It’s our last reminder that the NFL regular season is now 17 games long – thus, no team is likely to finish .500 this season unless obviously tying at least one matchup. Here are two games we would parlay with the underdogs together on the Week 1 NFL odds.
Overview Week 1 NFL 2021
Los Angeles Chargers at Washington Football Team (+1)Very intriguing matchup between rising franchises. Chargers QB Justin Herbert, the 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, faces maybe the league’s best defense.
With a record of 34-27 in season openers, the Chargers face off with Washington in an opener for the third time in history and the first since a 30-3 victory to kick off the 2001 season. Los Angeles has won the last two season openers and has won four of the last five matchups in the series with Washington. The game marks just the second season opener on the road for the Bolts against an NFC squad in the last 30 years.
It’s the head coaching debut of the Chargers’ Brandon Staley. The Chargers are coming off a 7-9 season that resulted in a third-place finish in the AFC West. That cost Coach Anthony Lynn his job. Staley takes over a defensive unit that includes Pro Bowl defensive end Joey Bosa and All-Pro safety Derwin James.
Washington opens at home for the second consecutive season. It is the first time the club has opened at home in back-to-back seasons since 2015-17 when the team opened at home in three consecutive seasons. Washington will be looking to win back-to-back Week 1 contests for the first time since winning three-straight Week 1 contests from 2010-12.
It is the first time Washington will not face a divisional opponent in Week 1 since 2018 when the club opened up at Arizona. It is also the first time Washington will not host a divisional opponent in Week 1 since 2016. It’s also the first time Washington will play an AFC West opponent in Week 1 since the club visited the San Diego Chargers in Week 1 of the 2001 season.
It will be the 12th meeting between Washington and Los Angeles and the first since 2017. Washington is 7-4 against the Chargers.
Ryan Fitzpatrick will start at QB for Washington. Fitzpatrick completed a career-high 68.5% of his passes for 2,091 yards with 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions for a 95.6 passer rating at the age of 38 last season with the Dolphins. He was the starting quarterback for Miami before being benched for Tua Tagovailoa, despite the Fins going 3-3 in his first six games.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans (+3.5)No Deshaun Watson for the Texans, so veteran Tyrod Taylor takes over as the starting QB. Taylor has started 47 games throughout his career and boasts a 24-21-1 record over that stretch. Over his entire time in the NFL, Taylor has completed 61.4% of his passes and has a passer rating of 89.5. Taylor is on his fifth team since being drafted in the sixth round by the Ravens in 2011, having spent the last two seasons with the Chargers.
Watson, meanwhile, is facing 22 ongoing civil lawsuits by 22 different women that allege the quarterback of sexual misconduct. Watson is expected to be inactive every week.
This is the NFL head coaching debut of Houston’s David Culley. Culley, 65, spent the past two seasons in Baltimore. He has been an assistant for 27 years in the league but Culley has never been an offensive coordinator at the NFL level. He was also an assistant head coach for the Kansas City Chiefs from 2013 to 2016 and spent the 2017 and 2018 seasons as the Buffalo Bills‘ quarterbacks coach.
It’s the NFL debut of Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer and No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence. In his final preseason start, Lawrence completed 11 of 12 passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns in three drives with the first-team offense in the Jaguars’ 34-14 victory over Dallas. The Jaguars’ first-team offense had scored just three points in the first two preseason games and Lawrence had completed 20 of 32 passes for 184 yards in the losses to Cleveland and New Orleans.
One bit of news for Jacksonville: Second-year running back James Robinson, so good as a rookie, wear No. 25 moving forward after wearing No. 30 as an undrafted rookie in 2020. Robinson wore No. 25 at Illinois State. Robinson rushed for 1,040 yards and seven touchdowns on 240 carries as a rookie. He also caught 49 passes for 344 yards and three touchdowns. He was the fourth undrafted player in NFL history to rush for more than 1,000 yards as a rookie.
Expert Picks: Washington + Houston on 6-point teaser
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