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PFT’s Week Four picks


I was feeling pretty good after Thursday night. MDS foolishly picked the Eagles, I luckily picked the Chiefs, and the one-game gap in the PFT picks contest was gone.

But we disagreed on five more games. MDS predicted a sweep during his Friday visit to PFT Live, and he was nearly right.

He hit on four, I was right on one, and now he’s ahead by three.

MDS was 10-6 in a topsy-turvy week. I managed to stay at .500 -- unlike 11 teams in the NFC.

For the year, MDS leads with a mark of 34-14. I’m 31-17.

We disagree on five games this week. Read on for this weeks round of selections.

49ers at Rams

MDS’s take: The 49ers’ backs are against the wall. Only two weeks ago, a lot of people thought they were the favorites to win the Super Bowl. Now they’re coming off two consecutive blowout losses. Jim Harbaugh will have his team ready to play a big game.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 31, Rams 17.

Florio’s take: The Niners have lost two in a row. The Rams went 1-0-1 against San Fran last season. Colin Kaepernick has looked ordinary of late, and he’s actually getting motivation from Twitter. Which points directly to the 49ers finding a way to win, preferably by getting back to what they do best -- running the ball and playing tough defense.

Florio’s pick: 49ers 20, Rams 17.

Ravens at Bills

MDS’s take: I picked against the Ravens last week and got it wrong. It looks like Baltimore is starting to get its defense together, and they’re going to give EJ Manuel a tough game on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 20, Bills 10.

Florio’s take: Baltimore’s young defense is maturing quickly. Buffalo’s young offense isn’t. The Ravens are the rock and the Bills are the scissors and Baltimore is putting that Week One debacle deeper into its rear-view mirror.

Florio’s pick: Ravens 24, Bills 13.

Bengals at Browns

MDS’s take: Give Cleveland credit for turning in a spirited game last week, when everyone thought the Browns were ready to give up on the season. And although no one notices, the Browns’ defense has actually been playing pretty well all season. But the Bengals are simply a better team and will win the Battle of Ohio.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 24, Browns 10.

Florio’s take: The Browns overachieved on Sunday, coming from behind to win in Minnesota. But the Bengals pulled off the kind of outcome reserved for truly great teams, blowing a 14-point lead and then reversing a 16-point deficit against one of the better franchises in the league. Look for the Bengals to find a new level of confidence and ability, as they move farther from a Week One loss that should have been a win.

Florio’s pick
: Bengals 28, Browns 21.

Bears at Lions

MDS’s take: Detroit is 2-1, with two wins against 0-3 Minnesota and 0-3 Washington, and a loss to 1-2 Arizona. So the Lions haven’t shown they can beat a good team yet. And I don’t think they’re going to on Sunday, as the Bears will strengthen their grip on first place in the NFC North with a big win.

MDS’s pick: Bears 28, Lions 13.

Florio’s take: Since when does a battle for first place in the NFC North not involve the Packers? Since right freaking now. Home team has the edge, especially if Reggie Bush is healthy. If he isn’t, throw it all day to Calvin Johnson.

Florio’s pick: Lions 27, Bears 24.

Seahawks at Texans

MDS’s take: The Seahawks are great at home but suspect on the road, and so it wouldn’t shock me if the Texans pull the home upset. But Houston’s lousy special teams are going to be a problem against Seattle’s excellent special teams, and I expect a big play in the kicking game to be the difference.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 23, Texans 20.

Florio’s take: The 2012 Seahawks were 3-5 away from home. The 2013 Seahawks will start 2-0 on the road. Which will make it easier to force the home games through CenturyLink Field. The Texans are just a little too banged up, and their quarterback is just a little too Schauby.

Florio’s pick: Seahawks 27, Texans 20.

Colts at Jaguars

MDS’s take: At this point I wouldn’t pick the Jaguars to beat anyone, even at home. I certainly wouldn’t pick them to beat a team that looks as impressive as the Colts looked on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Colts 28, Jaguars 7.

Florio’s take: This has trap written all over it. The Colts scored an unlikely 20-point win at San Francisco, and the Jags have been hapless all season. But the Jaguars are a distant 32nd out of 32 teams for a reason. (Or for many reasons.) Even if Indy lets its guard down, they don’t have the talent to pull off the upset.

Florio’s pick: Colts 27, Jaguars 13.

Giants at Chiefs

MDS’s take: The NFL’s most pleasant surprise hosts the NFL’s most unpleasant surprise. Andy Reid’s undefeated Chiefs are going to keep rolling against Tom Coughlin’s winless Giants, for whom the season could get ugly in a hurry.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 24, Giants 17.

Florio’s take: The Giants shouldn’t be 0-3, and the Chiefs probably shouldn’t be 3-0. So it’s time for Correction Sunday, with Eli Manning finding inspiration from the family documentary that aired on ESPN, Tom Coughlin coaching even better (as he usually does) when the seat warms up, and the Giants defense blasting past rookie right tackle Eric Fisher, who has struggled mightily at times in his first three NFL games.

Florio’s pick: Giants 24, Chiefs 20.

Steelers at Vikings

MDS’s take: The NFL is shipping a couple of winless teams to London. Local soccer fans should love this one, because there will be a lot of kicking and not much scoring.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 9, Vikings 6.

Florio’s take: This rematch of Super Bowl IX comes when the two teams are a combined 0-VI. Give the edge to the team with the better running game, and the less dysfunctional offensive coaching staff.

Florio’s pick: Vikings 16, Steelers 13.

Cardinals at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: Bucs coach Greg Schiano picked a good time to start the Mike Glennon era -- a time when a bad team is coming to town. Glennon will struggle, but the Cardinals’ offense will struggle as well, and Tampa Bay will take a low-scoring win.

MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 17, Cardinals 14.

Florio’s take: The Mike Glennon era begins with a thud. He may play well, but something screwy will happen. And it will be someone’s fault other than the head coach’s.

Florio’s pick: Cardinals 20, Buccaneers 17.

Jets at Titans

MDS’s take: Both defenses are playing well, but I think the difference will be at quarterback. Jake Locker looks like he’s finally becoming the player the Titans thought he would be when they drafted him, while Geno Smith still has a lot of work to do to become the player the Jets want him to be. Advantage Tennessee.

MDS’s pick: Titans 24, Jets 14.

Florio’s take: The old Titans take on the new Titans, in a season when both teams were expected to mimic the Titanic. Instead, they’re both 2-1. Home team gets the edge in a battle of a pair of potent defenses.

Florio’s pick: Titans 13, Jets 10.

Eagles at Broncos

MDS’s take: Peyton Manning complained about how much time the NFL’s schedule makers gave the Eagles to prepare for this game, but the reality is the Eagles just don’t have the personnel on defense to keep Manning and Co. in check. The Broncos will cruise to 4-0.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 38, Eagles 28.

Florio’s take: Chip Kelly returns to Colorado to play someone other than the local college team. He’ll end up feeling like he’s been trampled by actual buffaloes after Peyton Manning puts up the kind of points that even an offense playing against air would have a hard time matching.

Florio’s pick: Broncos 42, Eagles 27.

Redskins at Raiders

MDS’s take: This is a tough game to pick. If Terrelle Pryor were completely healthy I’d probably go with the Raiders, but Pryor is a question mark after suffering a concussion, and I think Matt Flynn could be the quarterback who finally makes Washington’s defense look competent.

MDS’s pick: Redskins 21, Raiders 20.

Florio’s take: That dirt infield may not be kind to RGIII’s knee. Neither will the D.C. defense, which hasn’t been giving Griffin much support. Whether it’s Matt Flynn, Terrelle Pryor, or Matt McGloin, the fate of defensive coordinator Jim Haslett could be sealed come Sunday.

Florio’s pick: Raiders 24, Redskins 20.

Cowboys at Chargers

MDS’s take: Tony Romo and Philip Rivers are both playing very well this year. I think Rivers will play just a little better against the Cowboys’ defense than Romo against the Chargers’ defense, and San Diego will win a high-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 35, Cowboys 31.

Florio’s take: The Chargers should be 3-0. The Cowboys should be 3-0. After this one, they’ll both be 2-2. Philip Rivers overachieves in the battle of underachieving quarterbacks.

Florio’s pick: Chargers 28, Cowboys 27.

Patriots at Falcons

MDS’s take: The Patriots’ offense will be good by the end of the season, but it’s not good yet. So far none of the Patriots’ opponents have been good enough to take advantage of New England’s offensive woes, but the Falcons will be.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 24, Patriots 20.

Florio’s take: The Falcons know how to build a lead. They don’t know how to hold a lead. If they fail to do it on Sunday night, they’ll match their loss total from 17 weeks of 2012 in only four weeks of 2013. For the Patriots, the next three games (Falcons, Bengals, Saints) will be slightly tougher than the first three.

Florio’s pick
: Falcons 30, Patriots 24.

Dolphins at Saints

MDS’s take: The only battle of unbeaten teams this week takes place on Monday night in New Orleans, where I think the Saints will give the Dolphins their first loss of the season. New Orleans has too many weapons on offense for Miami to stop.

MDS’s pick: Saints 28, Dolphins 20.

Florio’s take: Drew Brees welcomes to town the franchise that gave up a second-round pick for Daunte Culpepper and a wrecked knee over Brees and a bum shoulder. While the Dolphins are getting good, the Saints are still better, especially at home.

Florio’s pick: Saints 31, Dolphins 24.