NFL betting recap: What I learned in Week 1


T Shoe Index Team Adjustments After Week 1

If you’ve been following my work for any period of time, you’ve probably read my college football weekly recaps, where it’s not uncommon for a team’s power rating to fluctuate by a touchdown or more from week to week; however, in the NFL, there is a combination of less variance and more parity between teams that generally lends itself to much smaller adjustments on a weekly basis. This is also why you see most NFL spreads between 2.5 and 7, whereas in college you’ll see spreads in the 30s pretty much every week. That being said, let’s take a look at who my T Shoe Index upgraded and downgraded the most after Week 1.


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Teams I Upgraded in the T Shoe Index

Dallas Cowboys

If you have social media, you saw no less than 50 “We them ‘boys!” posts this weekend, and for good reason. The Dallas Cowboys absolutely embarrassed Daniel Jones and the New York Giants Sunday night, 40-0, as just a 3.5-point favorite. Understanding that power rating adjustments come when teams exceed or fail to meet the pregame expectations of the model, it’s easy to see why I upgraded Dallas a whopping 3.4 points after that performance, given that TSI only expected them to win by 2.2 points. The Cowboys have the No. 1 TSI offensive rating and the No. 2 defensive rating, making them the new No. 1 overall team in my ratings, up from No. 6. DraftKings Sportsbook is still offering Dallas at +900 to win the Super Bowl, if you were so inclined to strike while the iron is hot with the ‘Boys. 

Cleveland Browns

I was born and raised in southern Ohio, so my Bengals fandom runs deep. You can imagine the stoic expression on my face for three hours Sunday afternoon as the Cleveland Browns absolutely destroyed my beloved Bengals, 24-3, in Cleveland. It’s hard not to come away impressed with the Browns (elves?) after that game, as they suffocated the Bengals’ explosive passing attack all day long, while feeding Nick Chubb to the tune of 106 yards (5.9 YPC) on the ground. Cleveland got a nice 2.7-point bump from TSI for its performance and now sits inside the top 10 on both sides of the ball – No. 10 on offense and No. 7 on defense, netting out to No. 7 in the NFL. You can get the Browns at +200 to win the AFC North, where I currently have them just 0.1 points behind Baltimore for the division favorite. 

With only one data point this season, the obvious downgrades were the counterparts to my biggest upgrades: the New York Giants (down 3.9 points) and the Cincinnati Bengals (down 2.9 points); but let’s talk about some other teams that also underwhelmed in Week 1.

Teams I Downgraded in the T Shoe Index

Seattle Seahawks

If you tailed my picks from my NFL win totals best bets article, you were happy to see that the Seattle Seahawks lost outright as 4.5-point favorites at home this week, bringing us one game closer to cashing the under. Despite not being as high on Seattle as the market, I did have them projected to win by five this week, so this loss was just a cherry on top of the win total under sundae. I anticipated some regression coming for this team and for QB Geno Smith, in particular, and he threw for just 112 yards on 26 attempts with one touchdown in route to a 30-13 stomping by the LA Rams. Despite getting destroyed, Seattle got downgraded just 2.2 points overall and now has the 15th-rated TSI offense and the second-to-worst TSI defense, putting them at No. 25 overall in the NFL. 

Pittsburgh Steelers

While the T Shoe Index wasn’t necessarily high on the Pittsburgh Steelers in the preseason, it’s even lower on them now after a 30-7 home loss to the 49ers. QB Kenny Pickett threw 46 passes for 232 yards, just five yards per attempt, and the Steelers defense got gashed by Christian McCaffrey for 152 yards and a touchdown. The Steelers got downgraded 1.9 points for the (lack of) performance, now possessing the 4th-lowest TSI offensive rating in the league and just the 18th-best defensive rating, slotting them in at No. 26 overall, and way behind their three division rivals, who all sit in the TSI top 10 now. 

To get all of my T Shoe Index power ratings and projections on every game, you can find those here. Also, be sure to check out my college football power ratings and projections and follow me on X, @TShoeIndex.