Five weeks in to the annual competition, MDS has stretched his lead to six games.
But I won’t quit. I won’t surrender. I won’t give in.
In part because it really doesn’t require much effort. As my performance through five weeks shows.
This week, we disagree on two games. For all of our Week Six picks, scroll away.
Eagles at Panthers
MDS’s take: The Eagles are probably a better all-around team than the Panthers, but Cam Newton is getting things turned around, and on a short week I think Philadelphia’s defense is going to struggle to game plan for him. Newton will have a big night both running and passing, and Carolina will win a close one.
MDS’s pick: Panthers 24, Eagles 23.
Florio’s take: The Eagles’ fortunes turned last year once Lane Johnson began a PED suspension. He’s out with a concussion this week, and that could be just enough to make the difference when two of the best teams in the NFC get together under the lights.
Florio’s pick: Panthers 24, Eagles 20.
Bears at Ravens
MDS’s take: The Bears made the right move benching Mike Glennon for Mitch Trubisky, but the Bears have a lot more problems than a quarterback can solve. The Ravens should win easily on Sunday.
MDS’s pick: Ravens 20, Bears 9.
Florio’s take: If the Ravens hope to contend this year, they need to take care of teams that are overmatched. The Bears are overmatched, and operating on a short week.
Florio’s pick: Ravens 17, Bears 10.
Browns at Texans
MDS’s take: In a league where parity reigns, the Browns somehow find a way not to regress toward the mean: They were 3-13 in 2015, 1-15 in 2016 and look worse than ever in 2017. The Texans, after a loss full of devastating injuries on Sunday, will bounce back easily.
MDS’s pick: Texans 22, Browns 10.
Florio’s take: Deshaun vs. DeShone get derailed by de bench.
Florio’s pick: Texans 41, Browns 17.
Packers at Vikings
MDS’s take: I’m not even sure it matters whether Sam Bradford or Case Keenum starts for the Vikings. I like Aaron Rodgers to have a big day against the Vikings’ defense.
MDS’s pick: Packers 30, Vikings 17.
Florio’s take: The Vikings are improving but the Packers are the Packers as they make their first of possible two visits this season to U.S. Bank Stadium.
Florio’s pick: Packers 27, Vikings 17.
Lions at Saints
MDS’s take: Matthew Stafford is the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL, but he hasn’t played like anything close to the best quarterback in the NFL. He might put up big numbers against a suspect Saints secondary, but Drew Brees will have a better day and the Saints will win.
MDS’s pick: Saints 30, Lions 24.
Florio’s take: Matthew Stafford is hobbled and the Saints are surprisingly stout on defense. And so the team that could have been 4-0 is in danger of falling to .500.
Florio’s pick: Saints 27, Lions 20.
Dolphins at Falcons
MDS’s take: Jay Cutler has been a mess this season, and you have to wonder why the Dolphins didn’t just go with Matt Moore after Ryan Tannehill went down. Those questions will intensify when the Dolphins lose another one on Sunday.
MDS’s pick: Falcons 28, Dolphins 14.
Florio’s take: The Dolphins may be getting close to getting hot, but this is a bad week to begin the effort. The Falcons are rested and getting healthy and the Dolphins aren’t ready to outscore them.
Florio’s pick: Falcons 26, Dolphins 17.
Patriots at Jets
MDS’s take: No one expected the Jets to be playing for first place in the AFC East in Week Six. Todd Bowles has done a good job putting his team in this position, but they’re not going to beat the Patriots with the division lead on the line.
MDS’s pick: Patriots 28, Jets 17.
Florio’s take: The Jets have been impressive this year, but the Patriots are still the Patriots, and they’re getting better on the fly. Like they always do.
Florio’s pick: Patriots 30 Jets 20.
49ers at Washington
MDS’s take: The winless 49ers will remain winless. This is the easiest pick of the day.
MDS’s pick: Washington 30, 49ers 10.
Florio’s take: Kyle Shanahan returns to D.C. with a team that is better than 0-5 would suggest, but not nearly good enough to outscore a rested Washington team.
Florio’s pick: Washington 24, 49ers 13.
Buccaneers at Cardinals
MDS’s take: If there’s one prediction I can state with confidence, it’s that Adrian Peterson won’t make a difference in Arizona. The Cardinals are heading in the wrong direction.
MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 20, Cardinals 14.
Florio’s take: Adrian Peterson won’t make enough of a difference after only a few days with the team. The Bucs are simply better on both sides of the ball.
Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 27, Cardinals 14.
Rams at Jaguars
MDS’s take: I don’t think many people thought before the season that Rams-Jaguars in Week Six would be one of the best games of the day, but it is. I like the Jaguars to slow down the game with their running offense and win a low-scoring one.
MDS’s pick: Jaguars 14, Rams 13.
Florio’s take: The win-one, lose-one Jags are due to lose one. And since the Rams have the defense to take away the running game and the Jaguars don’t have the passing game to take advantage of it, the trend holds again.
Florio’s pick: Rams 20, Jaguars 13.
Steelers at Chiefs
MDS’s take: The Chiefs are running away from the rest of the league, and they’ll continue to do it on Sunday, as Kareem Hunt has a big day against a suspect Steelers run defense.
MDS’s pick: Chiefs 28, Steelers 20.
Florio’s take: The Steelers return to the site of their playoff win, ready to prove wrong the doubters. And by “doubters” I mean those who actually heard and reacted to the doubts created by players like Ben Roethlisberger. Look for everyone to buckle down and focus on trying to get the offense clicking in a way it hasn’t clicked all year.
Florio’s pick: Steelers 24, Chiefs 20.
Chargers at Raiders
MDS’s take: The Raiders’ defense has been a mess this year, and it’s going to keep them out of the playoffs. I’m tempted to pick the Chargers to pull the upset, but they seem to have a knack for finding ways to lose winnable games, so I think the Raiders win a close one.
MDS’s pick: Raiders 28, Chargers 27.
Florio’s take: Derek Carr intends to return, and the Raiders need to reverse a three-game losing streak. Especially with a Thursday night visit from the Chiefs looming.
Florio’s pick: Raiders 27, Chargers 20.
Giants at Broncos
MDS’s take: The winless Giants in prime time may result in a one-sided game that’s over by halftime. There’s just no way the injury-plagued Giants offense does anything against the strong Broncos defense.
MDS’s pick: Broncos 21, Giants 7.
Florio’s take: If the Giants win this one, it would be a bigger upset than Super Bowl XLII.
Florio’s pick: Broncos 30, Giants 13.
Colts at Titans
MDS’s take: Even if Marcus Mariota can’t go on Monday night, the Titans should beat a bad Colts team, whose only wins are against winless opponents.
MDS’s pick: Titans 17, Colts 13.
Florio’s take: Will Marcus Mariota be back? Will it matter, given that Andrew Luck isn’t?
Florio’s pick: Titans 13, Colts 9.