Road teams dominated in Week Four, with 11 of them winning outright. That contributed to a not-so-dominant week for MDS and me in picking games.
He went 8-7, and I went 7-8.
That moves his lead to two games for the season: 36-27 versus 34-29.
This week, we disagree on three games. For all of the picks, scroll away.
Rams at Seahawks
MDS’s take: The NFL gave FOX some excellent Thursday night matchups to start the season, and this is a very big one in the NFC West. I lost some confidence in the Rams on Sunday and think the Seahawks will beat them at home in prime time.
MDS’s pick: Seahawks 20, Rams 17.
Florio’s take: It’s a short-week game that Richard Sherman would call a “poopfest,” and it could be a sh-tshow for the Rams, who played a long game in the heat on Sunday versus the Buccaneers. The Seahawks had an easier time of it in a climate-controlled dome, and they’re at home. It’s time for them to stake their claim to the top of the NFC West.
Florio’s pick: Seahawks 27, Rams 20.
Jaguars at Panthers
MDS’s take: Before the season no one pegged this as Gardner Minshew vs. Kyle Allen, but that actually might be a better matchup than Nick Foles vs. Cam Newton. I like Allen to remain undefeated as a starter.
MDS’s pick: Panthers 23, Jaguars 17.
Florio’s take: The two teams that joined the NFL in 1995 meet for the seventh time. The 2-2 teams are 3-3 in their series, and it’s Kyle Allen vs. Gardner Minshew. The real battle comes between the fourth and eighth overall picks in 2017, Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey. Home team gets the edge.
Florio’s pick: Panthers 24, Jaguars 20.
Cardinals at Bengals
MDS’s take: Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray finally get their first win, against an absolutely awful Bengals team.
MDS’s pick: Cardinals 30, Bengals 17.
Florio’s take: The Bengals had 15,000 empty seats at their home opener. They’ll be lucky to have 15,000 present for this one. But it would be wise to show up — this may be one of their best chances this year at getting a win.
Florio’s pick: Bengals 21, Cardinals 17.
Falcons at Texans
MDS’s take: Things are trending downward in a hurry for the Falcons, who have made the big investments in Matt Ryan and Julio Jones but just don’t have a very good team from top to bottom. The Texans will roll.
MDS’s pick: Texans 30, Falcons 20.
Florio’s take: Dan Quinn’s last season in Atlanta continues in Houston, against a coach who may be in his own last season if his team blows this one.
Florio’s pick: Texans 20, Falcons 14.
Buccaneers at Saints
MDS’s take: I’m not totally sold on the Saints’ offense with Teddy Bridgewater, but their defense has been better than expected and I think they’ll slow down the Jameis Winston train.
MDS’s pick: Saints 17, Buccaneers 14.
Florio’s take: Two years after Jameis Winston unsuccessfully tried to eat a W in the Superdome, he has another chance to chow down. But the Bucs seem to be too banged up to pull off what would be a signature victory in New Orleans, and the Saints are doing surprisingly well without Drew Brees.
Florio’s pick: Saints 27, Buccaneers 20.
Vikings at Giants
MDS’s take: The Vikings’ offense is a mess right now, but the Giants’ defense is too, and Minnesota should be able to move the ball well enough to avoid a disaster like last week.
MDS’s pick: Vikings 24, Giants 20.
Florio’s take: The biggest matchup in this game is Kirk Cousins vs. Kirk Cousins, as the embattled quarterback tries to make plays (which he should be worried about doing) while keeping fellow players happy (which he shouldn’t be worried about doing). But if the Vikings can run the ball, run the ball, and run the ball against a not-so-good Giants’ defense, Cousins won’t have to win the battle with himself. This week.
Florio’s pick: Vikings 23, Giants 13.
Bears at Raiders
MDS’s take: Khalil Mack gets to show Jon Gruden what he’s missing out on as the Bears get another win in London to move to 4-1.
MDS’s pick: Bears 20, Raiders 7.
Florio’s take: If Jon Gruden doesn’t already regret trading Khalil Mack, Gruden soon will.
Florio’s pick: Bears 24, Raiders 10.
Jets at Eagles
MDS’s take: At least until Sam Darnold returns, the Jets are in the same range as Miami, Washington and Cincinnati as such brutally bad teams I’d pick them only against each other.
MDS’s pick: Eagles 24, Jets 13.
Florio’s take: The Eagles are poised to make a move, especially once they get DeSean Jackson back.
Florio’s pick: Eagles 28, Jets 14.
Ravens at Steelers
MDS’s take: The Steelers have a chance to move into first place in the AFC North this week, if they beat the Ravens and the Browns lose. But for as well as the Steelers played on Monday night, I just don’t think they have the horsepower to keep up with the Ravens.
MDS’s pick: Ravens 30, Steelers 17.
Florio’s take:The Steelers never got a chance to face Lamar Jackson as a starter in 2018. In 2019, they’ll dust off the hit-him-hard-whenever-you-can playbook from 2012 against RGIII.
Florio’s pick: Steelers 17, Ravens 14.
Bills at Titans
MDS’s take: The Bills’ defense looked good in defeat on Sunday and I think will look even better with a win over Marcus Mariota & Co.
MDS’s pick: Bills 13, Titans 10.
Florio’s take: Nineteen years after the Music City Miracle, this is a game the Titans should win. And, as we know, the Titans only win the games they shouldn’t win.
Florio’s pick: Bills 22, Titans 16.
Patriots at Washington
MDS’s take: New England opened as a 13-point favorite and that quickly moved to 15.5. I think it should be even higher.
MDS’s pick: Patriots 35, Washington 10.
Florio’s take: It may be Jay Gruden’s last stand. Either way, he’ll fall.
Florio’s pick: Patriots 38, Washington 17.
Broncos at Chargers
MDS’s take: I don’t think the Broncos are as bad a team as their 0-4 record suggests, and I think Joe Flacco is playing better than he’s getting credit for. But the Chargers are a better team and should win a competitive game at home.
MDS’s pick: Chargers 27, Broncos 20.
Florio’s take:The Chargers can’t stumble against the teams they should beat, and they should beat the Broncos.
Florio’s pick: Chargers 30, Broncos 17.
Packers at Cowboys
MDS’s take: This is a big one in the NFC playoff race, and the Cowboys’ offense will bounce back from last week’s rough game to put up some points on the Packers.
MDS’s pick: Cowboys 27, Packers 23.
Florio’s take: The Packers may not have Devante Adams, which will make it very hard to run their offense. Even if they do, the Cowboys got a wakeup call on Sunday night. They’ll get it together for a key home game.
Florio’s pick: Cowboys 28, Packers 23.
Colts at Chiefs
MDS’s take: It’s hard for me to picture the Colts keeping this one close.
MDS’s pick: Chiefs 40, Colts 20.
Florio’s take: The Colts would be wise to try to slow the game down and reduce the number of times the Chiefs have the ball and keep the scoring low. Even if they try, it won’t matter.
Florio’s pick: Chiefs 35, Colts 20.
Browns at 49ers
MDS’s take: The 49ers have been one of the pleasant surprises of this NFL season, and they’ll keep it going in what should be an exciting prime time game.
MDS’s pick: 49ers 31, Browns 24.
Florio’s take: The Browns play better away from home, where they don’t feel the intense pressure to satisfy the sky-high expectations in Cleveland. I don’t feel strongly about this one, but the gut-level thinking continues to be that the Browns, who were impressive in Baltimore, will move to 3-2.
Florio’s pick: Browns 24, 49ers 17.