There’s nothing better than the first Sunday kickoffs, and BetMGM has you covered with a must-read breakdown of Week 1’s best games. We’re going BIG, with four previews instead of our usual three.
Uncover the best betting angles and latest news for Steelers vs. Bills, Cardinals vs. Titans, Packers vs. Saints and the Monday night battle of Ravens vs. Raiders.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Buffalo Bills
Sunday, September 12 | TV: CBS
Ben Roethlisberger is back under center for the Steelers, with expectations that his surgically repaired right elbow is in better shape than last season. Big questions swirl around Pittsburgh’s younger, inexperienced offensive line, which could struggle in the early going against the Bills’ improved defensive front that added rookie Greg Rousseau. Prized first-round pick Najee Harris makes his rushing debut and should be an exciting focal point as the Steelers look to provide a more balanced attack than relying strictly on their talented receiving core to move the chains.
The Bills have grand aspirations this season and anything less than a Super Bowl berth will be considered a disappointment. Quarterback Josh Allen gets a little extra receiving help as Emmanuel Sanders replaces John Brown in this potent Buffalo offense. The Bills won its past two showdowns with the Steelers, including a 26-15 win in Buffalo last season. Stefon Diggs scorched the Steel Curtain in that game for 10 catches, 130 yards and one touchdown. And with a capacity crowd in Orchard Park again, the Bills will have plenty of energy to fuel their D.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Tennessee Titans
Sunday, September 12 | TV: CBS
Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown, and now Julio Jones. The Titans’ offense got much more dangerous by adding the seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver with an offseason trade. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was officially activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list last week and will start in a very enticing matchup against the Cardinals’ inexperienced secondary, especially after veteran cornerback Malcolm Butler surprisingly retired at the end of August. A.J. Brown also returned to Titans practice this past week, clearing up any near-term doubts about the health of his knee. It’s “all systems go” for a potential shootout in Nashville.
Despite their advantage on offense, the AFC South champs will face a daunting task on the defensive side, as they try to contain Arizona’s dynamic scoring options among dual-threat quarterback Kyler Murray, All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins and the split backfield of Chase Edmonds/James Conner. The Titans’ defense ranked 28th last season in total yards allowed per game and were 29th against the pass. Even with a host of new starters to bolster their D, it remains to be seen whether the Titans can consistently stop opposing wideouts downfield.
Green Bay Packers vs. New Orleans Saints
Sunday, September 12 | TV: FOX
It might feel strange without Drew Brees as the quarterback fixture for New Orleans, but Jameis Winston has the arm strength and aggressiveness to keep the Saints offense humming. However, with Michael Thomas on the reserve/PUP list and Tre’Quan Smith battling a hamstring injury, the receiving weapons leave something to be desired. Aside from running back Alvin Kamara shouldering a bigger workload, second-year receiver Marquez Callaway will likely be heavily featured in the passing attack.
When these two squads last faced off in September 2020, the Packers escaped with a narrow 37-30 victory in a game that included six total passing touchdowns and no interceptions. Green Bay could have a bit more trouble racking up points this time around, as its reshuffled offensive line will be missing All-Pro pass blocker David Bakhtiari due to an ACL tear. It’s also worth noting that even though the Saints are the “home team,” this game will actually be played in Jacksonville, Florida, instead of the Superdome, due to the impact of Hurricane Ida. That’s welcome news for reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers, who won’t have to deal with as much crowd noise on his signal-calling attempts.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Las Vegas Raiders
Monday, September 13 | TV: ESPN / ABC
The Ravens were dealt an awful double-dose of bad injury news coming out of Thursday’s practice. Both running back Gus Edwards and cornerback Marcus Peters tore their ACLs and are done for the season before it even started. The Athletic has reported that the Ravens are finalizing a deal to add Latavius Murray to the mix, but in the meantime, it’ll be undrafted rusher Ty’Son Williams in the lead role. As Baltimore tries to regroup on offense and defense, Las Vegas should have a much easier time keeping pace on both ends of the field.
This will be the first time the Raiders’ brand-new home, Allegiant Stadium, will be packed with fans, so expect the Vegas faithful to be extremely amped up for the home opener. The Raiders will need second-year receivers Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards to take big steps forward after disappointing rookie campaigns. The duo should at least see softer coverage throughout this game without Peters manning one of the coverage slots for Baltimore.