- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers began defending their 2020 Super Bowl title as (-435 odds) favorites with a two-point victory over the Dallas Cowboys and lead the power rankings.
- The Cleveland Browns impressed in their loss to the 8-point favorite Kansas City Chiefs, paving their way as the only 0-1 team in the top five of the power rankings.
TAMPA, FL - The 2021 NFL season officially kicked off this week, as the 9-point favorite Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Dallas Cowboys 31-29 on Thursday Night Football.
The opening matchups provided fans with their first glimpse of each team’s roster, and gave online gambling fans an idea of where each team lands in the landscape of the league.
Week 2 NFL Power Rankings: Top 5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0, Defeated the Dallas Cowboys 31-29)
Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers won a hard-fought Thursday Night Football matchup in which they held the lead for three consecutive quarters before conceding the lead by a single point with 1:24 remaining in the final quarter.
Brady then led the Bucs on a 57-yard drive to secure the victory, allowing the Bucs moneyline (-435 odds) to cash.
Four Bucs receivers had five catches or more Thursday; however, top receiver Mike Evans was held to three receptions, well below his over/under of 4.5 receptions.
Sports bettors should pay attention to Evans’ receptions total odds next week - it may come at a discount, and Evans is primed for a big bounceback week as he is still very much the number one target for Tom Brady.
Kansas City Chiefs (1-0, Defeated the Cleveland Browns 33-29)
The Chiefs defeated a talented Cleveland team Sunday after finding themselves trailing by two possessions at halftime - the two-score lead easily allowed Browns first half (+155 odds) bettors to cash. Kansas City’s defensive unit was faced with a difficult task in stopping the Cleveland rushing attack, and while they were unable to stop it (three separate Browns scored rushing touchdowns) they were able to force two key turnovers in the second half that led to the victory.
The Chiefs’ offense was its usual explosive self, which paid off in a big way for Chiefs player prop bettors with Patrick Mahomes throwing three touchdowns (his over/under was 2.5 touchdowns), and Tyreek Hill tallying 11 receptions for 197 yards, blowing by his 6.5 reception over/under odds.
While Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire eclipsed his 11.5 carry over/under with 14 attempts, he failed to meet his rushing yards total (47), rushing for just 43 yards.
Look for a more efficient outing out of lead back Edwards-Helaire in the Chiefs’ week 2 matchup against the Ravens, possibly cashing in on his carries and rushing yard prop odds.
Seattle Seahawks (1-0, Defeated the Indianapolis Colts 38-26)
The debut of the new Shane Waldron-led Seahawks offense quieted any doubters in Week 1.
The offense, orchestrated by quarterback Russell Wilson, was efficient and effective despite Wilson failing to reach his projected passing yardage total of 276.5 yards, throwing for 254 yards and four touchdowns. His passer rating of 152.3 was the second-highest of his career, illustrating just how good Seattle’s offense can be with the right playcalling.
Another efficient outing for Wilson will bode well for Seattle’s chances in eclipsing their Week 2 team points total of 29.5 (-130 odds) against the Titans.
Seattle’s defensive line was also impressive, racking up three sacks and five tackles for loss against a solid Colts offensive line while holding Colts’ running back Jonathan Taylor to just 56 yards, well below his over/under of 72.5.
The Seahawks can score with anyone, and their solid week 1 defensive showing solidifies their position as one of the top teams in the NFL. Look for the Seahawks defensive line to wreak havoc against a Tennessee offensive line that allowed six sacks in Week 1, including five by Chandler Jones.
The points total for that matchup is set at 54 points.
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0, Defeated the Buffalo Bills 23-16)
The Steelers were able to outlast a very good Buffalo squad in Week 1, scoring all of their points in the second half and easily covering their -12.5 point second half odds.
While Pittsburgh’s offense was able to spread the ball throughout the game with eight separate receivers logging a reception, it was the defensive unit that brought the Steelers the win after Ulysees Gilbert III returned a blocked punt for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Pittsburgh entered 2021 with one of the league’s top-rated defenses, and they played up to the hype, holding an explosive Bills squad to just 16 points, which helped bettors who took the under for the 46 point total (-110 odds).
Pittsburgh will remain tough to beat as long as their defense remains healthy.
Rookie running back Najee Harris tallied 16 carries for a paltry 45 rushing yards (15.5 yards under his projected total) in Week 1.
Pittsburgh seems to be committed to Harris’ role in the offense, and he has the talent to make the most of his carries.
Cleveland Browns (0-1, Lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 33-29)
Yes, the Browns lost their Week 1 matchup to the Chiefs; however, there were so many positive takeaways for the Browns that it is difficult to justify dropping them in the power rankings.
The Browns sprinted out to a 22-10 halftime lead, despite being 3-point underdogs on the first half spread, behind two Nick Chubb rushing touchdowns - only to surrender the lead in the fourth quarter after two impressive throws by Patrick Mahomes that put him over his 2.5 passing touchdowns prop.
Chubb also blew by his over/under for carries (13.5) and rushing yards (72.5) with 15 carries for 83 yards on the day.
While the Browns failed to score any points through the air, quarterback Baker Mayfield was efficient, eclipsing his over/under of 264.5 passing yards by completing 21 of his 28 passes for 321 yards.
The Browns’ rushing attack should be near impossible to stop on a week-to-week basis. Sports bettors should closely monitor several prop bet odds, including Chubb’s carries, rushing yards, and touchdowns, as Cleveland’s offense is committed to getting the ball in his hands as much as possible, even if they are down on the scoreboard.