The Super Bowl has been and gone. The NFL Draft has been and gone. Pre-season training is underway, and the upcoming 2021 NFL season look is just around the corner. There will be plenty of changes to lineups, and some exciting new talents walking onto the fields across the United States.
Now, going into the new season the Kansas City Chiefs are the people’s favorite to go all the way this year to win the 2022 Super Bowl. However, last year’s winners the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with star quarterback Tom Brady, are only slightly behind the chiefs in the odds. So they’re the more likely teams people will back, and no doubt those people will also be looking for a Draftkings promo code for placing some early action.
However, it wouldn’t be the first time in NFL history that a team that were favorites failed to lift the Lombardi Trophy. So before we get too ahead of ourselves, let’s look at those opening fixtures and try to see if we can guess how they’ll pan out.
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Dallas Cowboys @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last year’s Super Bowl champions will kick off proceedings in the 2021 season with an exciting matchup against the Dallas Cowboys. Both teams have solid offences, so it is likely to be a game where we see both teams going all out to try to claim their first win of the season. However, the Buccaneers have a much stronger defensive line, being the 8th rated team out of all 32 for lowest points conceded over the season.
This year, that defence will be even more experienced, and will have that bit more chemistry as they’ve come to know how each other tick. So for us, in the opening game, we can’t really see anything other than a win for Tampa Bay.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans
This is going to potentially be our favorite of the opening lineups this year, purely to see number one draft pick Trevor Lawrence starting his first game of pro ball. The Jaguars managed to bag themselves the number one rated quarterback of the draft from Clemson, and whilst he is undoubtedly a huge talent, the team probably needs more improvements elsewhere before they challenge for a title.
That said, this should be a great game for them as the Houston Texans potentially have the worst roster in the entire NFL this season. And it’s not entirely down to the current coach’s fault, more the poor decisions made by his predecessor Bill O’Brien. Add to that they don’t even know who their 1st choice quarterback will be due to Deshaun Watson facing numerous sexual misconduct charges. We’re just going to write this one off for the Texans, and say easy win for the Jaguars.
Los Angeles Chargers @ Washington Football Team
This game could be one of the closest to call for the opening week. The Chargers have some exciting new signings, whilst Washington don’t even have their new franchise name sorted. That said, last season Washington had an incredible defence that won them games on it’s own. They’ve now strengthened their offensive line too, so they should be the team who edges it, and we’ll put them down for the win, but it could easily go to OT for them to do it.
Seattle Seahawks @ Indianapolis Colts
This could be another close matchup between these two, however for us, the Colts’ Carson Wentz could be the difference maker. He’s known for making throws, and the Seahawks allowed the 2nd-most passing yards against them in the NFL last year. So if Wentz gets the chance, the Colts could potentially run away with this one, and so they’re our pick.
New York Jets @ Carolina Panthers
This will be one potentially exciting matchup. The Jets worked so hard to sign new quarterback Zach Wilson, they practically forced their long-standing servant Sam Darnold out the door. And he is back on game day 1 with the Carolina Panthers. The Jets have a new head coach in Robert Saleh too, which could mean a new look for the Jets, but we know Darnold, and he’ll be out for revenge. So once again, close matchup, but we think Darnold out for revenge could snatch the Panthers the win.
Minnesota Vikings @ Cincinnati bengals
We have to go with Vikings in this one. The Bengals are quite one dimensional as a team who like their runs, but the Vikings have a front seven that could put a stop to that easily. However, the return of the injured Joe Burrow may change that, but probably not. And if they fail to break through the Vikings defence, we see the talented Vikings offensive lineup being too much for Cincinnati.
Arizona Cardinals @ Tennessee Titans
These two teams have excellent offensive lines, but both suffer defensively. And we don’t see enough improvement to either roster to see that changing. Thus making it a contender for highest scoring game in week 1. That said, we think the Titans could just about edge it.
San Francisco 49ers @ Detroit Lions
The 49ers had a disappointing campaign last year, racking up more injuries than anyone else in the NFL. Before that, they made it all the way to the Super Bowl in 2019, and with a fully fit roster they could do it again. We have them as an outside bet for the Superbowl this year too, and we think they will walk all over the Lions in their opening fixture. Win for San Francisco.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Buffalo Bills
These two faced off in the playoffs last season, and it was a close game then. This year, the Buffalo Bills will want to be going one step further, after just falling short of a Super Bowl appearance. So we have them down as the favorites to win this matchup as the Steelers probably need a little more time with so many new faces in their roster.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Atlanta Falcons
Both these teams have been Super Bowl contenders over the past few seasons, however, both now are in transition periods rebuilding their squads. So it could be a very closely fought contest. But of the rosters, we believe the Falcons probably have the strongest of the two. And so they’re our favorites for this game, however it really could go either way.
Cleveland Browns @ Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs are many people’s favorites for the Super Bowl this year, although we’d probably back Tom Brady collecting another ring for his fingers. That said, the Browns had their best season in a while last year, and will only be better this year. But we’re backing Brady all the way in this game, although it could be extremely close, with only a couple of points in it.
Green Bay Packers @ New Orleans Saints
We don’t know either of these teams starting quarterbacks yet, so it could really go either way. It all depends on who gets picked to play on the day, however, if Sean Payton plays for the Saints, we fully expect them to earn the win. Without him though, it will probably be the Packers.
Denver Broncos @ New York Giants
Both of these teams struggled to score last year, however, their defences were solid and got them both out of some sticky situations. For that reason, this could potentially be the lowest scoring game of the week. It may all come down to whoever makes the fewest mistakes wins, and if that is the case, then we see the Giants slipping up first, allowing the Broncos to take the W.
Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots
These two teams are always expected to at least make the playoffs and this season is no different. It easily could go either way and will no doubt be a tight contest between the two. They’ve both solid defensively, and have good attacking options. But we say the Patriots win purely as they have the home advantage.
Chicago Bears @ Los Angeles Rams
The Bears have an exciting future with some emerging young talents, however, they’re still settling in and we believe there is still work to be done. The Rams however have a more experienced side, and so we expect them to win comfortably in this game.
Baltimore Ravens @ Las Vegas Raiders
The final matchup of week 1 sees the Ravens take on the Raiders. Now the Ravens are my team, ever since they were the first team to ever pick me in career mode in an EA Sports NFL game, so I’m biased. But the Raiders don’t come close in talent to the Ravens, and last season they lost 34-17. Whilst the scoreline may not be as wide this year with some defensive improvements for the Raiders, I don’t think it will be enough to close that gap fully. So yeah, Ravens win to close out the week.