My two-game lead has been squandered.
A pathetic 6-8 performance last week in the straight-up category, coupled with MDS going 9-5, gives MDS a one-game edge through 10 weeks. He also picked up three games against the spread, 7-6-1 vs. 4-9-1.
MDS is now 92-57, and I’m 91-58. Against the spread, I’m still holding a decent lead, at 67-75-4. MDS is 58-86-2.
We disagree on six games this week. For all of the picks, scroll away.
Cardinals (+3) at Seahawks
MDS’s take: The NFC West race is wide open, and that makes this week’s Thursday night game a huge one. I still view the Seahawks as the favorites, and they’ll take a big step toward another division title with a win.
MDS’s pick: Seahawks 35, Cardinals 30.
Florio’s take: The Seattle spirit remains willing. The flesh has become increasingly weak. Arizona won at the home of the 12th man last year, when fans were present. This year, it will be even easier to pull it off. Not that it’s ever easy.
Florio’s pick: Cardinals 34, Seahawks 31.
Eagles (+3.5) at Browns
MDS’s take: The Browns still have a good chance at an AFC wild card berth, and they’ll get another step closer with a win over an Eagles team that has looked awful.
MDS’s pick: Browns 24, Eagles 23.
Florio’s take: The team that got ripped for not picking Carson Wentz is now very happy it didn’t.
Florio’s pick: Browns 27, Eagles 20.
Falcons (+5) at Saints
MDS’s take: It would help to know for sure who’s starting at quarterback for the Saints, but whether it’s Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill, I expect the Saints’ strong defense to lead them to a win.
MDS’s pick: Saints 17, Falcons 10.
Florio’s take: Sean Payton loves a good challenge. He has several of them this week, with Drew Brees out.
Florio’s pick: Saints 28, Falcons 20.
Bengals (+1) at Washington
MDS’s take: I liked what I saw from Alex Smith in his first start in almost two years, and this week I think he’ll get his first win in more than two years.
MDS’s pick: Washington 20, Bengals 13.
Florio’s take: The Bengals aren’t as good as the team that beat the Titans, and the Bengals aren’t as bad as the team that was blown out by the Steelers. They’re good enough to outscore Washington, however, thanks to Joe Burrow.
Florio’s pick: Bengals 24, Washington 20.
Lions (+1.5) at Panthers
MDS’s take: The Lions are sneaking into the NFC playoff discussion, and they’ll catch a break against a banged-up Panthers team.
MDS’s pick: Lions 24, Panthers 16.
Florio’s take: Carolina plays better than their 3-7 record would suggest. The Lions often play worse than 4-5 implies. With Teddy Bridgewater on track to play, the Panthers should break their losing streak and make a run at escaping the NFC South basement.
Florio’s pick: Panthers 24, Lions 20.
Steelers (-10) at Jaguars
MDS’s take: Mike Tomlin is claiming the Jaguars represent a tough test for the Steelers, but the reality is Pittsburgh will cruise against an overmatched opponent.
MDS’s pick: Steelers 35, Jaguars 17.
Florio’s take: The Jaguars have bedeviled Pittsburgh enough times over the years to ensure that the Steelers will take a baseball bat to a potential trap game.
Florio’s pick: Steelers 31, Jaguars 13.
Titans (+6.5) at Ravens
MDS’s take: The Ravens’ offense is struggling this season, but the Titans’ defense is struggling too, and I expect Lamar Jackson to have one of his better games in a Baltimore win.
MDS’s pick: Ravens 28, Titans 20.
Florio’s take: Both teams are going in the wrong direction. The Ravens have more overall talent, giving them the better chance to turn it around.
Florio’s pick: Ravens 24, Titans 17.
Patriots (-2) at Texans
MDS’s take: Don’t count the Patriots out of the playoff race just yet. They shouldn’t have too much trouble against a bad Texans team.
MDS’s pick: Patriots 27, Texans 17.
Florio’s take: New England may not make it to the playoffs, but the road won’t end against an overmatched Houston team.
Florio’s pick: Patriots 23, Texans 14.
Dolphins (-3) at Broncos
MDS’s take: Tua Tagovailoa can become the first rookie quarterback since Ben Roethlisberger to win his first four starts, and I expect him to do just that.
MDS’s pick: Dolphins 28, Broncos 14.
Florio’s take: Miami is surging. Denver is sinking.
Florio’s pick: Dolphins 24, Broncos 13.
Jets (+8.5) at Chargers
MDS’s take: Justin Herbert is having a strong rookie season, but that isn’t resulting in many wins. That will change against the Jets.
MDS’s pick: Chargers 33, Jets 17.
Florio’s take: This could be the Jets’ last, best chance to get a win through the end of the season, if not longer.
Florio’s pick: Jets 24, Chargers 21.
Packers (+2) at Colts
MDS’s take: Aaron Rodgers is going to have a tough time against the Colts’ excellent defense, and Indianapolis will continue to show that it’s a sneaky Super Bowl contender.
MDS’s pick: Colts 20, Packers 16.
Florio’s take: One of these weeks, Green Bay will play a complete game, or something close to it.
Florio’s pick: Packers 27, Colts 20.
Cowboys (+7) at Vikings
MDS’s take: The Vikings are making a strong push to get back into playoff contention after their disappointing start, and with an easy schedule they’ve got a good chance.
MDS’s pick: Vikings 30, Cowboys 14.
Florio’s take: All things considered, America’s Team currently is performing roughly as well as the country for which it’s named.
Florio’s pick: Vikings 31, Cowboys 20.
Chiefs (-7) at Raiders
MDS’s take: The Raiders could make a huge statement in the AFC playoff race by completing a season sweep of the Chiefs. But I can’t see it happening. Kansas City will be ready to play.
MDS’s pick: Chiefs 28, Raiders 24.
Florio’s take: Andy Reid rarely loses with two weeks to prepare. The Chiefs rarely lose with their full focus and attention directed to their opponent.
Florio’s pick: Chiefs 34, Raiders 21.
Rams (+4) at Buccaneers
MDS’s take: This is a big one between two NFC playoff contenders, and I like the Buccaneers to keep pace with the Saints in the NFC South, while the Rams fall back a game in the NFC West.
MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 24, Rams 17.
Florio’s take: The Bucs have a prime-time problem, and a couple of night practices won’t change that — not with a great team coming to town.
Florio’s pick: Rams 27, Buccaneers 23.