For the first time this year, I’m in the lead over MDS. And only MDS and I care about it.
After pulling off a 4-1 margin in the five games on which we disagreed, I’m now up by two games.
We disagree by two games this week. So maybe we’ll be tied next week at this time. Or maybe I’ll be doubling him up.
For the week, I was 11-4. MDS went 8-7. For the year, well, we’ll calculate those numbers when they aren’t as pathetic as they currently are.
Bears at Packers
MDS’s take: Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is playing the worst football of his career. Bears quarterback Brian Hoyer is actually playing pretty well. Could I see an upset? Not really. The Packers have been disappointing this season, but the Bears are among the worst teams in the NFL.
MDS’s pick: Packers 27, Bears 17.
Florio’s take: The Packers have a fever. And the only prescription is more cow-crap opponents.
Florio’s pick: Packers 30, Bears 17.
Giants at Rams
MDS’s take: With the Giants and Rams both at 3-3, this is one of the better games the NFL has sent to London, which usually hosts absolute dogs. I think the same Rams defense that allowed Golden Tate to get loose in the secondary last week is going to let Odell Beckham have a big game this week, and the Giants will win.
MDS’s pick: Giants 23, Rams 20.
Florio’s take: If/when the L.A. defense and Odell Beckham mix it up, even the English soccer hooligans may blush.
Florio’s pick: Rams 27, Giants 24.
Saints at Chiefs
MDS’s take: Last week’s win over the Raiders was a statement game for the Chiefs’ defense. They’ll keep it going with a better than expected day against Drew Brees & Co.
MDS’s pick: Chiefs 20, Saints 13.
Florio’s take: The Saints have turned it around, but it won’t be easy to win at Arrowhead Stadium. It never is.
Florio’s pick: Chiefs 30, Saints 24.
Colts at Titans
MDS’s take: As hard as it is to believe, the Titans have a real chance of winning the AFC South. Their running attack is going to be tough for the Colts to stop.
MDS’s pick: Titans 17, Colts 12.
Florio’s take: The Colts have beaten the Titans nine straight times and 14 of 15. Never bet on a streak to end, they say. I say all streaks eventually do.
Florio’s pick: Titans 28, Colts 21.
Vikings at Eagles
MDS’s take: The Eagles got off to a great start this season, but they did it against a fairly easy schedule. Now the schedule is getting tougher, and the Eagles are struggling. It won’t get any easier against the stout Vikings defense.
MDS’s pick: Vikings 20, Eagles 10.
Florio’s take: Forget about Carson Wentz vs. the Vikings defense; Sam Bradford’s return to Philly is the headline here. And Jim Schwartz will have something cooked up for Bradford. It may not be enough — unless Bradford ends up knocked out of the game.
Florio’s pick: Vikings 24, Eagles 20.
Browns at Bengals
MDS’s take: The Browns will win a game at some point this season, and the Bengals haven’t been playing well, but I just can’t see it happening. Marvin Lewis will have his players ready to stop his old offensive coordinator Hue Jackson’s attack.
MDS’s pick: Bengals 20, Browns 7.
Florio’s take: Hue Jackson returns to Cincinnati, and don’t be shocked if this one is close. A loss for the Bengals could guarantee major changes after the season.
Florio’s pick: Bengals 34, Browns 20.
Washington at Lions
MDS’s take: This is pretty much a toss-up game, but I’ll say the Lions get a late field goal and win.
MDS’s pick: Lions 24, Washington 23.
Florio’s take: The Lions are celebrating the 25th anniversary of their last team that actually won a playoff game. That team was blown out by Washington in the NFC title game. The 2016 Lions get their chance to vindicate them.
Florio’s pick: Lions 23, Washington 17.
Raiders at Jaguars
MDS’s take: The Jaguars found a way to beat the Bears last week, and an easy schedule may make Jacksonville a contender in the AFC South. But I think the Jaguars’ offense is an absolute mess, and the Raiders should take this one in a low-scoring game.
MDS’s pick: Raiders 17, Jaguars 10.
Florio’s take: Based on the way the Raiders have been playing at 1:00 p.m. ET, maybe they should move from Oakland to Orlando.
Florio’s pick: Raiders 28, Jaguars 24.
Bills at Dolphins
MDS’s take: I was skeptical of Rex Ryan when he fired offensive coordinator Greg Roman after two games, but the results are the results: Ryan’s players are playing hard for him, the offense is improved, and the Bills have won four in a row. Buffalo will make it five in a row on Sunday.
MDS’s pick: Bills 28, Dolphins 20.
Florio’s take: The Bills are soaring, but the Dolphins have finally found a formula for winning. Let’s see if they can combine the ingredients properly for two straight weeks.
Florio’s pick: Bills 27, Dolphins 23.
Ravens at Jets
MDS’s take: The Jets look like the worst team in the NFL, with glaring weaknesses on both sides of the ball. Baltimore should dominate this game.
MDS’s pick: Ravens 31, Jets 13.
Florio’s take: John Harbaugh will spend the next three days praying no one else punches Geno Smith in the jaw.
Florio’s pick: Ravens 27, Jets 17.
Buccaneers at 49ers
MDS’s take: Neither of these teams is going anywhere, but I’ll say Colin Kaepernick makes some plays with his legs and gets his first win as the 49ers’ starter in more than a year.
MDS’s pick: 49ers 21, Buccaneers 20.
Florio’s take: The Bucs are rested, the 49ers are reeling — and the defense already is spent.
Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 24, 49ers 17.
Chargers at Falcons
MDS’s take: The Falcons’ passing game is outstanding, and I don’t think the Chargers’ secondary will be able to keep up.
MDS’s pick: Falcons 31, Chargers 20.
Florio’s take: The Chargers won’t have to worry about blowing a fourth-quarter lead in this one.
Florio’s pick: Falcons 34, Chargers 21.
Patriots at Steelers
MDS’s take: Timing is everything in the NFL. If these teams had med a few weeks ago and it was Jacoby Brissett vs. Ben Roethlisberger, I’d take the Steelers easily. But it’s Tom Brady vs. Landy Jones, so I’m taking the Patriots easily.
MDS’s pick: Patriots 31, Steelers 14.
Florio’s take: The team that scratched and clawed its way through four games without the starting quarterback now get a break when going to one of the few places where they could have lost.
Florio’s pick: Patriots 34, Steelers 20.
Seahawks at Cardinals
MDS’s take: The Cardinals are a much better team than they showed early this season, but the Seahawks’ defense is outstanding, and I think Carson Palmer is going to struggle on Sunday night.
MDS’s pick: Seahawks 20, Cardinals 14.
Florio’s take: The Cardinals have won two in a row against one-win teams. They still have a long way to go to become what they were last year. The Seahawks likewise aren’t quite what they were last year, but they’re closer than Arizona is.
Florio’s pick: Seahawks 30, Cardinals 23.
Texans at Broncos
MDS’s take: The Brock Osweiler Bowl could get ugly for the Texans’ quarterback, who is going to struggle mightily against his old team. Denver should dominate.
MDS’s pick: Broncos 23, Texans 10.
Florio’s take: The Broncos won’t kill Brock Osweiler literally, but they may help kill his career in Houston figuratively.
Florio’s pick: Broncos 31, Texans 17.