We are under way in the NFL in 2021 after a wild Thursday night opener, and now it’s time to get to the bulk of our Week 1 picks.
Tom Brady and the Bucs just pulled it out 31-29 against Dak Prescott and the Cowboys in a terrific curtain raiser to the new season.
Now we have a stacked slate of Sunday games, followed by the first Monday nighter of the year in Las Vegas of all places.
Here are our predictions for all of the remaining games in Week 1:
Sunday September 12
Seattle @ Indianapolis (1pm ET)
Indy has had a pretty worrisome offseason. Project Wentz (fixing Carson that is) has not started well – first he had surgery for a broken foot and then ended up in COVD protocol. All-world guard Quenton Nelson then freakishly got the same foot injury Wentz suffered. Throw in an injury to T.Y. Hilton and we worry how the Colts are gonna keep up in a shootout. Enter Russell Wilson, now back in the fold after all that offseason drama. Take the ‘Hawks to cover.
OddsCritic Pick: Seattle (-3)
Jacksonville @ Houston (1pm ET)
We can’t wait to see the Jags in 2021 (even without Tim Tebow). Trevor Lawrence is a generational talent at QB and Urban Meyer finally makes his pro coaching debut. Perfect starting point for Jacksonville too – against a woeful Houston team who could well finish 0-17. Three points should be straightforward to cover.
OddsCritic Pick: Jacksonville (-3)
Philadelphia @ Atlanta (1pm ET)
The Eagles are in full rebuild mode after ditching Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz. The Falcons are not quite there yet and still have a functional Matt Ryan and a potential superstar in new tight end toy Kyle Pitts. Go Falcons.
OddsCritic Pick: Atlanta (-3.5)
Los Angeles Chargers @Washington (1pm ET)
Great matchup this, genuinely pick ’em. Cases to be made for both teams – the Chargers are most hipsters’ offseason darlings, led by Justin Herbert. We believe Fitzmagic can roll back the years though to win this one, aided by a stout WFT defense.
OddsCritic Pick: Washington (-0)
Pittsburgh @ Buffalo (1pm ET)
The rumors of Pittsburgh’s demise may have been greatly exaggerated – I guess we’ll find out Sunday. Personally, we are not ready to declare the game is up for the excellent Mike Tomlin and his incredibly consistent record. The Steelers still have excellent weapons outside, Big Ben is likely to be upright for Week 1 and T.J. Watt is back after signing that $112million deal.
OddsCritic Pick: Pittsburgh (+6)
San Francisco @ Detroit (1pm ET)
Dan Campbell said Detroit are gonna ‘bite kneecaps’ if they need to in 2021, and we expect that to start in Week 1. It still won’t be enough – even with a 7.5-point start – to stop San Franciso. We like the Niners to win a hot NFC West, whoever is at QB. The fact they still have Garoppolo as well as Lance just increases our confidence that a good season is incoming.
OddsCritic Pick: San Francisco (-7.5)
Minnesota @ Cincinnati (1pm ET)
Minnesota was favorite to win the NFC North for about 10 minutes during the offseason – and then Aaron Rodgers kissed and made up with the Packers. Now the Vikes are very much second best in the betting, but we expect their defense to help them cover a three-point spread here. Against a Joe Burrow still feeling his way back after that horrific knee injury.
OddsCritic Pick: Minnesota (-3)
New York Jets @ Carolina (1pm ET)
We’re going with the safe option here, but not with any great level of confidence. Having Sam Darnold (up against his former team here) as the safe option is never great people. We are fascinated to see what the Jets are like, but it will take time.
OddsCritic Pick: Carolina (-4)
Arizona @ Tennessee (1pm ET)
The Titans have added Bud Dupree and Julio Jones as further blue-chip pieces to an already talented roster, and we expect them to start with a victory at home to the Cardinals. Sorry Kliff, the pain goes on.
OddsCritic Pick: Tennessee (-3)
Denver @ New York Giants (4.25pm ET)
The Giants were a half-point underdog when this spread line opened in May. Now it’s three points – welp. If you’re a fan of the G Men you should be worried at the thought Jason Garrett is the man tasked with fixing Daniel Jones. But we also should remember that this isn’t the Elway Broncos – it’s Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock. Take the start.
OddsCritic Pick: New York Giants (-3)
Cleveland @ Kansas City (4.25pm ET)
We love Baker Mayfield as an MVP candidate (still +3000 people), and so we of course like the Browns to go well in 2021. Cleveland only lost by 5 in the playoffs at Arrowhead last season, and they should cover a similar spread this time round.
OddsCritic Pick: Cleveland (+5.5)
Miami @ New England (4.25pm ET)
Bill Belichick had a busy offseason, with a massive spending spree in free agency and the anointing of first-round draft pick Mac Jones at QB, and a huge improvement on 7-9 will be expected. Miami on the other hand has a talented roster but a huge question mark against Tua – still. We’ll go with the Pats at home please.
OddsCritic Pick: New England (-3)
Green Bay @ New Orleans (4.25pm ET)
A month ago the spread for this game would have been very different. But then it looked like a) Jordan Love would start for Green Bay, and b) the game would be played in the Superdome.
Now Aaron Rodgers is back, and the game has been moved to Jacksonville due to weather concerns, we are all in on Green Bay to easily overcome Jameis Winston…
OddsCritic Pick: Green Bay (-4)
Chicago @ Los Angeles Rams (8.20pm ET)
The Bears are still talking about starting Andy Dalton at QB. He was very average in Dallas last season, and surely Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace should be hastening the start of the Justin Fields era? Rams, convincingly, thank you.
OddsCritic Pick: Los Angeles Rams (-7.5)