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PFT’s Week Four picks

Luke McCown, Ryan Griffin


Well, there really is a first time for everything.

MDS and I have been picking games against each other for four seasons now, and for the first time ever we agree on the outcome of every single game.

The question now is whether you agree. Check out the picks and point out which ones we’re most wrong about in the comments.

Last week, MDS got 13 of 16 right, and I was only 12-4. It has tightened the season-to-date competition to 31-17 for me (64.5 percent) and 30-18 (62.5 percent) for MDS.

Ravens at Steelers

MDS’s take: If Ben Roethlisberger were playing, I’d pick the Steelers in this game without hesitation. But with Michael Vick in at quarterback? I think the Steelers will have a tough time moving the ball, and the Ravens will win a low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 14, Steelers 12.

Florio’s take: The Ravens last won a game in the 2014 wild-card round in Pittsburgh, against Ben Roethlisberger. Without Roethlisberger, the desperate Ravens should be able to break their streak of bad luck.

Florio’s pick: Ravens 15, Steelers 12.

Jets at Dolphins

MDS’s take: The Dolphins’ offense has struggled all season, and the Jets may have the best defense in the NFL. English soccer fans will get just what they like, a game with plenty of kicking and not much scoring, and the Jets will win a close one.

MDS’s pick: Jets 12, Dolphins 6.

Florio’s take: The loser of this game is headed for the AFC East basement. The Jets have shown much more fight this season, and the Dolphins are teetering toward implosion. If Joe Philbin actually had someone on the staff worthy of the interim coaching gig, he’d possibly have to worry about getting whacked on the plane ride home.

Florio’s pick: Jets 27, Dolphins 17.

Texans at Falcons

MDS’s take: Julio Jones will run wild in a suspect Houston secondary, and the Falcons will improve to a surprising 4-0 on the season.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 28, Texans 17.

Florio’s take: We’re getting closer to Correction Weekend, and it wouldn’t be a shock if the Texans beat a Falcons team that perhaps suddenly thinks too much of itself. But then I remembered that: (1) the Falcons have Julio Jones; and (2) no one can stop him.

Florio’s pick: Falcons 27, Texans 17.

Giants at Bills

MDS’s take: The amazing thing about the Bills this season is that they’re winning more with their offense than with their defense. Tyrod Taylor has been excellent, and he’ll continue to play well as the Bills move to 3-1.

MDS’s pick: Bills 31, Giants 21.

Florio’s take: A rematch of Super Bowl XXV comes at a time when the Bills shouldn’t need a last-second field goal to win. A 5-2 or 6-1 record at the bye becomes realistic, if they can take care of a Giants team that just isn’t all that good.

Florio’s pick: Bills 24, Giants 16.

Raiders at Bears

MDS’s take: It says something about how far the Bears have fallen that there’s been talk out of Oakland this week that the Raiders, of all teams, might be getting overconfident. They have reason to be confident, as they’ll win this one easily.

MDS’s pick: Raiders 21, Bears 10.

Florio’s take: The Raiders are suddenly the hunted. The Bears continue to be bad news. Sure, John Fox has won eight of his last nine games against the Raiders. But the Raiders have a pretty good team this year, surprising as that may sound. They could get caught looking ahead to Denver. Even if they do, the Raiders are good enough to pull this off.

Florio’s pick: Raiders 24, Bears 20.

Chiefs at Bengals

MDS’s take: After the Patriots, the Bengals are probably the second-best team in the AFC. They’ve played well on both sides of the ball, and they’re going to improve to 4-0 while knocking the Chiefs down to 1-3.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 28, Chiefs 20.

Florio’s take: The Chiefs say they’re on to Cincinnati. It may not work out the same way it did when the Patriots went there a year ago.

Florio’s pick: Bengals 30, Chiefs 22.

Jaguars at Colts

MDS’s take: The Colts are still struggling on both sides of the ball, but with the Jaguars coming to town, they should get a relatively easy win to improve to 2-2 on the season.

MDS’s pick: Colts 30, Jaguars 23.

Florio’s take: The Colts can’t afford to look past the Jaguars with a pair of prime-time games looming, at Houston on a short week and at home against the Patriots. Indy should be 2-2 come Sunday night; the real question is whether they will be 2-4 two weeks later.

Florio’s pick: Colts 30, Jaguars 20.

Panthers at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: Jameis Winston has really struggled to adjust to the NFL game, and it’s not going to get any easier for him with a very good Panthers defense coming to town. The Bucs are in trouble in this one.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 27, Buccaneers 9.

Florio’s take: A correction could be coming for the Panthers, who don’t feel like a 3-0 team. But the Bucs still don’t feel like a 1-2 team, and the Panthers have to keep pace with the Falcons.

Florio’s pick: Panthers 23, Buccaneers 13.

Eagles at Washington

MDS’s take: Chip Kelly’s offense still has a lot of work to do, but Kirk Cousins will throw a couple of interceptions and the Eagles will win their second straight, even if they’re still struggling to move the ball.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 17, Washington 10.

Florio’s take: Philly played fairly well with their backs against the wall, but the passing game still needs work. With extra time to get ready, Washington could make this one interesting, but Chip Kelly and company should be able to slow down Matt Jones and Alfred Morris just enough to outscore the home team.

Florio’s pick: Eagles 24, Washington 20.

Browns at Chargers

MDS’s take: I’m tempted to pick the Browns in an upset because Cleveland has such a big special teams advantage in this game, and I expect Travis Benjamin to have another big return. But I just don’t see the Browns’ offense getting anything going in San Diego, and as a result I’ll take the Chargers to win a close one.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 23, Browns 20.

Florio’s take: The Browns blew their chance to get a second win against the Raiders on Sunday. The Chargers won’t blow their chance to get a second win against the Browns at home.

Florio’s pick: Chargers 34, Browns 20.

Rams at Cardinals

MDS’s take: The Cardinals have been dominant in their first three games, and they’ll dominate again when the Rams come to town on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 38, Rams 14.

Florio’s take: This is the kind of game the Rams find a way to win, or at least to be competitive. But the Cardinals have looked too good this year, and the even the very best the Rams can do may not be good enough.

Florio’s pick: Cardinals 30, Rams 23.

Vikings at Broncos

MDS’s take: This may be the most intriguing game of the week because of the chess match between Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner and Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. I think Phillips’s unit will get the better of that battle and the Broncos will win even without getting much from Peyton Manning and the offense.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 17, Vikings 10.

Florio’s take: If the Viking hope to truly contend in the NFC, they need to take advantage of the opportunity to beat one of the best teams in the AFC. To do so, they’ll need to pound Peyton Manning the same way the battered Matthew Stafford and Philip Rivers, and they’ll need to soften up a stout defense with healthy doses of Adrian Peterson. If the game were being played in Minnesota, maybe that would work. In Denver, it’s hard to see the Broncos blowing this one.

Florio’s pick: Broncos 27, Vikings 23.

Packers at 49ers

MDS’s take: Colin Kaepernick has traditionally played very well against the Packers, but Kaepernick doesn’t look like the same player this year. Green Bay’s defense will shut him down.

MDS’s pick: Packers 28, 49ers 13.

Florio’s take: The 49ers beat the Packers twice in 2012 and twice in 2013. The Packers haven’t forgotten that. The 49ers will want to forget this one quickly.

Florio’s pick: Packers 38, 49ers 23.

Cowboys at Saints

MDS’s take: Surprisingly, Brandon Weeden and Luke McCown were both fine in place of the injured Tony Romo and Drew Brees last week. So when these two teams meet on Sunday night, I think it will be less about the quarterbacks and more about the defenses. The Saints’ defense has been a disaster this year, so I like the Cowboys to win.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 28, Saints 24.

Florio’s take: The Saints played well against the Panthers, and the Saints have their backs pressed firmly against the wall, with America watching. And I’m tempted to pick the Saints to pull this one off. But Brandon Weeden wasn’t horrible against the Falcons, and it’s still not clear how healthy Drew Brees will be, even if he plays. If the Cowboys stick with what worked against the Falcons and bottle up whoever is carrying the ball, this should be a win.

Florio’s pick: Cowboys 31, Saints 24.

Lions at Seahawks

MDS’s take: The Lions have been a mess this season. The Seahawks will win their second straight blowout and get back on track.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 28, Lions 10.

Florio’s take: Calvin Johnson isn’t who he once was. The Lions defense isn’t what it was a year ago. While Detroit won’t match their feat of 2008, they’ll be 25 percent of the way there come Tuesday.

Florio’s pick: Seahawks 29, Lions 13.