Schottey’s First-Look NFL Week 1 Picks

Michael Schottey takes a first look and makes his picks for NFL Week 1.

Michael Schottey

8 Sep, 2021

Each Week, Head of Content Michael Schottey makes his picks for the upcoming slate of NFL action. For more on the best picks of the week, check out Pickwatch Pro for only $30 per year and get access to in-depth insights on proven winners. 


All betting lines are courtesy of our friends at


Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-8)

Repeating as a Super Bowl Champion is one of the most difficult feats in sports—everything has to go right, for a second time. Here, in Week 1? Look for the Buccaneers to swarm defensively and move the ball well offensively against a Dallas defense that will still be getting its footing. Pick: Buccaneers 


Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons (-3)

The Falcons are going to have an up-and-down season, but Quarterback Matt Ryan is going to come out slinging against a suspect defense who cannot cover one of the more dynamic, young receiving corps in the NFL. Pick: Falcons


Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills (-6.5)

The Steelers started last season with 11-straight wins (even if they didn’t exactly look great, at times, while doing so). This year, they start off with a buzzsaw game against one of the hottest offenses in football. They won’t be able to keep pace on the road. Pick: Bills


READ MORE: Upset Watch via Pickwatch Pro ($)


Minnesota Vikings (-3) at Cincinnati Bengals

I’m not super high on the Vikings this season, but this is an easy first game and they’re still (mostly) healthy. Running Back Dalvin Cook should make a lot of fantasy owners very happy here. Pick: Vikings


San Francisco 49ers (-7.5) at Detroit Lions

49ers are up there with the best teams in football with one of the toughest defenses. The Lions any of those things. This one might be closer than Vegas thinks with and excited crowd in Detroit, but 49ers take it easily. Pick: 49ers


Arizona Cardinals at Tennessee Titans (-3)

This game should be close. The Cardinals and QB Kyler Murray are going to come out firing and the Titans’ defense will likely get a little rattled in the process. In the end, though, the Titans can slow the game down with RB Derrick Henry and get the homefield advantage boost needed to win this one. Pick: Titans


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Seattle Seahawks (-2.5) at Indianapolis Colts

This is a highflying Seahawks offense on the road against a solid Colts defense. If this game stays close, it’ll be because the Seahawks timing is still a little off. Otherwise, this one might get away from the Colts if they’re not firing on all cylinders themselves. Pick: Seahawks


Los Angeles Chargers (-1) at Washington Football Team

Bullish about both of these teams in terms of both their success this season and the direction they’re going. The Chargers are absolutely built like the sort of team that should win road games in which they’re favored, but last season they laid eggs in big situations just like this. Gimme Football Team and their swarming defense as home dogs. Pick: Football Team


New York Jets at Carolina Panthers (-5)

Is the “Sam Darnold Revenge Tour” a thing? Can we make it a thing? While the Panthers QB isn’t exactly Mr. Dependable, he’s a better bet than a rookie passer making his first start on the road. Add in the Panthers’ young and hungry defense along with RB Christian McCaffrey, and this should be an easy home win. Pick: Panthers


Jacksonville Jaguars (-3) at Houston Texans

Who decided this should be the Week 1 matchup? Do they know I have to watch this game? This seems like someone’s out to get me. Tyrod Taylor is a viable NFL QB, but he’s not going to have a ton of help. Meanwhile, the Jaguars aren’t exactly worldbeaters themselves. Gimme the road favorite in a game setting back televised football one-to-two decades. Pick: Jaguars


Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5)

The Browns and that defense could keep this a lot closer than expected, but Arrowhead Stadium will be rocking and QB Patrick Mahomes is still Patrick Mahomes. Pick: Chiefs


READ MORE: KC Joyner: The Football Scientist


Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (-3)

I do not love rookie QBs against good defenses, but the Dolphins aren’t exactly bringing Dan Marino to the gunfight either. Gimme the home team. Pick: Patriots


Green Bay Packers (-4.5) vs. New Orleans Saints (Neutral Site)

The neutral site probably leans this line a point or so toward the Packers who would be favored either way, but I’m less intrigued about picking an underdog when they’re not playing in their (very loud) home stadium. Pick: Packers


Denver Broncos (-3) at New York Giants 

The Giants offense has not looked particularly great this preseason and they’re running into a bit of a buzzsaw in the Broncos defense. Even if you’re not a fan of Broncos QB Teddy Bridgewater on the road, that defensive backfield should be enough to come away with a victory. Pick: Broncos


Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams (-7.5)

The Rams defense doesn’t care who the starting quarterback of the Bears is. They’re going to roll here. For what it’s worth, the Bears are the only NFC North team with a losing record against new Rams QB Matthew Stafford. Pick: Rams


Baltimore Ravens (-4.5) at Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders had one of the worst rushing defenses in the league last season and were exceptionally terrible against running quarterbacks. Restart the QB Lamar Jackson MVP hype after this one. Pick: Ravens



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