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NFL Week 0ne 2021 Picks (post opener)

September 12th, 2021

Here’s the deal. It’s week one. I don’t know anything. You don’t know anything. No one really knows anything. Not anything real, I mean. We think we know stuff, because of last season and the preseason and all of that. But we don’t. We never do.

So here’s what not to expect. Or maybe it’s what to expect. Or something in between. I don’t know.

Philadelphia (+3) at Atlanta
At least from the outside, the 2021 Falcons look pretty similar to the slightly less than mediocre 2020 Falcons. Then again, while the Eagles look better this year than last, they could hardly look otherwise. I suspect the home team with no defense starts out with a win against a visiting team with no offense. But I’ll hedge and take Philly to keep it close. Falcons by a point.

Pittsburgh (+6.5) at Buffalo
The Steelers are probably just good enough to keep the AFC North competitive. Which should mean they’re just good enough to keep this game competitive. But they’re probably not good enough to win their division or their opening game. Bills by four.

Minnesota (-3) at Cincinnati
The Vikings may have improved some since last year. The Bengals, it appears, have not. Minnesota by six.

San Francisco (-8.5) at Detroit
The Lions are still the Lions. San Fran by seven.

Arizona (+3) at Tennessee
One or both of these teams may see its defense round into form as the season progresses. But almost no NFL defense ever starts the season fully ready to play its best football. Bet the over. Home team by six.

Seattle (-3) at Indianapolis
The Colts look like one of those teams that gets just enough right to make its struggles all the more painful. Seattle by a touchdown.

LA Chargers (+1.5) at Washington
The Chargers are probably (certainly?) the better team in this matchup. But not by enough to win in an opening weekend visit to a decent east coast team. Brand X by a field goal.

NY Jets (+3.5) at Carolina
This is a good matchup to get out of the way early. Home team by five.

Jacksonville (-3) at Houston
One of these teams has to not lose. I don’t know which it will be. But I know the Texans look extra awful. So I’ll guess Jacksonville ends up the non-loser. Let’s say by a point.

Cleveland (+5.5) at Kansas City
The consensus is that the Browns are good, but not quite good enough to keep up with a team like the C-suites. And that’s probably true on opening weekend. But I think it’s closer than most imagine. Kansas City by three.

Miami (+3) at New England
Watching the Dolphins-Patriots series bookend the teams’ seasons should be interesting. Come week 18, the emphasis may well have shifted to defense. But I’ll take the team with the stronger offense to win the opener. Patriots by six.

Green Bay (-3.5) vs. New Orleans at Jacksonville
It doesn’t really matter where this game is being played. The Saints have too much work to do. Green Bay by nine. (The media will be talking about the inevitability of a Packers Super Bowl championship by the time the day is out.)

Denver (-3) at NY Giants
The Giants may not be a great team, but this looks like one of those seasons when they turn out to be better than anyone expected. New Jersey by three.

Chicago (+8) at LA Rams
I’ve never been terribly impressed with Andy Dalton. I don’t expect that to change now. Rams by 14.

Baltimore (-4) at Las Vegas
The Ravens are clearly the better team here. Maybe it’s close through the first half. But it won’t be close down the stretch. Baltimore by 12.

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