Last week, Rosenthal and I disagreed on three games. He was right on two of them, and I now trail by seven for the season.
To make matters worse, I was a pathetic 7-6. He was 8-5.
To make matters even worse, there’s a chance it gets worse this weekend, with another 13 games. At least he can only increase his lead to nine games, since we disagree on only two of them: Bengals-Seahawks and Cowboys-Eagles.
For the year, he’s 71-32 and I’m 64-39.
Read on to see who we’ve picked and specifically how we disagree. Given the choice of photo for this item, it’s safe to say I’ll be singing Fly, Eagles! Fly! on Sunday night.
Cardinals at Ravens
Florio’s take: The Ravens play well at home. The Ravens don’t play well against bad teams. The Ravens are playing at home. The Ravens are playing a bad team. But the Cardinals are really bad, and the Ravens have gotten a kick in the pants after losing to the Jaguars.
Florio’s pick: Ravens 31, Cardinals 17.
Rosenthal’s take: The Steelers struggled in the second half against the Jaguars two weeks ago, and took out their aggression on the Cardinals in Arizona. The Ravens lost to the Jaguars Monday night, and can take it out on the Cardinals in Baltimore. Passing game problems magically disappear when teams play Arizona.
Rosenthal’s pick: Ravens 31, Cardinals 13.
Vikings at Panthers
Florio’s take: The Panthers have made it through a rough stretch of their schedule, and they have a chance to enter the bye on a two-game winning streak. The Vikings have never won in Charlotte, and it’s unlikely that they’ll change that on Sunday.
Florio’s pick: Panthers 28, Vikings 20.
Rosenthal’s take: It’s not really fair to Andy Dalton, Christian Ponder, and Blaine Gabbert to be rookies the same year as Cam Newton. The Panthers quarterback is starting to mix better decisions with his weekly “wow” plays. Newton just doesn’t play like a rookie. He really doesn’t play like anyone that came before him.
Rosenthal’s pick: Panthers 33, Vikings 23.
Jaguars at Texans
Florio’s take: The best of a bad crop of early games, this one got much more interesting after the Jaguars stunned the Ravens on Monday night. Tied 9-9 all-time, the Texans can put a stranglehold on the AFC South with a win, and the Jaguars can make it interesting with an upset. The edge goes to the home team.
Florio’s pick: Texans 27, Jaguars 20.
Rosenthal’s take: If defense really wins championships, the Jaguars could be contenders. But Jacksonville needs something more from Blaine Gabbert, and teams need more in the gameplan than not turning the ball over. The Texans have a pretty decent defense, not to mention a guy named Arian Foster and a great run-blocking line.
Rosenthal’s pick: Texans 23, Jaguars 13.
Dolphins at Giants
Florio’s take: The Dolphins return to MetLife Stadium only 13 days after being steamrolled by the Jets. It wouldn’t be a shock if the Giants stub their toe, given their performance against the Seahawks. But, c’mon, they’re playing the Dolphins. The Matt Moore/J.P. Losman-led Dolphins. A Miami win would be an even bigger upset than Super Bowl XLII.
Florio’s pick: Giants 24, Dolphins 7.
Rosenthal’s take: It sounds weird, but this is a “must” win for the Giants. They can’t afford another bad home loss with the following schedule coming up: at Patriots, at 49ers, Eagles, at Saints, Packers, and at Cowboys. Luckily, the Giants face a squad this week that seemingly approaches every game as a “must” lose.
Rosenthal’s pick: Giants 28, Dolphins 10.
Saints at Rams
Florio’s take: This week, Sean Payton will be able to eat a hot dog, some nachos, a soft pretzel, and a box of popcorn.
Florio’s pick: Saints 42, Rams 14.
Rosenthal’s take: The Rams defense is most disappointing group in the league. The pass rush vanished. They are a mess at cornerback and special teamers starting at linebacker. Free-agent pickup Quintin Mikell has struggled. Only the Colts have given up more points than St. Louis, and that’s because of what the Saints just did to Indy. The Rams will be last in points allowed after this one.
Rosenthal’s pick: Saints 41, Rams 20.
Colts at Titans
Florio’s take: Four days ago, the Colts lost by 55 at New Orleans. Two years ago, the Titans endured a 59-point blowout against the Patriots. The Titans won their next game. That’s where the similarities end.
Florio’s pick: Titans 30, Colts 14.
Rosenthal’s take: The Titans were outscored 79-14 the last two games. The Colts were outscored 62-7 last week. Something has to give here, so I’ll guess it’s the winless team staying winless.
Rosenthal’s pick: Titans 26, Colts 17.
Redskins at Bills
Florio’s take: Another week, another Super Bowl rematch. The last three (Bills-Giants, Steelers-Cardinals, Colts-Saints) resulted in the same outcome. The trend will now be reversed, thanks to a rested Bills squad and a Redskins team that has been sliding back toward reality.
Florio’s pick: Bills 34, Redskins 24.
Rosenthal’s take: The Bills defense may have finally found a passing attack they can stop. Or perhaps John Beck found a defense he can make noise against. Either way, the Bills are better equipped to win a shootout. Plus Ryan Fitzpatrick’s beard just belongs in Canada. (This is the hard-hitting analysis you come to PFT for.)
Rosenthal’s pick: Bills 31, Redskins 24.
Lions at Broncos
Florio’s take: When a Christian is thrown to the Lions, sometimes the Christian wins. But not yet. Though it’s tempting to predict an upset, the Lions can’t afford to run their losing streak to three, and the Broncos simply don’t have the horses to beat a team much better than the Dolphins.
Florio’s pick: Lions 24, Broncos 14.
Rosenthal’s take: The Lions offense hasn’t consistently sustained drives for weeks. The Broncos passing attack had two yards halfway through the fourth quarter last week before Tim Tebow recovered an onside kick and sacked Matt Moore in overtime, before Tebow kicked a 52-yard field goal. In short: Expect a defensive game, with Matthew Stafford providing the drama this time.
Rosenthal’s pick: Lions 17, Broncos 13.
Patriots at Steelers
Florio’s take: Tom Brady, not Art Rooney, owns the Pittsburgh Steelers. Yes, it’s that simple.
Florio’s pick: Patriots 34, Steelers 20.
Rosenthal’s take: Is the Steelers defense dominant again or have they just fattened their stats on the Seahawks, Colts, Jaguars, and Cardinals? I’m not sure the answer makes a difference. Tom Brady has a habit of shredding the Steelers even when Pittsburgh’s defense is truly elite.
Rosenthal’s pick: Patriots 30, Steelers 24.
Bengals at Seahawks
Florio’s take: It’s easy to write off the Seahawks in this one based on their performance (or whatever that thing should be called) in Cleveland. But they’re a different team at home, and the Bengals‘ 4-2 start is a little deceiving. So whether it’s Tarvaris Jackson or Charlie Whitehurst, the Seahawks and their 12th Man will continue their up-and-down season with a showing that will be enough to generate a win.
Florio’s pick: Seahawks 20, Bengals 17.
Rosenthal’s take: If you liked Browns-Seahawks last week, you’re going to love this one. Cedric Benson won’t be available. Tarvaris Jackson might be, but Charlie Whitehurst’s effort last week guarantees the Seahawks crowd won’t be chanting for the backup anymore. I’m picking the Bengals because I want to live in a world that Andy Dalton’s crew is in first place to start November.
Rosenthal’s pick: Bengals 10, Seahawks 7.
Browns at 49ers
Florio’s take: Now that the 49ers have gotten through a difficult stretch to start the season with a 5-1 record and are emerging from a bye, it would be fitting to see them come up flat against the Browns, especially since it’s a homecoming game of sorts for team president Mike Holmgren. Unlike the team led by Jim Harbaugh’s brother, John, the 49ers won’t play down to the level of the Browns, who while improving have a long way to go before they can be regarded as truly improved.
Florio’s pick: 49ers 27, Browns 17.
Rosenthal’s take: The Browns are the worst 3-3 team possible, with Colt McCoy regressing by the week. They play an ugly brand of football, but that’s the kind of game the 49ers like. San Francisco runs better than the Browns, and they defend better too. The 49ers are a legit 5-1 team. Make it 6-1.
Rosenthal’s pick: 49ers 22, Browns 13.
Cowboys at Eagles
Florio’s take: The rested Eagles can’t completely shake controversy, thanks to the comments of cornerback Asante Samuel. But the Eagles surely sense the opportunity to seize the division, and they can’t do it without beating the Cowboys. Though Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will have cooked up a good plan for containing Mike Vick, Andy Reid has had two weeks to come up with a way for generating offense, presumably with heavy doses of LeSean McCoy.
Florio’s pick: Eagles 30, Cowboys 24.
Rosenthal’s take: The Eagles are a team of extremes. They lead the league in rushing. They lead the league in interceptions and turnovers. They outgain their opponents by 100 yards-per-week, and find a way to lose. Dallas knows how to blow fourth-quarter chances too, but they have something Philly does not: One of the best defenses in the league.
Rosenthal’s pick: Cowboys 27, Eagles 21.
Chargers at Chiefs
Florio’s take: Suddenly, the Chiefs have become the hottest team in the AFC West. Just as suddenly, the Chargers seem to be falling apart. After losing 31-0 in San Diego last year, the Chiefs played the Chargers close on the road in Week Three. Now that the rivalry returns to Arrowhead Stadium, it’s time for the Chiefs to tighten up the top of the division.
Florio’s pick: Chiefs 27, Chargers 21.
Rosenthal’s take: The Chiefs have quietly survived Jamaal Charles’ injury, ranking seventh in rushing yards. The Chargers have quietly stunk defending the run, giving up exactly 162 yards to the Broncos and Jets the last two games. Put them together in Arrowhead, and there might be a three-way tie for the AFC West lead.
Rosenthal’s pick: Chiefs 26, Chargers 21.