2021 NFL Week 1 Preview & Top Picks
Updated: July 30, 2022
Welcome to our 2021 NFL Week 1 Preview with best Picks for our top selected games.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Buffalo Bills
The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Buffalo Bills will be meeting up in the season opener after Buffalo took a commanding win back in 2020 against them.
Buffalo is coming into this season with an absolutely explosive offense led by their young superstar quarterback Josh Allen and All-Pro wideout Stefon Diggs.
Their offensive line was average at best, and their rushing attack never seemed to get going last season though.
It will be interesting to see how they go about those two things in Week 1 against a very elite Pittsburgh defense.
Not only do they have the runner up for Defensive Player of the Year in T.J. Watt, but Minkah Fitzpatrick is arguably the best free safety in the league at the moment. They also have Joe Haden, Cameron Hayward and Devin Bush to really solidify this unit.
However, their offense is far less consistent. While they had a terrific stretch of games last season, the end of the year really showed their massive flaws.
Ben Roethlisberger is only getting older now but will have a strong receiving corps with Chase Claypool, Juju Smith Schuster and Diontae Johnson.
Their offensive line lost a few key starters alongside James Connor in the backfield.
They were able to cover up some of their losses on the line and draft Najee Harris though we just don’t know what we will get from them against a lightning-fast Buffalo defense.
I feel like Buffalo will be able to take this game at home in the season opener due to their explosiveness offensively. Their defense isn’t bad in any stretch so they should be able to hold their own against Pittsburgh.
Pick: Buffalo Bills
Los Angeles Chargers vs. Washington Football Team
The battle between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Washington Football Team could very well end up being the game of the week.
Looking at the Chargers here, they have a great team overall.
We saw the rookie quarterback Justin Herbert take home the Rookie of the Year award last season and he will look to build upon that success in 2021.
He gets to work with an elite combo of wide receivers in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, along with a solid pass catching tight end in Jared Cook.
Their offensive line was a little iffy throughout the year, but they drafted arguably the best lineman in the NFL Draft a couple of weeks ago who should be phenomenal.
If their line works out, not only will Herbert improve but Austin Ekeler and their rushing attack will also take a nice leap.
Flipping over to their defense, we will finally be seeing Derwin James out on the field after suffering numerous serious injuries. When healthy he is one of the best in the league and happens to be paired with Joey Bosa on that side of the football.
The rest of their defense needs some work but overall, they should be a solid group that can contain Washington’s offense.
Speaking of their offense, they should be much improved this season. Last season, they had a lot of talent at the skill positions but lacked an offensive line and a strong quarterback.
They grabbed Ryan Fitzpatrick to battle it out with Taylor Heinicke to see who can become the starting quarterback, with either being upgrades from Dwayne Haskins and Alex Smith last season.
They have Terry McLaurin and Antonio Gibson to boost their explosiveness as well.
Then on the other end, their defense is probably the best in the league.
Led by Chase Young, this group can get after the quarterback, stonewall the run game and become a no-fly zone at times.
The Chargers have the clear-cut better offense, but Washington has a far better defense. It truly will be a fantastic showdown on opening day, one that I believe the Football Team will win.
Pick: Washington Football Team
Arizona Cardinals vs. Tennessee Titans
These are two teams that arguably improved the most in the entire league compared to last season.
The Arizona Cardinals were able to acquire J.J. Watt after he was released from the Houston Texans, they will be getting back Chandler Jones from his injury, they snagged Zaven Collins in the first round and signed A.J. Green in free agency.
An offseason rarely goes as successfully as this one did.
The combination of Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins already proved to be lethal last season, and with more offensive weapons including James Connor and Green, who knows how dangerous this group can be.
Their defense has some questions to answer in regard to their secondary, but their pass rush will take a massive step forward along with their linebacker corps.
Overall, this is a team that could make a splash over in the NFC.
The Titans on the other hand already had a pretty solid season behind the two-thousand-yard rushing season that Derrick Henry put up.
Tennessee also found the perfectly compliment to Henry in Ryan Tannehill in the passing game. Tannehill developed a great relationship with A.J. Brown, and it has made this offense incredibly difficult to stop.
Not to mention the fact that they somehow found a way to trade for the former All-Pro wideout Julio Jones from the Atlanta Falcons.
I seriously don’t know who will be able to slow down this offense when they are all healthy and active. However, their defense leaves much to be desired.
We haven’t seen a consistent pass rush from them in years now and signing Janoris Jenkins shouldn’t fill the void that Adoree Jackson is leaving behind.
In my opinion, I feel like the Cardinals defense will be the deciding factor in this matchup.
I would take the Cardinals here, though not by much at all.
Pick: Arizona Cardinals
Cleveland Browns vs. Kansas City Chiefs
We get to see a Divisional Round Rematch in Week 1 this year. The Cleveland Browns and the Kansas City Chiefs will lace them up after squaring off in the playoffs a year ago.
The Chiefs were able to scrape away with a victory in that game but only due to a gutsy fourth down conversion with just minutes remaining in the contest.
The Browns have reloaded since then and should be able to take the next step in their quest for a championship.
Their offense is already strong, with Baker Mayfield, Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt on it, but they will be getting back Odell Beckham Jr. after he missed over half of last season with a serious injury.
If you have any concerns about their defense, well they upgraded that as well.
Denzel Ward and Myles Garrett provide enough problems on their own to opposing offenses, but the addition of Jadeveon Clowney could take their defense to the next level.
Clowney has admittedly been terrible the last few seasons but could morph back into form when playing next to an All-Pro level talent, similar to what he did in Houston with Watt.
The Chiefs are no easy win though.
They have a generational quarterback in Patrick Mahomes who is dishing it out to two All-Pro pass catchers in Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill.
Their newly drafted running back Clyde Edwards Helaire has also shown flashes of superstar potential when given the opportunity and could take a leap of his own in 2021.
Their defense is overall pretty young with their secondary being their weakest link, though they were able to hold up throughout the season behind the leadership of Chris Jones and Tyrann Mathieu.
The biggest flaw we got to see with the Chiefs was their lack of an offensive line in the Super Bowl, they have since picked up two stellar guards/tackles to fix that weakness.
Mahomes shouldn’t be on the turf much this year that is for sure.
As much as I love what the Browns have been doing lately, I just can’t pick against this insane offense that the Chiefs have. Plus, Cleveland isn’t known to get off to hot starts, so a loss wouldn’t be too surprising against the reigning AFC Champions.
Pick: Kansas City Chiefs
Green Bay Packers vs. New Orleans Saints
This one is going to be good. So much drama surrounding either team heading into this one.
For the Green Bay Packers, you had the entire situation with Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams and Za’Darius Smith all trying to leave the organization.
While it seems like they have all bought into the season as of right now, you never know how things will work out once the year progresses.
Rodgers and Adams on the same field together is just a massive mismatch for opposing defenses.
Throw on the addition of Randall Cobb and suddenly the old band is back together, minus Jordy Nelson of course.
They have a terrific offensive line and a running back by committee which will be headlined by Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon.
Flipping over to their defense, now this is a little shaky.
Their secondary was torched in the postseason, well, mostly just Kevin King. Jaire Alexander continues to be a fantastic cornerback/safety and their pass rush has remained solid despite changes.
If this group gets a solid second cornerback to couple with Alexander, then we can see the take a leap forward as a unit.
The New Orleans Saints won’t be an easy win despite what the early predictions are saying though.
The legendary Drew Brees retired in the offseason, leaving them with Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston battling it out for the starting quarterback job.
Let’s just assume that Winston takes the position here, which I could imagine that he will.
Winston brings a deep ball and some explosiveness to an offense that has been known for checkdowns in recent memory.
They still have Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara, two of the best players at their respective divisions, along with Marquez Callaway and Deonte Harris.
This could be a dangerous offense and one that won’t have to worry about constant bad reads from Winston due to his mentorship from Brees, a fantastic offensive line and his eye surgery he got two years ago.
New Orleans defense is also better than people are expecting.
Demario Davis continues to be a great leader and tackler in the middle of the field. Marshon Lattimore and Marcus Williams are two above average secondary pieces, and we all know what Cameron Jordan brings to the squad in pass rush.
Ultimately, I believe that the Packers could get the edge with the experience that Rodgers and Adams have together.
I am a big believer in Winston, and this Saints squad but at the end of the day they may just not have what it takes to knock off one of the most talented teams in the league right out of the gates.
Pick: Green Bay Packers
Chicago Bears vs. Los Angeles Rams
Here we have the Sunday night matchup.
The Chicago Bears will take on the Los Angeles Rams and could be a great one. Chicago will be sending out Andy Dalton to kick their season off, though if early preseason indications have told us anything it is that fans already want Justin Fields to start.
Dalton or Fields will provide an upgrade over Nick Foles and Mitchell Trubisky accuracy wise, though their offensive line wasn’t fixed at all in the offseason.
Their defense still remains dominant with Eddie Jackson and Khalil Mack roaming the field also.
However, it is nowhere near the group that Los Angeles has built.
They have two players that should be finalists for the Defensive Player of the Year award with Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald playing like the top two defenders in the NFL.
Their secondary doesn’t get much recognition outside of Ramsey, but they are a young and talented group that flew all over the field in 2020.
Their offense puts them over the top. Mathew Stafford is going to have a chance to be on a winning team for the first team in his career with weapons like Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and an above average offensive line.
I truly just don’t see the Bears winning this ball game unless their quarterback, whoever starts, is able to get the most out of their talented wideouts.
Otherwise, I expect Donald and Ramsey to wreak havoc on Chicago’s lackluster offense that is still working on their chemistry.
Pick: Los Angeles Rams
Best NFL Parlay bets for Week 1 2021
Here's this weeks best NFL Parlay picks. Good luck!
- Buffalo Bills
- Washington Football Team
- Arizona Cardinals
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Green Bay Packers
- Los Angeles Rams