One of the best ways to get a feel for handicapping NFL games is through past performance. When one team has had an edge in recent years on its opponent, it can be hard for the losing team to turn it around.
However, when that losing team improves its personnel or brings in a new coaching staff, it may be able to turn things around.
In this piece, we look at several NFL matchups in Week 1 and deliver some of the most significant numbers and trends in those meetings.
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns
Quick research points out that Cleveland has won 5 of the last 6 meetings. The Browns have won the last 5 games in Cleveland. Cincinnati has not won a game in Cleveland since 2017.
The Bengals are 2.5-point favorites in this game, so it might be a good opportunity for Cleveland bettors to take advantage. The Bengals clearly have the talent edge in this matchup, but that has been the case for several years. The Browns simply get pumped up to play their in-state rivals, and that should be the case again here.
The Bengals will have plenty of time to make up for an early-season misstep, and head coach Zac Taylor should not worry if his team struggles in this game.
Detroit Lions at Kansas City Chiefs
This is the regular-season opener, and it’s one that makes us think the NFL really believes in the Detroit Lions. Matching them against the Super Bowl champions seems a bit of a reach, but the Lions closed the 2022 season by winning 8 of their final 10 games.
Most of those games were not against teams that were of the quality of the Chiefs. But now the Lions are on the big stage. The Chiefs have beaten the Lions in 6 of the last 8 meetings, and the Chiefs understand how to beat the Lions at home. They have won 6 of the 7 meetings in Kansas City, and the only Lions win in Kansas City was a 7-6 triumph in 1988.
The Lions were 2-3 against AFC opponents last season, while the Chiefs were 6-0 against NFC opponents. The last of those victories was a 38-35 triumph over the Eagles in the Super Bowl.
Going back even further, the Chiefs are 18-1 in their last 19 games vs. NFC opponents.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings
These former division rivals – the Bucs played in the NFC Central division for many years – have been infrequent rivals in recent seasons. They have played only three times since the start of the 2014 season, and the Vikings have won two of those matchups.
The two teams last played in Minnesota in 2017, and the Vikings rolled to a 34-17 victory.
The Bucs opened the 2022 season by winning their first 2 games on the road but fell apart when playing away from home after that. They dropped 5 of their next 6 games away from home. That was with Tom Brady at quarterback, and that is clearly not the case this season as Brady has finally retired.
On the other hand, the Vikings were dominant at home in the regular season. They won 7 of their 8 home games, and that should be an area they can excel at in 2023. The Vikings scored 33 points or more in 3 of their last 4 home victories, and a high-scoring game here seems likely.
Buffalo Bills at New York Jets
These two ancient rivals have been going at it since their days in the American Football League, and there has always been an intense amount of dislike between those two rivals. The Bills have been a near-elite team in the AFC for the last 4 seasons, while the Jets believe they can get to that level this year.
They finally have their elite quarterback, having traded for Aaron Rodgers. In addition to Rodgers, the Jets also have one of the best defenses in the league. That could help them as they open the season at home on Monday night.
This series has belonged to the Bills, having won 13 of the last 19 meetings. They have also done quite well on the road, having won 4 of the last 5 games between the 2 teams at MetLife Stadium.
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