It’s been a rough three weeks for those of us who try to predict what will happen in NFL games. Last week, I surged to a one-game lead over MDS. But I was an abysmal 7-9, which only looks good when next to his 6-10.
For the year, look away. I’m 25-23 and he’s 24-24.
This week, we disagree on five games. For all picks, scroll down. For the weekly “Best Bets,” check out the video attached to this post.
In that category, I was 3-0 last week, and MDS was 0-3. For the year, I’m 5-3-1. He’s 3-6.
Vikings at Rams
MDS’s take: You don’t go from losing to the Bills at home one day to beating the Rams on the road four days later.
MDS’s pick: Rams 31, Vikings 17.
Florio’s take: The Rams are too good, the Vikings are too distracted, and the season is too short for Minnesota to dig out of an early hole that is destined to entail a 1-3-1 start.
Florio’s pick: Rams 30, Vikings 20.
Jets at Jaguars
MDS’s take: The Jaguars turned in an ugly performance against the Titans last week, but they should bounce back against a Jets team that hasn’t looked the same since its Week One win.
MDS’s pick: Jaguars 21, Jets 10.
Florio’s take: A pair of inconsistent teams makes this one hard to call. I’ll go with the talent and the home team.
Florio’s pick: Jaguars 16, Jets 10.
Dolphins at Patriots
MDS’s take: If the Dolphins win this game, they’re the undeniable favorites in the AFC East. Who saw that coming before the season? But I just don’t think the Patriots are ready to give up the division throne just yet.
MDS’s pick: Patriots 24, Dolphins 21.
Florio’s take: This is one of those “forget about the uniforms and focus on who’s wearing them” games. The Patriots have been physically overmatched, and it will continue at least until Julian Edelman returns. The spirit may be willing, but that’s currently not good enough.
Florio’s pick: Dolphins 23, Patriots 17.
Eagles at Titans
MDS’s take: Carson Wentz should shake off the rust and turn in a good game in his second start of the season.
MDS’s pick: Eagles 28, Titans 14.
Florio’s take: Malcolm Butler finally gets his chance to face the Eagles. And his new team has become the NFL’s new do-whatever-it-takes-to-score-more-points-than-the-opponent franchise.
Florio’s pick: Titans 20, Eagles 17.
Texans at Colts
MDS’s take: I have concerns about both Andrew Luck’s shoulder and Deshaun Watson’s knee, as neither player looks like he’s really 100 percent healthy. But I think the Colts have a better team overall and should win at home.
MDS’s pick: Colts 27, Texans 17.
Florio’s take: The Colts have controlled this series, and this year the Texans haven’t controlled much of anything.
Florio’s pick: Colts 20, Texans 14.
Bills at Packers
MDS’s take: Can the Bills pull off a huge upset two weeks in a row? No.
MDS’s pick: Packers 23, Bills 16.
Florio’s take: If the Packers lose this one, they should just put Aaron Rodgers on IR.
Florio’s pick: Packers 31, Bills 21.
Lions at Cowboys
MDS’s take: Are the real Lions the team that got blown out by the Jets, or the team that dominated the Patriots? I’m betting on the former.
MDS’s pick: Cowboys 24, Lions 17.
Florio’s take: It’s destined to be an up-and-down year for Dallas, and they’re due to put enough together defensively to end up doing just enough offensively to win.
Florio’s pick: Cowboys 17, Lions 13.
Buccaneers at Bears
MDS’s take: I’m a big believer in Ryan Fitzpatrick, and much less a believer in Mitchell Trubisky. I’m taking the Buccaneers in an upset.
MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 24, Bears 21.
Florio’s take: It’s an NFC Central reunion, and the Chicago defense is good enough to keep Ryan Fitzpatrick in check. The only question is whether he struggles enough to open the door for Jameis Winston.
Florio’s pick: Bears 23, Buccaneers 16.
Bengals at Falcons
MDS’s take: The Bengals are a better team than I was expecting them to be, but the Falcons should be able to move the ball against them at home.
MDS’s pick: Falcons 27, Bengals 24.
Florio’s take: Teams that have played deep into the fifth quarter this year haven’t fared well the following week. Throw in a critical mass of defensive injuries and the Bengals have a chance to swipe this one.
Florio’s pick: Bengals 27, Falcons 23.
Seahawks at Cardinals
MDS’s take: In Josh Rosen’s first NFL start, he’s going to have a tough time against a Seahawks defense that is starting to round into form after an offseason of changes.
MDS’s pick: Seahawks 17, Cardinals 10.
Florio’s take: The Seahawks still have hope for a playoff berth. The Cardinals are justing hoping to get a win or two.
Florio’s pick: Seahawks 23, Cardinals 13.
Browns at Raiders
MDS’s take: If Tyrod Taylor were still starting I’d be picking the Raiders to win, but with Baker Mayfield opening up the offense, Cleveland should move the ball against an Oakland defense that is struggling to rush the passer.
MDS’s pick: Browns 27, Raiders 20.
Florio’s take: Must resist Bakermania. Must resist Bakermania. Can’t. Resist. Baker. Mania.
Florio’s pick: Browns 27, Raiders 24.
Saints at Giants
MDS’s take: The Saints’ defense is struggling, but I just don’t see Eli Manning taking advantage. At least not enough to match Drew Brees score for score.
MDS’s pick: Saints 30, Giants 20.
Florio’s take: Playing deep into overtime could affect the Saints, but they have enough firepower to overcome the Giants.
Florio’s pick: Saints 34, Giants 23.
49ers at Chargers
MDS’s take: If Jimmy Garoppolo were starting, I’d pick the 49ers in this one. With C.J. Beathard at the helm, I’m taking the Chargers.
MDS’s pick: Chargers 21, 49ers 10.
Florio’s take: 49er backup quarterback C.J. Beathard squares off against a team his grandfather once put together. And his grandfather would have had a better plan at backup quarterback.
Florio’s pick: Chargers 27, 49ers 17.
Ravens at Steelers
MDS’s take: One of the best rivalries in football should be a hard-fought game into the fourth quarter, when I think Ben Roethlisberger will make a couple more plays than Joe Flacco.
MDS’s pick: Steelers 23, Ravens 20.
Florio’s take: The Steelers dodged a bullet on Monday night. They won’t be able to duck a superior team on Sunday night.
Florio’s pick: Ravens 20, Steelers 17.
Chiefs at Broncos
MDS’s take: Case Keenum will have a big game against a suspect Chiefs defense, but Patrick Mahomes will have an even bigger game.
MDS’s pick: Chiefs 38, Broncos 31.
Florio’s take: John Elway has been looking for a John Elway. He’ll see one on Monday night, wearing a white jersey with red numbers.
Florio’s pick: Chiefs 34, Broncos 21.