PFT’s Week One 2021 picks

New Orleans Saints v Baltimore Ravens
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Football is back, and so are the PFT 2021 picks.

MDS vs. Florio, for the umpteenth straight year. I can’t recall who won last year, which probably means I didn’t. (Actually, I think maybe I did.)

Regardless, check out our selections below. We’ll keep track each week of how we do straight up and against the spread.

This week, we disagree on only two outcomes.

Cowboys (+8) at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: The defending champions look poised to pick up right where they left off, with a big win on a big stage.

MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 30, Cowboys 20.

Florio’s take: America’s Team will be Captain America’s punching bag to start the season.

Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 35, Cowboys 17.


Jaguars (-3) at Texans

MDS’s take: The NFL gave two of the worst teams in the league a Week One matchup so that one of them can start 1-0. I think Trevor Lawrence outplays Tyrod Taylor and the Jaguars get the win.

MDS’s pick: Jaguars 24, Texans 20.

Florio’s take: It’s deja vu all over again for the Jaguars, winning the first game — and potentially losing the rest.

Florio’s pick: Jaguars 17, Texans 7.


Chargers (-1) at Washington

MDS’s take: Although Washington’s defense is likely to take a step backward, their offense should be better this year with Ryan Fitzpatrick, and I like them to start the season strong.

MDS’s pick: Washington 27, Chargers 20.

Florio’s take: On paper, the Chargers are ready to contend at a high level. They get a chance to turn paper to performance with a tough opponent, right out of the gates.

Florio’s pick: Chargers 20, Washington 13.


Seahawks (-2.5) at Colts

MDS’s take: I won’t be sold on Frank Reich’s ability to get Carson Wentz back on track until I see it. I expect the Colts’ offense to struggle.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 20, Colts 10.

Florio’s take: The Colts seem cursed. Colts fans will be cursing come Sunday.

Florio’s pick: Seahawks 24, Colts 16.


Jets (+5.5) at Panthers

MDS’s take: The Sam Darnold revenge game will be ugly, but Darnold and the Panthers will get the win.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 19, Jets 16.

Florio’s take: Carolina may not win a ton of games this year. If they can’t hold serve at home against the Jets, they may not win many at all.

Florio’s pick: Panthers 23, Jets 13.


Vikings (-3) at Bengals

MDS’s take: This is a big year for the Bengals, who need to see progress from coach Zac Taylor and franchise quarterback Joe Burrow. I’m not convinced they’re going to see it.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 23, Bengals 14.

Florio’s take: If the Vikings are going to be as good as they need to be this year, they need to win this one easily.

Florio’s pick: Vikings 30, Bengals 13.


Cardinals (+3) at Titans

MDS’s take: The Titans’ defense is going to force them into a lot of high-scoring games this season, but I think Ryan Tannehill will have a big season, and they’ll win most of those high-scoring games, starting in Week One against Kyler Murray & Co.

MDS’s pick: Titans 35, Cardinals 31.

Florio’s take: It’s a make or break year for Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury. There are far better places where they could get the season started.

Florio’s pick: Titans 30, Cardinals 23.


49ers (-7.5) at Lions

MDS’s take: The Lions won’t be quite as bad as everyone thinks, but the 49ers will be good enough to beat them in a closer game than people are expecting.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 16, Lions 13.

Florio’s take: Copy and paste the Vikings-Bengals take here. Replace 49ers for Vikings.

Florio’s pick: 49ers 31, Lions 17.


Steelers (+6.5) at Bills

MDS’s take: This is one of my favorite games of Week One, and I think it’s going to be an impressive showing for the Bills’ offense, while Ben Roethlisberger & Co. can’t quite keep up.

MDS’s pick: Bills 30, Steelers 20.

Florio’s take: The Steelers won’t have to worry about the accumulating pressure of an 11-0 start in 2021.

Florio’s pick: Bills 27, Steelers 20.


Eagles (+3) at Falcons

MDS’s take: I’m not expecting much from either of these teams this season, but the Falcons should be able to win a close one at home to get off to a 1-0 start.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 17, Eagles 16.

Florio’s take: Matt Ryan makes the difference in this one, with Atlanta building some confidence right out of the gates against an overmatched opponent that is a work in progress at best.

Florio’s pick: Falcons 24, Eagles 14.


Browns (+6.5) at Chiefs

MDS’s take: The Chiefs’ offense should be as good as ever this season, and I don’t see the Browns being able to keep up.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 31, Browns 21.

Florio’s take: The Browns have a chance to fire a shot heard ‘round the NFL world. The fact that they gave the Chiefs all they could handle in the playoffs will make it much harder to catch K.C. napping.

Florio’s pick: Chiefs 34, Browns 27.


Packers (-4) vs. Saints at Jacksonville

MDS’s take: The Saints have to play this “home” game on a neutral field in Jacksonville, and they have to face a Packers team that’s all-in to win in Aaron Rodgers‘ likely last season in Green Bay. It should be a big day for the Packers.

MDS’s pick: Packers 28, Saints 17.

Florio’s take: The Saints have a history of starting a little slowly, and the hurricance-related distractions of the past couple of weeks don’t help. But the Saints may have something special brewing with Jameis Winston at quarterback. He has the arm strength to force the defense to cover the whole field — and Sean Payton knows how to scheme to put the football where the defense isn’t.

Florio’s pick: Saints 27, Packers 20.


Broncos (-3) at Giants

MDS’s take: Teddy Bridgewater will outplay Daniel Jones as the Broncos start 1-0 in a must-improve season for Vic Fangio.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 24, Giants 21.

Florio’s take: It’s an up-or-out year for Daniel Jones. It begins with strike one.

Florio’s pick: Broncos 23, Giants 14.


Dolphins (+3) at Patriots

MDS’s take: I’m looking forward to the Mac JonesTua Tagovailoa quarterback matchup, one in which I see Jones coming out on top.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 27, Dolphins 23.

Florio’s take: In a battle of former Alabama quarterbacks, the one who plays for Nick Saban’s old friend overcomes the one who plays for Nick Saban’s old team.

Florio’s pick: Patriots 20, Dolphins 16.


Bears (+7.5) at Rams

MDS’s take: The Bears should go with Justin Fields at quarterback, but they’re going with Andy Dalton instead, and I like the Rams to get the win in Matthew Stafford‘s first game in Los Angeles.

MDS’s pick: Rams 28, Bears 20.

Florio’s take: Some think that the Bears shouldn’t throw Justin Fields to the wolves, with Aaron Donald ready to pounce. At least Fields has a chance to run away from Donald. Andy Dalton doesn’t.

Florio’s pick: Rams 30, Bears 17.


Ravens (-4.5) at Raiders

MDS’s take: If Jon Gruden is doing his job right, this is a year when the Raiders should be peaking. I’m skeptical. I see the Ravens showing on Monday night that there’s a big gap between the Raiders and the best teams in the AFC.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 34, Raiders 17.

Florio’s take: It’s easy to be optimistic when everyone is 0-0. The Raiders will learn in prime time that their optimism for 2021 is a little misplaced, given the quality of the best teams in the AFC.

Florio’s pick: Ravens 24, Raiders 16.

56 responses to “PFT’s Week One 2021 picks

  1. I am looking forward to seeing the camera pan in on Jerry tonight as the game is slipping away and he reaches the realization that his Cowboys are in for a long miserable season once again this year

  2. I’m personally looking forward to watching the creative ways Florio will come up with to predict 17 Lions losses ofer the season.

  3. MDS prediction that the 49ers will score only 16 points against a pathetic Lions’ defense is a bit hard to buy, especially because one can’t expect the Lions’ offense to stay on the field for very long. As someone wrote a couple of days ago here on PFT, the Niners could start an armadillo in a top hat at QB and Kittle will still go for 140 yds against those Detroit LB’s.

  4. My favorites:
    Bucs over Cowboys. Dak will be a little rusty from being out so long so I don’t think he will throw plus 400 yards like other articles are saying and I think he will throw a pick or two.

    49ers over Lions.

    Falcons over Eagles but I hope the Eagles win.

    Broncos over Giants. I really like the Broncos finally. I love their coach.

    Rams over the Bears.

    Upset: Texans over Jaqs.

  5. Florio and MDS got it wrong. The Raiders will whip the Ravens and show that their optimism isn’t misplaced at all. Go Raiders!

  6. I wish Houston and Jax didn’t play until week 17. It would be a fun 0-16 vs 0-16 game to watch for the #1 pick in the draft. The NFL has ruined that experience now as well.

  7. nhpats2011 says:
    I am looking forward to seeing the camera pan in on Jerry tonight . . .

    It should be amusing as always, although its not so much the camera “panning to” as it is “cutting away from.”
    Whenever Dallas plays there are sideline cams, end zone cams, a sky cam, and a special “Jerry Cam” that remains focused on the CryptKeeper at all times. Every once in a while they throw us a bone by cutting away from Jerry to actual game action.

  8. Sunday starts the Mike Mayock fairwell tour. Next year at this time he’ll be sleeping on the couch of Raiders Nation

  9. Not only will the Eagles beat the Falcons, they’ll likely do it by double-digits. Team that dominates in the trenches wins games — and Philly’s OL and DL both vastly superior.

  10. Surge92 says:
    September 9, 2021 at 12:21 pm
    Florio and MDS got it wrong. The Raiders will whip the Ravens and show that their optimism isn’t misplaced at all. Go Raiders!
    ———————–
    Admire your loyalty but you are being delusional. Even with all of the Ravens’ injuries the Raiders are no match for the Ravens

  11. Lock of the week: Bucs over the Cowboys 38 to 13. Look for old man Tom to roll back the clock 10 years thanks to some runs from Ronald Jones and passing to Evans and Gronk.
    Upset of the week: Giants over Broncos 23 to 17 Look for the Giants defense to make their presence felt and shock the Broncos.
    Patriots 27 Dolphins 20 Close game, but thanks to Damian Harris and some turnovers from Tua the Pats win in week 1.

  12. David Montgomery will surprise with a solid run game on one of the best D front lines in the NFL and Stafford will throw 3 picks with the last being the game killer.

    Bears over Rams 20-17.

  13. dctommy says:
    September 9, 2021 at 12:30 pm
    Why would the pats be any good with a rookie qb?

    ————-

    Because they still have the best coach in the NFL who can win with a QB that can throw past 10 yards.

  14. Just to be clear: you both are picking every Road Favorite to cover!?! Hmmm don’t think Vegas lines work that easy.

  15. I’m likely drunk right now says:
    September 9, 2021 at 12:32 pm
    I wish Houston and Jax didn’t play until week 17. It would be a fun 0-16 vs 0-16 game to watch for the #1 pick in the draft. The NFL has ruined that experience now as well……

    Problem with this logic is they’re in the same division so impossible for a week 17 game between the two to be an 0-16 vs 0-16. If they tied the first meeting it would at worse be 0-15-1 vs 0-15-1.

  16. Patriots will finish 3rd in the AFC east. Book it.

    Wow, you’re really going out on a limb with that one.

  17. nflyoda says:
    September 9, 2021 at 12:51 pm
    dctommy says:
    September 9, 2021 at 12:30 pm
    Why would the pats be any good with a rookie qb?

    ————-

    Because they still have the best coach in the NFL who can win with a QB that can throw past 10 yards

    ————
    Mac Jones has been impressing everyone above and beyond what they thought. He shouldn’t have been the 5th QB taken in the draft. Looking forward to watching him and the Patriots this season.

  18. Of course, “that’s why they play the game” always undoes a lot of preseason hype, but my thoughts:

    – Houston won’t be a great team, but I think the amount of quality in their coaching staff and a more experienced vet QB means they will get the better of this too-new Jaguars team and other teams this season as well. They won’t be great but they will be sneaky good.

    – The Bucs won’t be as perfect as everyone seems to think. They were never *that* much better than any of the leading teams in the league. I think they’ll make the playoffs and do well there, but they won’t have weekly blowouts.

    – Lions and Falcons will be better than people are expecting.

    – Wentz, Cousins, and Murray are just wasting everyone’s time. Prescott, too, in my opinion.

    – Good for the Bears in keeping their word and starting Dalton. They probably will bump him as soon as they can, but this is an honorable way to start.

  19. MDS’s take: I expect the Colts’ offense to struggle.
    ________________
    The Colts running game alone can beat the Seattle D.

  20. jredshoes says:
    September 9, 2021 at 12:40 pm
    Sunday starts the Mike Mayock fairwell tour. Next year at this time he’ll be sleeping on the couch of Raiders Nation
    ———————————

    Of course they don’t play until Monday night…..

  21. There are going to be a lot of surprises. Last year’s Covid absences and just a weird season all around…

  22. Saints-Packers in Jacksonville may sound almost like a Packers home game with all the retirees along with other Badgers who have moved to Florida to escape the cold.

  23. nflyoda says:
    September 9, 2021 at 12:51 pm
    dctommy says:
    September 9, 2021 at 12:30 pm
    Why would the pats be any good with a rookie qb?

    ————-

    Because they still have the best coach in the NFL who can win with a QB that can throw past 10 yards.

    when did you win with a QB that couldn’t “throw past 10 yards”

  24. I’m predicting a Dak Special: Bucs win easily but Dak manages to put up a stat line to make people who didn’t watch the game think he must have played great.

  25. I don’t see the Saints going real far in their first year without Brees, especially with Mr. Pick Six at the helm. Packers 35 Saints 14

  26. My Vikings won’t be able to win this week.

    It’s looking like another 4 or 5 win season for us.

  27. Not so sure why so many think the Bucs are some machine. They really were not that good for most of the first half last year. The Cowboys are healthy and a vastly improved team defensively this year.
    Also, the gent that thinks the Patriots won’t do well with a rookie at qb, certainly did NOT watch Cam Newton play last year. Pats are better on both sides of the ball this season and Mac Jones already shows he can run this offense better then Cam ever could. It’s back to running, dink and dunking and letting the defense win the games in NE. The rook will struggle, but also surprise to the dismay of all the NE haters who already buried them.

  28. Because they still have the best coach in the NFL who can win with a QB that can throw past 10 yards.

    ================================

    2 words… 1st word – Cam. 2nd word – Newton.

  29. Not to take anything away from the Pats and I expect this to be a close game but you have a rookie QB who has yet to go up against a real NFL defense going up against a team who had a top 10 defense last year run by the same guy who ran the pats defense when they were so strong.

    I expect the Dolphin defense to confuse Mac into making some mistakes and you have Howard licking his chops waiting for him to make a mistake. Dolphins win 27-21.

  30. If Mac Jones plays well against that Miami defense and the Patriots win Sunday, there is going to be some serious puckering going on across the league.

  31. Bucs over Cowboys – Bucs to talented and Cowboys, not so much!

    Panthers over Jets – Panthers should have a better defense than the Jets… that’s about it!

    Falcons overs Eagles – 2 teams that are mediocre so I say home advantage wins!

    Packers overs Saints – The Packers are just a better built team captained by a far better QB… Winston throws at least 2 picks!

  32. The thing that’s great about the NFL is that everything we say now is like words written on water. Nobody knows. We basically know some of the better teams, and think we know some of the worse teams, but anyone can surprise in any direction. (Having said that, the Eagles are going to be better than the above predictions would imply! Best lines wins, and Jalen will be more than competent…)

  33. “…but you have a rookie QB who has yet to go up against a real NFL defense…”

    Mac goes against a pretty good defense in practice every day.
    Just sayin’.

  34. “embolomere says:
    September 9, 2021 at 3:17 pm
    “…but you have a rookie QB who has yet to go up against a real NFL defense…”

    Mac goes against a pretty good defense in practice every day.
    Just sayin’.”

    ==============================================================

    You do realize it’s called “Practice” for a reason right?? I mean does BB allow his defense to knock his QB silly like in a “Real” game??

  35. Until the Chargers can prove they can stay healthy I don’t have faith in producing a winning season but then again without Anthony Lynn as Head Coach I do have faith they’ll win at least 3 more games this year. Starting off the season with a win against an East Coast team would be nice.

  36. embolomere says:
    Mac goes against a pretty good defense in practice every day.
    Just sayin’.
    ==

    That’s quite true. I think the Pats probably win this one.
    That said, while Mac Jones may already feel reasonably comfortable, and may develop into a star or a superstar, he may not be quite ready for this one — starting with the fact he won’t be wearing a red jersey come Sunday.
    Unlike the Patriots’ defense during practice, Dolphins’ defenders can and will scheme for and blitz him relentlessly, without the fear of being cut just for breathing on him. I’ll guarantee you he’s going to see looks and take hits he’s not used to.
    Just sayin’.

  37. Kamara with 5 TDs vs the hapless Pack defense. Rodgers sacked a minimum of 4 times with all the losses to their oline. Things gonna get ugly in Green Bay this year…then for the next few decades.

  38. logicalone says:
    September 9, 2021 at 4:31 pm
    Ravens are nowhere near the top team in the AFC.

    ===========================================================

    True enough but also true is that no team should be overlooking them either.

  39. Florio’s pick: Saints 27, Packers 20.

    /////////////////

    Winston is nothing special Mike as has been proved in multiple stops and will be revealed again on Sunday. .

  40. Don’t fall for the Bills hype. They are not that good. The Steelers will pull off a road dog win.

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