Scott Shapiro's NFL Week 1 Worksheet: Rams will roll the Bears
The NFL season is upon us, and I simply cannot wait. Unlike the past few years, I am going to do things a little differently with my weekly preview article. Hopefully you not only like it, but it can help lead you to a profitable 2021 campaign.
Team Most Likely to Win by 14+ Points: Los Angeles Rams
Mon, September 13 2021, 12:20 AM
Bears’ head coach Matt Nagy is opting to trot out veteran Andy Dalton in the opener instead of rolling with first round pick Justin Fields. While this may prevent Fields from taking a beating behind a shaky offensive line, it does not give Chicago much of a chance to start the season with a road victory.
Look for the Bears defense to do their best to hang in there against the new-look Sean McVay offense led by Matthew Stafford, but for Aaron Donald and crew to wreak havoc on Dalton and the limited Bears’ attack. Rams will roll.
Underdog of 6+ points Most Likely to Spring an Outright Upset: Detroit Lions
Sun, September 12 2021, 5:00 PM
The 49ers appear set for a bounce back season after suffering a slew of injuries, especially on defense in 2020. San Francisco is a far better team than their Week 1 opponent, but the Lions are being a bit disrespected in Dan Campbell’s first season at the helm. Sure, Jared Goff is a downgrade from Matthew Stafford, but he did go to the Super Bowl with the Rams in 2018 and has a strong offensive line to protect him and help pave the way for the running game.
Expect Detroit to play hard at home to start the year. If they can force Jimmy Garoppolo into a few big mistakes they can potentially spring the upset.
RB/WR/TE Most Likely To Score 2 Touchdowns: Derrick Henry
Cardinals at Titans has the second highest total (52.5) of the Week 1 contests and for good reason. Arizona was second in the NFL in seconds per play behind only Dallas in 2020, and should take a step forward on offense with Rondale Moore and A.J. Green added to the receiving corps.
Tennessee has had an incredibly efficient offense since inserting Ryan Tannehill into the starting lineup in October of the 2019 season. Look for both teams to find the end zone regularly with Derrick Henry starting off where he left off last year. The 2015 Heisman Trophy winner is likely to see some regression after a monster season on the ground last year. However, I do not expect that to begin in Week 1.
Quarterback Most Likely to Throw for 400 Yards: Matt Ryan
Throwing for 400 yards not only takes the right offense, but a game script that requires a quarterback to throw early and often. There is no obvious signal caller that fits this criteria in Week 1, so I will hope the Eagles can jump out early and force Atlanta to play from behind. If that is the case, I like Matt Ryan’s chances to post big numbers in the Falcons' home opener under new head coach Arthur Smith.
The Eagles’ secondary outside of Darius Slay remains suspect, and Ryan has two serious pass catchers in Calvin Ridley and rookie tight end Kyle Pitts. With the right volume he should have a monster day in Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Defense Most Likely To Pitch a Shutout: Denver Broncos
Sun, September 12 2021, 8:25 PM
With Bradley Chubb and Von Miller up front making lives miserable for opposing quarterbacks, a revamped secondary with the additions of Kyle Fuller, Ronald Darby, and first round pick Patrick Surtain II, and one of the best defensive minds in the game in head coach Vic Fangio, the Broncos defense has every right to be considered one of the best in the NFL in 2021.
The Denver defenses gets a tasty matchup in the Big Apple on Sunday against a banged-up Giants offense. Look for Chubb and Miller to dominate the Giants' offensive line from start to finish and to force Daniel Jones into a number of mistakes.
My NFL Week 1 ATS Plays of the Week:
- Over Titans/Cardinals (52.5)
- Lions (+8)
- Under Dolphins/Patriots (43.5)