The NFL offseason is in full swing as teams are in the midst of OTAs and gearing up for the 2021 regular season. With the schedule now revealed and the full 17-game slate in front of us to digest, we here at CBS Sports have decided to dive into each club’s schedule and predict what may be in store for us in a few months. Some clubs are in for a promising campaign in 2021, while others will quickly be looking toward a better tomorrow in 2022.
Below, you’ll find our hub for all of these regular-season predictions for each club. You’ll also see a preview of how one of our NFL writers sees Week 1 going down for each team and links to the full game-by-game predictions for the 2021 season, along with a final record prediction.
Need a quick betting primer on your favorite NFL team for the 2021 season? Here are links to schedule breakdowns for all 32 clubs.
Week 1 prediction: Titans beat Cardinals at Tennessee, 31-17
“The Cardinals’ run defense — 22nd in the league in 2020 — will be immediately tested in 2021 in the form of Derrick Henry, the reigning two-time rushing champion. On offense, Kyler Murray should have success against the Titans’ suspect pass defense. It’s a close call, but I’m taking the Titans in a tight-knit, high-scoring affair. “
To find out how the rest of Arizona’s season unfolds, click here.
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Week 1 prediction: Falcons beat Eagles at Atlanta, 35-20
“Even without Julio Jones, this is a game the Falcons can win. The Eagles are still trying to figure out their secondary and that’s where Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts can shine, along with Russell Gage and Hayden Hurst. As long as Matt Ryan keeps the pressure on and avoids it himself, it’s a win in the home opener.”
To find out how the rest of Atlanta’s season unfolds, click here.
Week 1 prediction: Ravens beat Raiders at Las Vegas, 24-20
“Baltimore will begin the year in Sin City for a ‘Monday Night Football’ matchup with the Raiders. Las Vegas had a curious offseason where it shook up what was considered to be an elite offensive line and also added Kenyan Drake to pair with Josh Jacobs in the backfield. Derek Carr is still the man under center for Jon Gruden and I doubt he’ll be able to keep up with Lamar Jackson and the rest of the Ravens offense as the club still feels like they are straddling the fence of trying to either contend or rebuild. Baltimore should be able to begin the year on a positive note with a win here.”
To find out how the rest of Baltimore’s season unfolds, click here.
Week 1 prediction: Bills beat Steelers at Buffalo, 27-17
“Even as Ben Roethlisberger enters what may be his final season in the NFL, the Steelers will be a tough out throughout the 2021 campaign. Buffalo sees a bit of bad luck by getting Pittsburgh this early in the schedule as Big Ben will likely be his sharpest out of the gate. Still, the Bills’ front seven should have no issue applying pressure on the immobile Roethlisberger and start the year off on a positive note with a win.”
To find out how the rest of Buffalo’s season unfolds, click here.
Week 1 prediction: Panthers beat Jets at Carolina, 24-10
“Sam Darnold gets his revenge against the team that — although giving him the nod atop the draft — stalled his progression before shipping him out of town for Zach Wilson. The rookie QB gets a lesson in NFL defenses in the opener, and a closer look at why Christian McCaffrey got paid the contract he did.”
To find out how the rest of Carolina’s season unfolds, click here.
Week 1 prediction: Rams beat Bears at Los Angeles, 28-17
“Matthew Stafford just can’t get away from the NFC North, can he? In his first game with his new team he will be hosting an old rival in the Bears. The Rams could be a very scary team in 2021. This defense carried Jared Goff to the divisional round of the playoffs last year, and swapping him for Stafford could make this team a legitimate Super Bowl contender. A very tough first game for Andy Dalton.”
To find out how the rest of Chicago’s season unfolds, click here.
Week 1 prediction: Bengals beat Vikings at Cincinnati, 27-24
“This is a perfect opener for the Bengals. With Joe Burrow likely making his return to the field, the Bengals get to face a very beatable team at home. Burrow’s mouth should be watering at the thought of going up against a Vikings team that had one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL last year. As long as Burrow has time to throw, the Bengals should be able to score a lot of points. The good news for the Bengals is that this is going to be a revenge game for their new starting tackle, Riley Reiff, who spent his past four years in Minnesota. That being said, this is also a revenge game for Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, who spent six seasons in Cincinnati as the Bengals defensive coordinator. Although he’d certainly love to win this game, it’s not going to happen because his defense is going to get diced up by Burrow (Note: The pick could change here if Burrow isn’t ready to play).”
To find out how the rest of Cincinnati’s season unfolds, click here.
Week 1 prediction: Browns beat Chiefs at Kansas City, 34-31
“If the rematch is as explosive as the original, the NFL is in for a treat. This time around, it’s the Browns figuring out how to finish what they nearly did in January, in a nail-biter the could ultimately come down to one bad/good play, bounce of the ball or officiating call — because what would this game be without one or all of those things? Browns steal a win on a last-second field goal in a wild upset.”
To find out how the rest of Cleveland’s season unfolds, click here.
Week 1 prediction: Buccaneers beat Cowboys at Tampa Bay, 27-21
“This is the opposite of the seemingly perennial (and boring) rerun of the Cowboys opening their season against the Giants. Instead, they’ll be part of a proverbial NFL fireworks display when they head to Florida to lock horns with the Buccaneers. Hot off of a beatdown of the Chiefs in Super Bowl LV, it’s tough to believe the usual hangover will apply to Tom Brady — several shots of avocado tequila notwithstanding. For not only is Brady now working on trying to land an eighth ring (inhale that for a moment), but the Buccaneers were also able to retain every single free agent of note that helped them lift their first Lombardi in two decades. They’re locked and reloaded and know who they are, the latter being absent in Dallas at the moment.
“The return of Dak Prescott is a massive leverage gain for the Cowboys, and it does give their offense back their identity that was completely absent when he wasn’t on the field. Defensively, however, it’s a much different story. This will mark the first game of Dan Quinn’s time as the team’s defensive coordinator, and even if he does right the ship and gets the defense humming before the end of the year — assuming it’ll be at full steam as early as Week 1 and against Brady and Co. is a stretch. Expect Prescott and the high-powered offense (who will presumably have both starting tackles on the field to protect their prized QB) to give the visceral Bucs defense one hell of a challenge, but Brady’s simply too wily and has too many offensive weapons to lose a season opener at home against a Cowboys defense that still needs to figure itself out.”
To find out how the rest of Dallas’ season unfolds, click here.
Week 1 prediction: Broncos beat Giants at New York
“Daniel Jones brings some heat in the season opener, finding new weapons Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney for a couple of big plays. But Teddy Bridgewater protects the ball from start to finish, and Denver’s restocked secondary clamps down in crunch time.”
To find out how the rest of Denver’s season unfolds, click here.
Week 1 prediction: 49ers beat Lions at Detroit
“The 49ers are a division contender and look to put their stamp on any opponent in Week 1 — it just happens to be the Lions. Detroit’s offensive line will be tested against San Francisco’s fearsome pass rush, a good challenge for the young group.”
To find out how the rest of Detroit’s season unfolds, click here.
Week 1 prediction: Packers beat Saints at New Orleans, 31-17
“Without Drew Brees at the helm, and assuming Aaron Rodgers still is in Green Bay, the Packers should enter this game with plenty of firepower to dispatch fairly easily with a Saints team led by Jameis Winston — presumably. Even if they choose to open the season with Taysom Hill as QB1 instead, with rookie Ian Book looming in the wings, there’s simply too many question marks for the Saints offense outside of the usual suspects like Alvin Kamara, Jared Cook and Michael Thomas. Their defense will give the Packers a good fight in the beginning, but eventually wear down when the offense can’t stay on the field by extending drives and/or avoiding giving the ball away.”
To find out how the rest of Green Bay’s season unfolds, click here.
Week 1 prediction: Jaguars beat Texans at Houston
“The Jaguars have this game scheduled on their calendar as the first game in the Urban Meyer and Trevor Lawrence era. Tyrod Taylor gets the opening day start for Houston, as this will be the start of what looks to be a very rough year for the Texans.”
To find out how the rest of Houston’s season unfolds, click here.
Week 1 prediction: Seahawks beat Colts at Indianapolis, 24-17
“The Colts stumble to start right against the first of two NFC West opponents. It’s a time game all afternoon long, but just as he has done so many times before, Russell Wilson helps his team snatch victory from the jaws of defeat with a last-minute drive to put the Seahawks over the top.”
To find out how the rest of Indianapolis’ season unfolds, click here.
Week 1 prediction: Jaguars beat Texans at Houston
“The Jaguars couldn’t have asked for a better Week 1 opponent — especially if Deshaun Watson is out. Trevor Lawrence throws for 300 yards in his debut and Jacksonville gets Urban Meyer his first win in the NFL. This will be a performance that makes Jaguars fans excited for what’s to come.”
To find out how the rest of Jacksonville’s season unfolds, click here.
Kansas City Chiefs
Week 1 prediction: Chiefs beat Browns at Kansas City, 31-24
“The Browns will be out to prove not only that they are legitimate contenders in 2021 by taking down the Chiefs, but also to avenge their divisional-round loss in Kansas City in January. Mahomes went down with an injury in that matchup, but Chad Henne’s heroics to keep the chains moving late in the game secured the victory for the Chiefs. I do expect the Browns to be improved in 2021, but will we see that in Week 1? I like the additions Cleveland made on defense, but I want to see how it all fits together. Additionally, the Browns have not been good in season openers. They lost by 32 to the Baltimore Ravens last year and by 30 to the Tennessee Titans in 2019. You have to go back all the way to 2004 for when the Browns won in Week 1, and I’ll lay the points here as well.”
To find out how the rest of Kansas City’s season unfolds, click here.
Las Vegas Raiders
Week 1 prediction: Ravens beat Raiders at Las Vegas
“The ‘Monday Night Football’ opener with fans in Vegas for the first time will be a sight to behold. The Raiders are going to make this tough for the Ravens, but Lamar Jackson wills the Ravens to victory.”
To find out how the rest of Las Vegas’ season unfolds, click here.
Week 1 prediction: Chargers lose to Washington Football Team at Washington
“This game is actually one of my top five too-early picks for Week 1 of the 2021 season. Unfortunately it’s because I’m taking Washington. Their elite defense will provide a tough test for the young Herbert, and Ryan Fitzpatrick has been known to start seasons hot before cooling off. Back in 2018, he became the first quarterback to throw for over 400 yards in three consecutive games — with those three games being the first three contests of the season. It’s definitely a tough first game for coach Staley, so I’m picking Washington.”
To find out how the rest of Los Angeles’ season unfolds, click here.
Los Angeles Rams
Week 1 prediction: Rams beat Bears at Los Angeles, 28-20
“The Bears bring some heat with Khalil Mack and Roquan Smith, but Matthew Stafford airs it out against their transitioning secondary. Andy Dalton, meanwhile, connects with Allen Robinson but not much else as the calls for Justin Fields grow louder.”
To find out how the rest of Los Angeles’ season unfolds, click here.
Week 1 prediction: Patriots beat Dolphins at New England, 27-21
“This game is actually one of my top five too-early picks for Week 1 of the 2021 season. Unfortunately, it’s because I’m picking against the Dolphins. New England played host to the Dolphins in Foxborough in Week 1 last year as well, and defeated them, 21-11. Cam Newton and the Patriots faded as the year went on, but this team should be different in 2021. Bill Belichick returns all of his defensive opt-outs and also made several notable additions in free agency. You know he’s especially motivated after Tom Brady won a Super Bowl in his very first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Patriots come out and make a statement in Week 1.”
To find out how the rest of Miami’s season unfolds, click here.
Week 1 prediction: Vikings beat Bengals at Minnesota, 27-20
“Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase connect early and often to give Cincinnati juice on the road, but Mike Zimmer’s defense plays with an edge against the coach’s old team. A steady dose of Dalvin Cook keeps the ball in Minnesota’s hands late.”
To find out how the rest of Minnesota’s season unfolds, click here.
New England Patriots
Week 1 prediction: Patriots beat Dolphins at New England, 21-14
“For the second consecutive year, New England will begin its season at home against Miami. Similar to what occurred then, I expect the Patriots to be able to find success on the ground with a combination of running back Damien Harris and Cam Newton, who’ll likely begin the year as the starter. While Brian Flores does match up with his former mentor in Bill Belichick well, New England’s defense should do enough to slow down second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa as he’s still working to build up some chemistry with his new pass-catchers.”
To find out how the rest of New England’s season unfolds, click here.
New Orleans Saints
Week 1 prediction: Packers beat Saints at New Orleans, 29-23
“Aaron Rodgers makes his long-awaited 2021 debut, having coaxed Green Bay into a new deal and claiming control of his future with the Packers. And he has his way throwing against a Saints secondary transitioning at cornerback.”
To find out how the rest of New Orleans’ season unfolds, click here.
New York Giants
Week 1 prediction: Broncos beat Giants at New York, 23-20
“Denver opens the year without Aaron Rodgers, instead letting Teddy Bridgewater take over under center, but it’s the Broncos’ restocked secondary that clamps down on the Giants in the opener.”
To find out how the rest of New York’s season unfolds, click here.
New York Jets
Week 1 prediction: Panthers beat Jets at Carolina, 31-24
“This game is actually one of my top five picks for Week 1 of the 2021 season. Unfortunately, it’s because I’m picking Sam Darnold and the Panthers. He didn’t have to wait long for his revenge game, and his new club is more prepared for immediate success than the Jets are. Carolina has Christian McCaffrey back, a talented wide receiving corps and a young up-and-coming defense. It’s not going to be fun to lose to Darnold, but these are the kind of growing pains a rebuilding team is going to have to suffer through.”
To find out how the rest of New York’s season unfolds, click here.
Week 1 prediction: Falcons beat Eagles at Atlanta
“Whether Julio Jones is with the Falcons or not, the Eagles are going to have trouble stopping Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts if they don’t have the cornerback situation figured out. This game will be an excellent test for Jonathan Gannon as a defensive coordinator. We’ll see if he lives up to the task.”
To find out how the rest of Philadelphia’s season unfolds, click here.
Week 1 prediction: Bills beat Steelers at Buffalo, 20-16
“For a seventh straight year, the Steelers will start the season on the road. In Week 14 of the 2020 season, the Steelers took an early lead before the Bills’ defense took over in what was eventually a 26-15 win for the home team. The Bills will be favored, but something is telling me that the Steelers’ new offensive game plan (with new offensive coordinator Matt Canada) could help Pittsburgh catch Buffalo off guard. The Steelers’ defense will also be out to prove that they are still one of the NFL’s best units after losing Bud Dupree this offseason. That being said, I’m still picking the Bills in what should be one of the better 1 p.m. games on the NFL’s Week 1 slate.”
To find out how the rest of Pittsburgh’s season unfolds, click here.
San Francisco 49ers
Week 1 prediction: 49ers beat Lions at Detroit, 31-20
“Jimmy Garoppolo is back under center for the 49ers, who support him with a big running game, a healthy George Kittle and signature Kyle Shanahan game plan. Nick Bosa, meanwhile, returns in full force to keep Jared Goff uncomfortable as he gets used to his new squad.”
To find out how the rest of San Francisco’s season unfolds, click here.
Week 1 prediction: Seahawks beat Colts at Indianapolis, 27-24
“As the odds indicate, this could be a closer call than the Seahawks would like. It’s possible Carson Wentz is rejuvenated under the rekindled tutelage of head coach Frank Reich, and linebacker Darius Leonard leads a Colts defense that can be problematic. But with the stable of offensive weapons owned by the Seahawks (even without Julio Jones), more protection for Wilson and a presumably improved pass rush, they take a close one in Indy.”
To find out how the rest of Seattle’s season unfolds, click here.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 1 prediction: Buccaneers beat Cowboys at Tampa Bay, 28-24
“The defending champs get off to a good start to the year, holding off a healthy Dallas Cowboys team that has the type of firepower to challenge any defense in the league. Dak Prescott throws for two touchdowns and runs for another in his return from injury as Dallas puts 24 points on the board against Tampa’s still-excellent defense, but the Boys’ point-prevention unit has no answers for Tom Brady and Co.”
To find out how the rest of Tampa Bay’s season unfolds, click here.
Week 1 prediction: Titans beat Cardinals at Tennessee, 30-27
“An explosive matchup awaits the Titans in Week 1, and it’s to their benefit they’ll be at home for it. Their defense will be tested early and often by Kyler Murray and the Cardinals offense, and they’ll need every ounce of juice from Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown to overcome J.J. Watt, Chandler Jones, Budda Baker and more. They can win this without Julio Jones, but if they make that trade then their chances leap upward.”
To find out how the rest of Tennessee’s season unfolds, click here.
Washington Football Team
Week 1 prediction: Washington beats Chargers at Washington, 30-24
“This game was actually one of my top five picks for Week 1 of the 2021 season. The Ron Rivera era started off with a bang last year, as Washington defeated the Philadelphia Eagles by 10 points after trailing by 17 in the second quarter. Washington’s elite defense will provide a tough test for second-year quarterback Justin Herbert, and Ryan Fitzpatrick has been known to start seasons hot before cooling off. Back in 2018, he became the first quarterback to throw for over 400 yards in three consecutive games — with those three games being the first three contests of the season. Washington begins the 2021 season with an ‘upset’ win.”
To find out how the rest of Washington’s season unfolds, click here.