Week 2 Picks & Week 1 Takeaways - 2021 NFL Season
By Brandon Caputo & Miklos McMaster
Photo Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty
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Week 2 Picks
Week 1 in the 2021 NFL Season has come and gone. Many fans, fantasy football teams, daily gamblers, and NFL teams are either extremely happy or extremely disappointed with their performances but luckily 1 week does not make or break a season.
It is either up or down from here, in reference to our Week 1 picks luckily it cant get any worse so there is plenty of room for improvement as all 0-1 teams coaching staffs are preaching during this week of preparation.
We are "throwing the tape out" to use a football analogy as both hosts spreads were equally disappointing as the Packers & Falcons' offenses in their opening games.
Courtesy: FOX Sports
Week 1 Spreads
Week 1 Over/Under's
Most confident picks of the week
Gold Pick: San Francisco over Detroit ✔️
Silver Pick: Minnesota over Cincinnati ❌
Bronze Pick: Seattle over Indianapolis ✔️
Gold Pick: Green Bay over New Orleans ❌
Silver Pick: New England over Miami ❌
Bronze Pick: LA Rams over Chicago ✔️
Denver Broncos (6.0) vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Over/Under 45.5 Total Points
Miklos: Den Over 45.5
Denver looked sharp in Week 1 and looked like the team I expected them to be last year before being decimated by injuries. Jacksonville still looks like they have a long way to go in a convincing defeat to Houston. Urban Meyer and Trevor Lawrence better be ready for their second helping of humble pie.
Brandon: Den Under 45.5
I expect a bounce-back performance in the Home Opener for 1st Overall Pick Trevor Lawrence, new Head Coach Urban Meyer, & the whole team after an embrassing divisional loss to the projected worst team in the league this year: the Deshaun Watson-less Houston Texans. With that being said, I still expect Denver to win this game by at least a touchdown.
A solid performance in Week 1 for Teddy Bridgewater & although they lost young star WR Jerry Jeudy to injury, I expect Vic Fangio's defense to cause the young Jaguars team many problems in a low scoring affair.
Buffalo Bills (3.5) vs Miami Dolphins
Over/Under 48.0 Total Points
Miklos: Mia Under 48.0
With the rise of Josh Allen and Tua Tagovailoa this classic rivalry has had new life breathed into it. Buffalo faded in their week one game and let Pittsburgh off the mat and come back and win. Games like that are a must win if the Bills mafia wants to celebrate in February. The Dolphins on the other hand gutted out a win against the Patriots and look poised to be in for a big season in Tua’s sophomore season.
Brandon: Buf Over 48.0
In a classic AFC East divisional matchup, I fully expect this to be a high scoring game as the Josh Allen offense gets a bouce back game after laying an egg to the Steelers in their Home Opener last week. The Bills Mafia travels well, especially down south to divisional games at Hard Rock Stadium, so I fully expect the bills to get back on track this week. Tua & the Dolphins narrowly escaped the Patriots up in Foxborough last week, which was an impressive win but I am not at all sold on Tua Tagovailoa. Maybe back-to-back divisional wins against the Bills & Patriots to start the season could put some doubt in us critics of the young Quarterback.
Houston Texans vs Cleveland Browns (12.5)
Over/Under 48.0 Total Points
Miklos: Cle Over 48.0
Houston looked incredible in their week 1 win and Tyrod Taylor showed why he keeps getting starting jobs in the NFL. With that being said, their week 1 opponent was Jacksonville. Cleveland may have lost in their week 1 matchup against the Chiefs but they looked very good, for most of the game. The few mistakes they made is what cost them that game but they won’t against Houston. This is a bounce back game for Baker and Co.
Brandon: Cle Under 48.0
As great of a story Tyrod Taylor and this Texans team were last week in a convincing win against Jacksonville, I think that is about to come back down to earth against a very sound Cleveland Browns team who pushed the AFC juggernaut Kansas City to the limit in Week 1. I fully expect the Kevin Stefanski offense to be firing on all cylinders this week in a confidence building game.
The Texans 1-game feel good story is over. Browns win big off more big performances from RB Nick Chubb & QB Baker Mayfield. Under because I do not expect Houston to put up many points on this very solid Browns defense, although the Browns should score 35+ points on their own.
Cincinnati Bengals vs Chicago Bears (2.5)
Over/Under 45.0 Total Points
Miklos: Cin Under 45.0
This is one of the more intriguing matchups of Week 2. Joe Burrow and the Bengals looked greatly improved from last season. His connection with J’Marr Chase appears to have picked up right where in left off at LSU. The Bears on the other handled looked like they had several things to clean up against a dominant Rams team.
A loss to the Bengals may be the final straw for Andy Dalton and the start of the Justin Fields era.
Brandon: Chi Under 45.0
Andy Dalton may be starting in his final game before rookie phenom Justin Fields comes in permanently, which would be ironic given that Dalton spent most of his career playing for their opponent this week.
The Bengals are coming off a huge OT thriller victory over the Vikings in Week 1 and Rookie WR Ja'Marr Chase silenced critics who crucified him for his comments on the different NFL balls being the reason for his drops in the preseason. With that said, the Bears put up an okay fight against the Rams at Sofi last week and I expect them to get back on track returning to Soldier Field in Chicago in this grudge match for the former Bengal:
"Red Riffle" Andy Dalton. Khalil Mack has a multiple sack performance against a questionable Bengals O-line.
San Francisco 49ers (3.5) vs Philadelphia Eagles
Over/Under 50.0 Total Points
Miklos: SF over 50.0
Philadelphia was one of the surprise teams in week 1 and won in a dominant fashion. Unfortunately for them so did the 49ers. While the Lions made it a little close for comfort near the end of the game the 49ers looked refreshed from a rough 2020 campaign. This should be an excellent game.
Brandon: SF over 50.0
I have to eat crow on the Eagles last week, they were playing inspiring football with Jalen Hurts under centre.
It looks like he has gained the respect of that locker room & it's possible that the Eagles may not be as bad as we all thought, especially with their O-Line & D-Line winning the trenches battle vs the disappointing Falcons in Week 1.
Unfortunately, I am going against them again this week as the 49ers showed that the offense can put up points, they just have a lot to clean up on the defensive side of things as they almost had an epic collapse to the lowly Lions in Week 1. Their defense can only go up from here as they work back from many key injuries last season, they will work the defensive kinks out from Week 1 & be a strong NFC Contender.
New Orleans Saints (3.5) vs Carolina Panthers
Over/Under 44.5 Total Points
Miklos: NO Over 44.5
As mentioned in my takeaways the Saints have not missed a beat after the retirement of Hall of Famer Drew Brees. It is definitely blasphemy to say but it really feels like the might be better with Jameis given his cannon of an arm! Carolina is much improved too and it looks like Sam Darnold may have a career renaissance. Renaissance or not it will take a miracle for him to overcome a defense that just embarrassed Aaron Rodgers.
Brandon: NO Over 44.5
Jameis Winston did something in Week 1 that the Saints never had with Drew Brees under centre: a pass traveled 40 yards before being caught. Jameis is a gunslinger & his arm-strength has never been questioned. If he can cut the 30 Interceptions he had a few years ago, he will be a successful NFL quarterback. It looks like that year sitting behind an all-time great like Drew Brees has done him a lot of good as a leader on & off the football field.
Carolina's defense has added some nice young pieces on the defensive side of the ball. They were able to pull out a win against the Jets in Week 1 for Sam Darnold's revenge game, but they will need to have a much better performance if they want to take down an NFC South rival and a Saints defense who held Aaaron Rodgers to only 3 points. Jameis might not throw 5 touchdowns on 148 yards passing again, but
New Orleans should be able to take this one by 4 points at the very least. Panthers keep it close at home but lose by a touchdown to this reshaped Saints offense.
Los Angeles Rams (3.5) vs Indianapolis Colts
Over/Under 47.5 Total Points
Miklos: LAR Over 47.5
Well it appears that Matt Stafford is right at home with Sean McVay. They were lights out on Sunday Night Football and look poised for even better things moving forward. The same cannot be said for Wentz in his new home.
Brandon: LAR Over 47.5
It is difficult for me to pick this game as I picked both of these teams to make it to the playoffs this season in their respective conferences. As I will get to in my takeaway, Matt Stafford & Sean McVay look like a match made in heaven, even though it was only 1 week. They picked apart that Bears defense with many explosive passing plays and the defense was disruptive enough when they needed to be.
I like what the Colts were able to do in a losing effort to another NFC West opponent in Week 1 to Seattle,
but it will be a work in progress with Carson Wentz and his wide receiving core that has its questions & doubters. Jonathan Taylor will have to carry the load running the ball for this team to be successful.
Rams take this game in the 6-8 point range, so that's good enough for a cover. I am still high on both teams!
Las Vegas Raiders vs Pittsburgh Steelers (5.5)
Over/Under 47.0 Total Points
Miklos: LVR Over 47.0
Well……….That was crazy. As mentioned in my takeaways the Raiders Defense is another one of the biggest surprises from week 1. If Maxx Crosby continues this kind of play he is in for a monster season. While the Steelers week 1 win over the Bills was impressive it is still the first half of the season and the Raiders are on fire!
Brandon: PIT under 47.0
Once again I am eating my words from a Week 1 matchup, the Raiders took down the Ravens in dramatic fashion by an Overtime touchdown. The last 5 minutes of regulation was a wild end for the 1st game in Allegiant Stadium in Vegas with fans in attendance. The new "Black Hole" was rocking & Derek Carr was showcasing an improved passing game.
Going up against another AFC North opponent in Pittsburgh this week, I have to bet against the Raiders once again. Although the Raiders turned many heads vs the Ravens, the Steelers went up to Buffalo and took down one of the Super Bowl favourites in the Bills. They kept dynamic quarterback Josh Allen in check & had a massive blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown. Both teams are flying high after impressive Week 1 victories, but I am giving the edge to the Steelers at home in Heinz Field. Steelers by 7. Rookie RB Najee Harris gets going on the ground & pound game that coach Mike Tomlin preaches.
New England (6.0) vs New York Jets
Over/Under 42.0 Total Points
Miklos: NE Under 42.0
While they lost a close match against the dolphins in week one Mac Jones still looked impressive in his NFL debut. The same really can't be said about Zach Wilson who struggled to find his footing against the Panthers. It looks like it's gonna be another loss for The Jets to the patriots. The more things change the more they stay the same.
Brandon: NE Under 42.0
Keeping this one short & sweet. The Patriots played their 1st game with their full defense back in over a year last week against a sneaky good divisional opponent in Miami. Rookie QB Mac Jones showed composure in his 1st career start. New England will get back on track here against a divisional opponent who they have owned over the years. Zach Wilson showed flashes of greatness in Week 1 for the Jets, which is nice to see as they continue to build back up into a competitive franchise. Patriots take it in a lower scoring game.
Minnesota Vikings vs Arizona Cardinals (4.0)
Over/Under 50.5 Total Points
Miklos: Ari Under 50.5
Arizona looked like they took the next step that we were all expecting for this season. Kyler Murray looks crisp and the defense looks dominant. Minnesota on the other hand looks like they're still spinning their tires in the mud of last season.
Brandon: Ari Over 50.5
2 teams that I have pegged for Wildcard spots in the NFC, but couldn't have had more opposite results in
Week 1. Our love affair for this Cardinals team continues as they looked dynamic in all aspects during their road matchup against a Titans team that are projected to be division winners this season. Kyler Murray is able to extend plays & is worth the price of admission. His chemistry with DeAndre Hopkins is special & scary for the rest of the league.
As for the Vikings, they go on the road to Cincinnati & give up a tying field goal at the end of regulation, then proceed to lose by a field goal in overtime to a young inexperienced Bengals team. A very bad loss in my opinion, which has me second guessing this Minnesota team especially on the defensive side of the ball.
The offense has plenty of weapons, but will Kirk Cousins be able to get it done in the clutch & will that young defense be able to put it together in Mike Zimmer's demanding scheme? We will see how they hold up against a highflying Cardinals team in Week 2.
Atlanta Falcons vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12.5)
Over/Under 52 Total Points
Miklos: TB Over 52
Unfortunately for Falcons fans 12.5 points seems unbelievably low given how both of these teams looked in week one. The Bucs haven't skipped a beat from winning the Super bowl and their offense already looks like a well oiled machine. Atlanta on the other hand looks like they should Mulligan on the whole season.
Brandon: Atlanta Over 52
An embarassing performance in Week 1 for the Falcons against an unproven Eagles offense. The Defense gave up points late, but it was an overall sloppy game after the first 2 drives resulted in redzone inefficiency once again for Falcons football. The offense looked flat in the 2nd Half & the Eagles front ate up a rookie starting at Left Guard. When this offense gets predictable with the passing game, they are in trouble.
Arthur Smith has his work cut out for him in the run game, which doesn't get any easier against a top Bucs Run Defense.
The Buccaneers, what else can you say? They returned everyone from their Super Bowl team last season & look poised to be the favourites again after another epic game winning drive in Week 1 for TB12.
I don't know how the Falcons defense keeps this loaded Bucs offense in check & this could be the highest scoring game of the week. Bucs win easily in a shootout, but I think the Falcons keep it within 10 points.
Dallas Cowboys vs Los Angeles Chargers (3.0)
Over/Under 55.0 Total Points
Miklos: Dal Over 55.0
This is one of the more intriguing matchups in Week 2. Dallas is offense picked up right where they left off before Dak’s injury and their defense has made some impressive strides. The chargers as well love to have improved from last season and have definitely found their future quarterback in Justin Herbert. I think offensive firepower is the difference in this game so edge to Dallas.
Brandon: LAC Over 55.0
An impressive win on the road for Justin Herbert and the Chargers in Washington last week. They showed a lot of grit being able to pull out a win in a low scoring disciplined game against a great Ron Rivera coached defense. The Chargers are going back home and the passing game should open up against a Cowboys secondary that looks ripe for the taking. Although they had 4 turnovers vs the Buccaneers last week, I do not see the Cowboys being able to sop the Chargers. As long as the Chargers do not pull a Chargers and lay an egg, they will win (a lot to ask but hopefully they have turned a new leaf).
A high scoring affair as the Dak Prescott led Cowboys offense is fun to watch with playmakers at all positions.
Tennessee Titans vs Seattle Seahawks (5.5)
Over/Under 54.0 Total Points
Miklos: Sea Under 54.0
Tennessee appears to have stalled in their growth and look like they may struggle this season. The Seahawks on the other hand are looking in mid season form. The real hope is that they can sustain this regular season play into the postseason unlike previous years. Russ is cooking and that's bad news for the Titans.
Brandon: Ten Under 54.0
The Tennessee defense was picked apart by the Cardinals last week & they had as bad of a performance on offense as you can expect them to have all season. I believe they do get back on track though against their second NFC West opponent in a row. I believe in Ryan Tannehill being able to overcome the 12th Man in Seattle and a complete rebound game for their offense.
The Seahawks will score points as the are too talented not to, but I think that the Titans offense that many regarded as one of the best in football going into the season shows glimpses of getting back to that.
Both secondaries can be had on the defensive side of the ball and both offenses can score so I expect this to be a high scoring game. Titans not only cover, they win the game outright as both teams will be 1-1 after this game.
Kansas City Chiefs (3.5) vs Baltimore Ravens
Over/Under 55.0 Total Points
Miklos: KC Over 55.0
After a heartbreaking loss in overtime to the Raiders the Ravens are not catching a break as they take on these Super Bowl runners up from last season. In the last two years these matchups have been electric with nonstop offense. While Baltimore's defense is robust I don't think they have enough to slow down Patrick Mahomes and Company.
Brandon: KC Over 55.0
A big win for the Chiefs in Week 1 against a very game Browns team that would be fun to watch again in a January playoff game. The Ravens coming off a crushing OT loss on the road last week in Vegas, but it doesn't get any easier for Lamar Jackson and Company. The Chiefs now have the Ravens starting offensive tackle, which could make a big difference for Patrick Mahomes in the pocket. Was a head scratching trade when it was made and we may see it backfire on the Ravens first hand in Week 2.
I still believe in the Ravens as a playoff team this year in the AFC, but unfortunately I think they get behind the eight ball and start the season 0-2. A high scoring & exciting game on Sunday Night in another matchup of 2 explosive & exciting young Quarterbacks.
Detroit Lions vs Green Bay Packers (11.0)
Over/Under 48.0 Total Points
Miklos: Det Over 48.0
Given how week one went this Monday night match up has a lot of intrigue. Both teams lost their week one games however I think it is safe to say that the Packers loss was far worse then the Lions. In fact Detroit looks to have far more spirit and fire than they have had in the last decade. Credit to Dan Campbell and the rest of the coaching staff for inspiring this team. If Aaron Rodgers wants to get right and bounce back this week he's really going to have to work for it.
Brandon: GB over 48.0
Will be a high scoring game, Jared Goff showed late game grit with an ability put up points & Aaron Rodgers' group couldn't be any worse in Week 1. I expect the Packers to come out on Monday Night and completely rebound from the egg they laid in Week 1 against New Orleans. If Green Bay doesn't take down a divisional opponent Lions squad who are rebuilding by at least 14 points, I will be very disappointed.
I picked the Packers to be the #1 Seed in the NFC for a reason, its time for Rodgers & Adams to get going on their most likely Swan Song season as Packers.
Week 1 Takeaways
1. Trevor Lawrence Suffers 1st Ever Regular Season Loss in 1st Career NFL Start
Photo Credit: Carmen Mandato/Getty Images
The 1st Overall Pick in the 2021 NFL Draft is projected to be one of the best quarterback talents to come out of college since possibly Peyton Manning. He has a stunning career resume with many accolades, but the most impressive of those may be that he has NEVER lost a Regular Season game in his football career dating back to High School.
That streak came to a shocking end this past week in a 37-21 loss to a Houston Texans team that are projected to have the #1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, as the NFL's worst team. It is crazy how things work out like this and I am sure this is not the team that Lawrence wanted or expected his 1st regular season loss to be against.
The jury is still out on 1st year NFL Head Coach Urban Meyer & whether he can translate from College to the Pro's, but as long as Trevor Lawrence is under centre the Khan Family should feel comfort. He has all world talent & turning around this Jaguars team who went 1-15 last season will be a work in progress that will not happen overnight. As long as more losses to a team like the Texans don't become a common occurrence.
2. The Matt Stafford & Sean McVay Marriage: So Far, So Good!
After a huge offseason trade that sent former 1st overall pick Jared Goff and multiple high draft picks to
Detroit for Matt Stafford, the move was wildly talked about. Would a move like this put the Rams over the top in a QB swap? Would Matt Stafford give the Rams that much more production than Jared Goff gave them?
Goff has the 2nd most wins as a quarterback in the NFC over the last 5 years & just recently signed a massive contract extension. The draft capitol had already been spent to sure up the defensive side with trading for all-pro Cornerback Jalen Ramsay to pair with the best defensive player in football in Nose Tackle Aaron Donald.
Well, after what we saw on Sunday Night from Matt Stafford in his So Cal return at Sofi Stadium was nothing short of spectacular. The explosive playmaking ability that he put on display with his arm looked like a Matt Stafford we used to see throwing to Calvin Johnson in the early 2010's. His talent has never been questioned and we know the supporting cast in Detroit was never a posiition where the team could be contenders, but that may change here with the Rams & may just be a match that finally puts them over the top.
We know owner E. Stan Kroenke moved the team to Los Angeles with a vision of winning championships in a state of the art facility. Well, he now has that facility with SoFi Stadium, & he may have found the winning formula with Sean McVay's innovative offensive playcalling now paired with a gunslinging arm like Matt Stafford who can command respect and trust from his teammates to show that they are the real deal.
They play in an NFC West division that may be the most competitve in all of the NFL, but if we continue to see performances like we saw in Week 1 from So Cal Matt & his loaded cast of playmakers, this may be the year that the Lombardi Trophy comes to Los Angeles.
3. Maxx Crosby is the Real Deal
Photo Credit: (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Left_Eye_Images
I think one of the biggest shocks out of week one was how well the Raiders defense performed on Monday night. The nonexistent pass rush that used to exist first in Oakland and then Las Vegas exploded with the arrival of Yannick Ngakoue and emergence of Maxx Crosby. Crosby who is newly sober took a massive step from an already impressive first couple of years in the NFL. He was unblockable throughout the game demanding double teams and tight end and running back assistance for the Ravens tackles.
In fact he was such a threat that the final defensive play of the game Was one where he was barely involved. Specifically it was the play where Carl Nassib came screaming off the edge and forced a fumble which was caused by Crosby going in and drawing two offensive line with him. the attention he commanded was that of a number one pass rusher which the Raiders haven't had since the departure of Khalil Mack. This bodes well for Ngakoue and the rest of the defensive ends on the Raiders will be constantly getting one on one matchups.
4. The Saints aren’t skipping a beat in the Post Drew Brees Era
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Speaking of shocks as the title mentions the Saints looked as good as they ever have and possibly even better with Jamies Winston under center. Having his powerful arm clearly made a difference from last year where Drew Brees was struggling to throw down the field. The most impressive thing is that Winston did it without their most dominant receiver, Michael Thomas, who is out yet again with an injury. Who knew Chris Hogan was even still in the league? Well it doesn't appear to matter if the Saints are even at their home stadium they're coming for the crown this year and I can't wait for their matchups against Tampa Bay.