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To the e-mailer who appreciated the Week 1 picks segment, you are sincerely welcome.

"You made me a lot of money," he wrote.

How, pray tell?

"I just picked all the teams you didn't."


It wasn't quite that bad but going 8-8 straight up wasn't a good start. Of course, even the oddsmakers had a hard time guessing what Week 1 of the 2021 season would look like.

Underdogs went 12-4 against the spread, a Week 1 record. Nine of them also won the game straight up, including, oddly, five on the road as stadiums returned to full capacity.

Week 2 features seven home underdogs. Still-woeful Jacksonville, which is plus-6 hosting Denver, is the heaviest home underdog.

The road favorites should do well this week. Although the hunch is the Saints' Jameis Winston will return closer to Earth's atmosphere at Carolina.

The Upset Special — make that the 1-0 and Still Undefeated Upset Special — is Dallas vs. the Chargers at what should be the Cowboys' Los Angeles version of home-field advantage.

And the lock of the week?

Bucs over Falcons.

So there you have it, Mr. E-mailer. Put all you got on the Falcons.


Here's a look at this week's games:

Vikings (+4 ½) at Cardinals: Cardinals 30, Vikings 24

The Vikings seemingly have no chance. Kyler Murray is too dynamic, his weapons are aplenty, and Chandler Jones should destroy the Vikings' pass protection, or lack thereof. However, beware the NFL sure thing because, frankly, there is no such thing. The Vikings keep it close, but Arizona is the better team and it's at home.

Patriots (-5 ½) at Jets: Patriots by 7

With much help from his defense, Mac Jones moves to within 248 wins of Tom Brady's franchise mark.

Broncos (-6) at Jaguars: Broncos by 7

Rodgers Smodgers. Teddy Bridgewater goes to 2-0 as a Bronco as Urban Meyer moves another loss closer to the USC job. BTW, Teddy B is 36-13-1 against the spread as an NFL starter.

Bills (-3) at Dolphins: Bills by 6

The heat in South Florida won't stop the Bills from beating the Dolphins for a sixth straight time and starting to act like the projected AFC champion that some of us expect.

49ers (-3 ½) at Eagles: 49ers by 10

Uh-oh. Here we go again. The 49ers lost their top running back and top cornerback last week. But they still have enough to win. For now.

Rams (-4) at Colts: Rams by 9

Colts pass defense helps Matthew Stafford reach 2-0 for only the third time in 13 seasons.

Raiders (+5 ½) at Steelers: Steelers by 7

The Steelers are indeed still alive … unlike my Buffalo survivor pool pick.

Bengals (+3) at Bears: Bears by 14

The Vikings' Week 1 loss will look even worse come Sunday night.

Saints (-3 ½) at Panthers: Panthers by 3

Ditto for the Packers.

Texans (+12 ½) at Browns: Browns by 6

Even the punter won't drop the ball a week after letting the Chiefs off the hook.

Falcons (+12 ½) at Buccaneers: Buccaneers by 17

The Bucs will be well-rested, the Falcons are awful and, oh yeah, Atlanta is Super aware that Brady is better than Jalen Hurts.

Titans (+5 ½) at Seahawks: Seahawks by 3

This has Tennessee bounce back written all over it. But stick with Seattle as the 12th man makes its full-throated return.

Chiefs (-3 ½) at Ravens: Chiefs by 7

Blah, blah, blah … and in the end Patrick Mahomes wins and goes to 12-0 in September games.

Lions (+10 ½) at Packers: Packers by 21

What's the best recipe for scoring more than three points? Play a Monday nighter at home against an already bad Lions team that just lost its top cornerback.


Cowboys (+3) at Chargers: Cowboys 34, Chargers 31

Dak Prescott was fantastic in the loss to the Bucs. The Chargers had a nice win at Washington. Throw out home-field advantage in the Chargers' first game with fans at So-Fi Stadium. Knowing L.A., there will be a lot more Cowboys fans inside that stadium. Last week's Upset Special: Raiders (plus-4 ½) 28, Ravens 21. Actual score: Raiders 33, Ravens 27. Record: 1-0.

Last week's record straight up/against the spread: 8-8/8-8.

Vikings picks straight up/against the spread: 0-1/0-1.