordon is too good to just sit around as a backup so will surely continue to be involved this season. Gordon’s rushing line is at 38.5 and Williams’ is at 58.5 so I would be looking at the over on Gordon there but again this might not be the time to back it.
After surprisingly not being in the market for a new QB, Seattle are left with Geno Smith and Drew Lock this year, with Smith winning the job for week one. He didn’t look all that bad when standing in for Wilson last season but he is 13-21 as a starter and there’s a reason for that. One of the positives for Smith last season was that he showed a good connection with DK Metcalf and I like him to go over 55.5 receiving yards in this game (Bet365). I also don’t mind Metcalf to score a touchdown at around 2/1 but it’s hard to project Seattle getting too many points in this one.
As usual Pete Carroll is going to look to run the ball as much as possible and with Kenneth Walker not yet back in practice after hernia surgery, the backfield should be all Rashaad Penny’s in this game. Penny was lights out as the starter for the final five games of last season, averaging over 130 yards and 1.2 touchdowns per game. But in this game you have to assume the Broncos will be up early and they should have too much for the Seattle offensive line so so I’d lean the under, 69.5 with Paddy Power seems to be the highest line.
Unsurprisingly the Broncos are strong favourites for this game and the line has only been moving one way. It’s hard to not see them winning but I have a sneaky feeling that Seattle keep it competitive so I’m not convinced they cover. I would also sway towards the under on 44.5 but that depends on how much of a show Russ wants to put on back in Seattle so probably another I’d avoid.