The first NFL Sunday of 2022 ended with 11 of the 14 available playoff spots officially booked. 

We also saw several futures tickets cashed, including two division winners and the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC.

NFL favourites went 12-3 straight up, with the Cincinnati Bengals, Arizona Cardinals and Las Vegas Raiders all pulling off outright upsets. 

Meanwhile, it was a wild ride for fantasy football managers in the championship round.

If you made it that far, hopefully you didn’t have to face Ja’Marr Chase in the final. 

Here’s the TSN EDGE Morning Coffee for Monday Jan. 3, 2022. 

Packers now Super Bowl favourites

The Green Bay Packers beat up on the Minnesota Vikings 37-10 as a 12-point favourite to clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

Aaron Rodgers solidified his position as the MVP favourite with 288 passing yards and two touchdowns. 

Davante Adams delivered again for bettors and fantasy managers, finishing with 11 receptions for 136 yards and a touchdown. 

A.J. Dillon rumbled for 93 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns in the win. 

Green Bay, which opened the season at +1200 to win the Super Bowl, is now at the top of the board at +400 odds.

Meanwhile, Rodgers is now -400 to win MVP. Tom Brady (+550), Jonathan Taylor (+1400) and Joe Burrow (+1400) round out the top choices to win that award entering Week 18. 

Buccaneers rally without AB

Speaking of Brady, the 44-year-old rallied the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from down 14 points to beat the New York Jets 28-24 as a -900 favourite.

That comeback didn’t happen until after Tampa Bay lost Antonio Brown, who abruptly left the field in the middle of the game after a disagreement on the sideline. 

Head coach Bruce Arians confirmed after the game that Brown “is no longer a Buc.”

The Buccaneers had won 14 straight games with Brown in the lineup, including a 7-0 record this season.  

There’s no doubt that his talent will be missed, especially with Chris Godwin sidelined and Mike Evans dealing with nagging injuries.

However, it’s probably for the best that it happened on Sunday instead of in the middle of a playoff game, although I’m sure fantasy managers who missed out on a championship because Brown quit mid-game will disagree. 

Bengals, Titans clinch division titles

Cincinnati opened as high as 25-to-1 to win the AFC North this season.

In fact, you could have found them at that exact number after they opened the season with an overtime win over the Minnesota Vikings and a loss to the Chicago Bears.

The Bengals clinched the division title with a 34-31 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.

Joe Burrow threw for 446 yards and four touchdowns, becoming the first player in NFL history with 400 passing yards, four scores and zero interceptions in back-to-back games.

Rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase accounted for nearly 60 per cent of Burrow’s pass yard production, finishing with 11 receptions for a rookie single-game record 266 yards and three touchdowns. 

Chase needs just 45 more receiving yards to break Bill Gorman’s rookie record of 1,473 receiving yards, set all the way back in 1960. 

Chase’s historic performance was enough to push him past Mac Jones as the favourite to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

As of this morning, Chase is now -220 to win OROY.
Jones is now the second choice at +175. 

Cincinnati, which was a +160 money line underdog, won on a last-second field goal by Evan McPherson. 

While the Bengals clinched their first division title and playoff appearance since 2015, the Chiefs lost control of the No. 1 seed in the AFC with a loss and a win by the Tennessee Titans over the Miami Dolphins.

The Titans clinched the AFC South title with a 34-3 win over Miami as a three-point favourite.

Tennessee was -110 to win the AFC South entering the season. 

The Titans can clinch the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC, home-field advantage and a playoff bye with a win over the Houston Texans next week. Tennessee opened as a 10.5-point favourite.

Meanwhile, Kansas City needs a Titans’ loss and a win over the Denver Broncos to finish atop the AFC.

Monday Night Football preps

The Cleveland Browns will visit the Pittsburgh Steelers in the final stop of Week 17 tonight on Monday Night Football.

The Steelers are still technically still in contention for an AFC Wild Card spot, needing a win tonight to keep their hopes alive. 

The number for this game has moved in both directions since Pittsburgh opened -1. At one point, Cleveland was a 3.5-point favourite. 

As of this morning, the Steelers are a 1.5-point favourite, which is in large part because the Browns have already been eliminated from playoff contention. 

The Steelers beat Cleveland 15-10 in their first meeting back in Week 8, and anyone who buys the narrative that the team with something to play for will show up and get the job done has to love seeing Pittsburgh at such a short price.

Ben Roethlisberger is 25-2-1 against the Browns in his career, and there’s certainly something to the idea that his teammates will rally around him to help him get the win over Cleveland in his final game at Heinz Field. 

At the same time, I’m sure the Browns would like nothing better than to play spoiler against their AFC North rival in this spot.

In terms of a best bet, I’m going to watch closely to see what the numbers look like for running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, with the latter set to return from injury tonight. 

With Hunt’s status still not official, I don’t see rushing yards props for either Chubb or Hunt posted at this point. 

Once those numbers are available, I’ll post my best bet for Monday Night Football on Twitter. 

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