The NFL opening weekend was a lot of fun. We saw Tom Brady being Tom Brady, Kyler Murray flashing brilliance, Josh Allen possibly regressing, and Derek Carr besting Lamar Jackson.
It was a bit of a silly result to many of us for this weekend, but we weathered the storm, in the end. Last season, We were over 52% on our picks for the year, but it had its highs and lows, as will happen every season.
Last week, we ended up going 7-9 for the week, but rallied to win our last three on the week. The Eagles, Jets, 49ers, and Seahawks were our only four wins through the first 13 games. Fortunately, the Broncos, Rams, and Raiders all won outright for us, as the final three games covered by a combined total of 33 points.
This week, we’ll be going with another two-part article, as we’ll cover the first eight games of the week in this article and the last eight in part two.
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Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
Giants at Washington -3.5
Last week, the WFT was very close to beating the Chargers at home, doomed by the loss of Ryan Fitzpatrick. As unlikely as it was, Justin Herbert surprised the world again, finishing the day with 12 completions on third or fourth down and the highest passer rating in the league on both.
Despite the WFT defense playing well, Herbert rose above it and snatched away a victory in challenging circumstances. The Giants, on the other hand, were just as we expected: an abhorrent mess. Aside from the numerous coaching blunders, the Giants looked out of sorts for nearly the full duration of their opener in Denver.
Given the bad luck the WFT dealt with in Week 1, they stand a much more competent and well-prepared team heading into this Week 2 matchup with the Giants. Defensively, the WFT should feast on the disjointed Giants offense and stand well-positioned to capitalize on the plethora of Daniel Jones mistakes soon to come.
Even without Ryan Fitzpatrick, I still like the WFT to control the line of scrimmage and force the issue in this game.
WFT 23 Giants 10
Bills at Dolphins +3.5
It’s important to remember the NFL is a week-to-week league. Matchups matter, schemes matter, and tempo matter. History also plays a big part. Last season, the Dolphins’ season was ended at the hands of the Buffalo second string in humiliating fashion.
This time around, the Dolphins appear to be much more composed on offense and feature a more dangerous group of skill position players in this matchup. Despite the Bills’ letdown in Week 1, it’s important to note the Steelers’ defense, when healthy, is a top 4 unit.
I like the Dolphins at home, getting 3.5 points. I can’t imagine the Bills, with the way they looked in Week 1, would suddenly start firing on all cylinders. Miami’s offense is versatile, the fans are thirsty, and revenge will be front and center.
Dolphins 26 Bills 23
Saints at Panthers +3.5
The Saints did very few things wrong in Week 1. It’s hard to identify what went wrong, but very easy to see what went right. The pass rush was great. The run defense was also solid. Alvin Kamara was tremendous, while Jameis Winston did a great job not forcing the ball anywhere.
The Panthers did well to stay away from the headlines in Week 1. They played a controlled, safe style in the opener and were fortunate to hold-on late against the Jets. Despite all their weapons on offense, the rhythm does not appear to be quite there yet.
The Saints were a solid team last season. Even though it’s only been a week, it’s clear they have an identity they’re honing-in on. We can’t say the same for the Panthers. They still appear to be very focused on McCaffrey, but the rest of the offense has some work to do getting in-synch.
Saints 30 Panthers 27
Broncos -6 at Jaguars
The Broncos had an optimistic disposition heading into 2021. They felt Teddy Bridgewater was enough to get this offense into contention and Week 1 (and the Giants) did little to disprove that. The Jaguars did immeasurable damage to their perception in Week 1.
In fact, they damaged their own team in such a bad way, it’s going to take a few solid performances from them (and competent coaching) to change our minds on the matter. The Jaguars were facing the worst rush defense from 2020 and ran the ball zero times on the first two drives.
This kind of incompetence in coaching (in my opinion) has not been seen on opening day of the NFL season for at least a quarter century.
As much as I don’t have a lot of confidence in the Broncos overall, this matchup is just too appealing. I expect the Broncos to absolutely smash the Jaguars this week. Even with Trevor Lawrence at QB, the Jaguars have a long way to go to even be considered a threat to most teams.
Broncos 34 Jaguars 14
Bengals at Bears -2.5
The Bengals beat their NFC Doppelganger in Week 1, hanging-on late to seal the win in OT. The Bears played like a very conservative, very lame team we’ve come to expect from Matt Nagy. The QB was limited, the playcalling was bad, and the defense was ripped to shreds by the Rams in Week 1.
Looking ahead, the Bengals will face a much more challenging test this week from a superior defense to the Vikings. The Bears need to be weary of the deep passing ability of Joe Burrow, but the more critical issue will be slowing the Bengals’ run game.
Joe Mixon isn’t a guy you hear a lot about, but he’s been steadily good for the past four years, and he’s probably got the best offensive line he’s had in his career (sadly). The thing to pay attention to here is the usage of Justin Fields. Though the Bengals can be a little vanilla defensively, they have bright spots along their front and at safety.
If Justin Fields can get more snaps this week, I love the offensive versatility and feel it could propel the Bears at home.
Bears 23 Bengals 20
Texans at Browns -12.5
I’ll save you the trouble: Browns by 20+. Last week, the Browns choked away a big lead at Arrowhead, despite playing an overall great game. Two late miscues were the reason for the collapse, but we should all be impressed the Browns seemed to have picked up where they left off in 2020.
The Texans were gifted a lopsided victory last week. They faced an inept coach, didn’t even have to stop the run (testing their biggest weakness), and managed three picks against an offense telegraphing their every move.
Smash the Browns this week with confidence. Their rushing attack matches perfectly against the Texans awful run defense, and Stefanski is nowhere as dumb and stubborn as Urban Meyer. Expect over 40 rush attempts and a drubbing in Cleveland.
Browns 37 Texans 13
Rams at Colts +3.5
The Rams looked great last week. Stafford finally looks like he has a complete team around him. Despite the offensive efficiency, we have to highlight the run defense. In a very uncharacteristic display, the Rams did not look good defending the run. Though they weren’t challenged through the air, they allowed way too much space on the ground.
The Colts had a few gaffes in the passing game, but played an otherwise decent game defensively. Last season, they were a balanced offense, led by a superior run game, anchored by a solid defense. We’ve yet to see them really click thus far, but something doesn’t smell right with this line.
Like the Raiders game a week ago, I’d expect this to be a much bigger line in favor of the Rams. That being said, I like the Colts to narrowly cover at home, thanks to a strong performance on the ground on offense.
Rams 25 Colts 24
Patriots -5.5 at Jets
The Patriots really lacked offensive punch last week. Last week was a trench warfare-type battle in the opener. Had it not been for the late fumble, the Patriots would’ve likely made the short field goal and put the pressure on the Dolphins on their final drive.
The Jets looked a bit uncomfortable throughout most of the game Sunday but bounced back and nearly made things really interesting late. This week, the Jets host the Patriots in a crucial early test. Given the new personnel (HC and QB), I don’t like the Jets’ chances.
Bill Belichik is 21-6 vs rookie QBs. Although, he is only 8-6 against them on the road. For the Jets to cover here, Zach Wilson has to be great. Despite the correct call on the Jets covering a week ago, I don’t feel as strongly about them this week. Expect a low-scoring game, but one where the Pats frustrate and thwart the Jets on offense, all day.
Patriots 23 Jets 16