Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season provided some extremely entertaining games (Pittsburgh Steelers at the Cincinnati Bengals was wildly fun to watch) questionable coaching decisions (Steelers at the Bengals and some head-scratching clock management by Nathaniel Hackett which played a big part in the Denver Broncos losing Monday night) and gutsy coaching decisions (Brian Daboll). But, Thursday night, Week 2 of the NFL season will begin. Below are some knockout/survivor league top picks for Week 2 of the 2022 NFL season, in no particular order.
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Top Picks for 2022 NFL Week 2 2022 Survivor League
Los Angeles Rams Versus Atlanta Falcons (4:05 PM, Sunday, FOX)
Sure, the Los Angeles Rams got crushed, 31-10, by the Buffalo Bills Thursday night, in the first game of the 2022 season. But it was only Week 1 and in the past, a lot of teams have been able to right the ship after a peculiar Week 1 loss. Plus, the Bills are probably the best team in the NFL. The Atlanta Falcons once again blew a fourth-quarter lead after they allowed Jameis Winston and the New Orleans Saints to score 17 unanswered points.
Aaron Donald should have a field day against a weak Falcons offensive line. Matthew Stafford might have thrown three picks against the Bills, but the Falcons secondary (and defense as a whole) is not nearly the same as the Bills. Stafford and the entire Rams team should have a nice bounce-back game this week.
The (almost) inevitable win by the Rams will not mean that Los Angeles is all of a sudden back to being one of the favorites in the NFC (though the NFC is not exactly loaded with top teams) since the Falcons will most likely have one of the top picks in the 2023 NFL Draft. But it will get them back to .500.
Cincinnati Bengals at Dallas Cowboys (4:25 PM, Sunday, CBS)
The Bengals might have gone all Bungles against the Steelers in Week 1 and found multiple ways to give away the game to Pittsburgh. But Joe Burrow will not cough up the ball five times in Week 2 like he did against the Steelers last week.
And now the Cowboys will be without quarterback Dak Prescott after he suffered an injury to his thumb on this throwing hand in Dallas’ game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (here is how Prescott’s injury will impact Ezekiel Elliot in fantasy football). The Bengals were the more talented of the two teams coming into the season and now that Prescott has been sidelined, that gap in talent is even wider. The Bengals will have one of the better young quarterbacks in the league in Joe Burrow under center while the Cowboys will have Cooper Rush as their starting quarterback.
Cincinnati is currently a seven-point favorite and even though the NFL has more parity on a weekly basis, than college football, that still feels too low. Cincinnati will easily win by more than seven points and cover.
Pittsburgh Steelers Versus New England Patriots (1:00 PM, Sunday, CBS)
The Steelers did not come into the 2022 season as one of the favorites in the stacked AFC. But Mike Tomlin is a really good coach (who has never finished a season below .500 while he has been the head coach in Pittsburgh) and the Steelers made the playoffs last season with the ghost of Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback. Even if neither Mitch Trubisky, who is currently starting nor Kenny Pickett is a future Hall of Famer, both can bring more to the table this season than Big Ben did in 2021. So, it is likely that the Steelers are a better team in 2022 than they were last season.
T.J. Watt will miss at least the next four games and that is a significant loss for Pittsburgh. But the New England Patriots are a mess on offense right now so the Steelers defense should not have any problems this week. Maybe the Patriots right the ship at some point during the season and have an identity on offense, but that will not happen this week. While the Steelers seem to be in a position to be a better team in 2022 than they were in 2021, the Patriots are trending the wrong way. After New England made the playoffs last season with a rookie quarterback, they look poised to finish with a worse record this year and miss the postseason. This will probably be a fairly low-scoring game, but the Steelers will emerge with a win. Here are some best bets and a fantasy preview for this matchup.
Other teams to focus on are the Broncos at home over the Houston Texans (the Broncos should bounce back from their head-scratching loss to the Seattle Seahawks Monday night), the Bills at home over the Tennesee Titans, and the Cleveland Browns at home over the New York Jets.