It’s harder then ever to predict the outcome of NFL games. Or maybe we just stink.
Regardless, MDS and I had a do-the-opposite 7-9 showing in Week Three. The putrid performances put MDS at 25-23 for the season, and yours truly at 24-24.
We’ll try to improve (and likely fail) in Week Four, where we disagree on four of the 15 games. So check out the picks below. And assume that, as to each game, the opposite outcome is guaranteed.
Dolphins at Bengals
MDS’s take: The Dolphins finally got a win on Sunday, but needing overtime at home to beat the Browns isn’t inspiring. The Bengals should win comfortably.
MDS’s pick: Bengals 28, Dolphins 14.
Florio’s take: An early-season desperation game for a pair of teams trying to avoid falling to 1-3. Miami has played well enough to be undefeated. They play up and down to the level of competition, and with coach Adam Gase starting to strongly assert himself, the Dolphins could be ready to get everyone’s attention, only a few days after nearly blowing it at home against the Browns.
Florio’s pick: Dolphins 27, Bengals 20.
Colts at Jaguars
MDS’s take: How does the NFL always manage to find bad games to send to London? The 1-2 Colts aren’t exactly setting the world on fire, but the 0-3 Jaguars might be the worst team in the league through three weeks.
MDS’s pick: Colts 24, Jaguars 13.
Florio’s take: The NFL keeps exporting race-to-the-bottom matchups to England, even if this one wasn’t supposed to be an early-season battle for the AFC South basement. The Jaguars scored 51 against the Colts last year, but that was against an Indy team that lacked Andrew Luck. So it’ll be closer this time, but Blake Bortles and company should be able to find a way to get their first win of the season.
Florio’s pick: Jaguars 31, Colts 27.
Titans at Texans
MDS’s take: As bad as the Texans looked last week against the Patriots, and even without J.J. Watt, I still think their defense is good enough to shut down the Titans’ “exotic smash mouth” attack.
MDS’s pick: Texans 20, Titans 10.
Florio’s take: The Texans can overcome not having J.J. Watt, at least against Tennessee. Against other teams, that may not be the case.
Florio’s pick: Texans 24, Titans 17.
Browns at Washington
MDS’s take: In the preseason, this game was circled as the return of Robert Griffin III. Now there’s nothing much interesting about it, other than a good opportunity for Washington to improve to 2-2.
MDS’s pick: Washington 21, Browns 13.
Florio’s take: Left for dead at 0-2, Washington scratches and claws its way back to .500 against a Browns team that won’t be a pushover.
Florio’s pick: Washington 31, Browns 23.
Seahawks at Jets
MDS’s take: The Seahawks’ defense is great, as usual. The Jets’ offense is a mess, with Ryan Fitzpatrick looking nothing like the solid passer he was last year. Seattle should win this easily.
MDS’s pick: Seahawks 28, Jets 10.
Florio’s take: The Jets had a “come to Jesus” meeting, but it’s the Seahawks who are returning to their Garden of Eden, where they won Super Bowl XLVIII.
Florio’s pick: Seahawks 23, Jets 20.
Bills at Patriots
MDS’s take: Although I was impressed with the way Rex Ryan had his guys ready to play last week against the Cardinals, I wouldn’t pick them to win at New England whether it’s Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacoby Brissett or Julian Edelman at quarterback.
MDS’s pick: Patriots 22, Bills 9.
Florio’s take: Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacoby Brissett, Julian Edelman, A.J. Derby, Drew Bledsoe, Tony Eason, Steve Grogan. It doesn’t matter. With 10 days to get ready for the last game of the #DeflateGate suspension, Bill Belichick would win even with Stephen Gostkowski at quarterback.
Florio’s pick: Patriots 24, Bills 10.
Panthers at Falcons
MDS’s take: My eyes tell me the Falcons have been a better team than the Panthers this year. But my head tells me the Panthers are the better team, even if they haven’t shown it. This feels like one of those games where I’m going to kick myself no matter which team I pick.
MDS’s pick: Panthers 21, Falcons 20.
Florio’s take: The Panthers have faced two championship-caliber defenses in three games. After Sunday, they will have faced two in four games.
Florio’s pick: Panthers 37, Falcons 28.
Raiders at Ravens
MDS’s take: The Ravens have a good defense and bad offense. The Raiders have a good offense and bad defense. Who wins? I’ll go with the team with the better special teams.
MDS’s pick: Ravens 24, Raiders 21.
Florio’s take: The Ravens keep on finding ways to win, thanks to a very good defense and a good-enough offense. It won’t be a Siragusa-on-Gannon flattening, but the Ravens will do just enough to emerge with the win.
Florio’s pick: Ravens 17, Raiders 14.
Lions at Bears
MDS’s take: The Lions have been fairly disappointing through three games, but the Bears are at a whole different level of disappointing.
MDS’s pick: Lions 28, Bears 17.
Florio’s take: This old-school black-and-blue division showdown will leave anyone who watches it needing a punch to the jaw to wake up.
Florio’s pick: Bears 16, Lions 13.
Broncos at Buccaneers
MDS’s take: That great Week One showing from Jameis Winston feels like a long time ago. The Broncos’ defense is going to give Winston another rough game.
MDS’s pick: Broncos 27, Buccaneers 14.
Florio’s take: The first overall pick in 2015 squares off against a seventh-rounder. The seventh-rounder has a far better defense. Advantage, seventh-rounder.
Florio’s pick: Broncos 28, Buccaneers 21.
Rams at Cardinals
MDS’s take: This feels almost like a must-win game for the Cardinals, who would find themselves two games back and down a tiebreaker with a loss. I think Bruce Arians will have his team ready for a big game.
MDS’s pick: Cardinals 31, Rams 10.
Florio’s take: The up-and-down Cardinals find their groove for a week, until they lose it again for another week, as the Rams get back on their 7-9 pace.
Florio’s pick: Cardinals 34, Rams 20.
Saints at Chargers
MDS’s take: The Saints’ defense remains a mess, and things won’t get any easier against a Chargers offense that has looked pretty good with Philip Rivers throwing and Melvin Gordon running.
MDS’s pick: Chargers 27, Saints 20.
Florio’s take: Drew Brees returns to San Diego for likely the last time, regardless of whether the team moves. The spirit will be willing, but the defense will continue to be weak.
Florio’s pick: Chargers 34, Saints 27.
Cowboys at 49ers
MDS’s take: That 28-0 49ers win in Week One feels like it was from some alternate universe, because in the two weeks since then the 49ers have looked like they’d struggle to beat a college team by 28 points.
MDS’s pick: Cowboys 20, 49ers 10.
Florio’s take: No Romo, no Dez. No problem, for the 49ers — especially since coach Chip Kelly knows the Cowboys well after playing them six times in three years with the Eagles.
Florio’s pick: 49ers 20, Cowboys 17.
Chiefs at Steelers
MDS’s take: The Steelers took a serious beating in Philadelphia on Sunday but I don’t think they can possibly look that bad two weeks in a row. They’ll bounce back in a big way this week.
MDS’s pick: Steelers 24, Chiefs 21.
Florio’s take: Doug Pederson figured out how to shut down the Steelers. His mentor, Andy Reid, may not be thrilled about that, since Pittsburgh now has even greater reason to figure out how to get back on the right track.
Florio’s pick: Steelers 31, Chiefs 21.
Giants at Vikings
MDS’s take: If the Vikings’ defense keeps playing the way it has through three weeks, they have a chance to be this year’s Broncos, a team that can win a Super Bowl no matter who plays quarterback. The Vikings should improve to 4-0 on Monday night.
MDS’s pick: Vikings 20, Giants 7.
Florio’s take: Last year, the Vikings developed a reputation for failing to get it done in prime time. This year, with a great defense and excellent coaching, the Vikings will get it done no matter what time of day the games start.
Florio’s pick: Vikings 27, Giants 20.