Last week, MDS and yours truly disagreed on only one pick. I trusted the J-E-T-S, and he didn’t.
So I finished 11-5, and he’s already in second place with a 10-6 mark.
This week, we’ve doubled our disagreements. Which means that there’s a good chance I’ll be in second place by next week at this time.
Tune in to PFT Live this Thursday and every Thursday for MDS and yours truly talking about three or four of Sunday’s games. And, yes, there may be gloating.
Bears at Packers
MDS’s take: This is about as close as a Week Two game can get to being a must-win for the Packers. Lose here and they’re two games behind the Bears, plus the Bears have the tiebreaker edge, plus they’re 0-2 at Lambeau Field, plus they’re behind the Lions and Vikings in the NFC North as well. Jay Cutler will have a good game against the Packers’ suspect pass defense, but Aaron Rodgers will have an even better game, and the Packers will win with their backs to the wall.
MDS’s pick: Packers 34, Bears 31.
Florio’s take: The Packers have beaten the Bears in five of their last six games. And other than the 2010 NFC title game, none has been bigger than Thursday night’s contest at Lambeau Field. If the Packers lose, the team that was 15-1 in 2011 will fall to 0-2 in 2012, with 25 percent of the home schedule completed. Look for the Packers’ defense to find something close to their groove — finally — and for Green Bay to get things moving in the right direction with a strong offensive output.
Florio’s pick: Packers 28, Bears 24.
Chiefs at Bills
MDS’s take: Picking the Bills burned me in Week One, costing me the head-to-head battle with Florio in last week’s picks. Will I learn from that mistake and avoid the Bills this time? Nope. I think the Bills are a better team than they showed against the Jets and should win a close one at home.
MDS’s pick: Bills 14, Chiefs 10.
Florio’s take: Last year, the Bills went to Arrowhead in Week One and spanked the Chiefs. This year, the Chiefs return the favor in Week Two. (And as long as MDS keeps picking the Bills, I’ll keep building an edge in the season-long contest.)
Florio’s pick: Chiefs 34, Bills 21.
Saints at Panthers
MDS’s take: Can Cam Newton do to the Saints’ defense what Robert Griffin III did? Or is the Panthers’ offense going to lay an egg for the second week in a row? In a game that will leave the loser in a big hole in the NFC South, I’m picking the Panthers in a home upset.
MDS’s pick: Panthers 27, Saints 24.
Florio’s take: The loser of this game will fall to 0-2. For the Panthers, that would be a problem. For the Saints, it would be grounds for panic. Caught napping last Sunday against the Redskins, the Saints wake up in a big way.
Florio’s pick: Saints 42, Panthers 24.
Browns at Bengals
MDS’s take: Both of these teams looked bad in Week One, but the Browns seem to be on a different level of bad, because Brandon Weeden just doesn’t look like he’s ready to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. Joe Flacco showed on Monday night that a good quarterback can beat the Bengals deep, but Weeden is not a good quarterback.
MDS’s pick: Bengals 24, Browns 10.
Florio’s take: The Bengals lose the games they’re supposed to lose, and they win the games they’re supposed to win. That trend held on Monday night, and it’ll hold on Sunday.
Florio’s pick: Bengals 28, Browns 16.
Vikings at Colts
MDS’s take: Andrew Luck had four turnovers in his debut against the Bears, but what would really concern me about that game if I were a Colts fan is that the Colts’ defense didn’t look any better than it did last year. Christian Ponder will have his second consecutive big game and the Vikings will start a surprising 2-0.
MDS’s pick: Vikings 27, Colts 20.
Florio’s take: Andrew Luck will always be compared to Peyton Manning. And Peyton Manning lost the first home game of his career. So if Luck can pull this one off, he’ll already be ahead of the curve. Though the Vikings aren’t nearly as good as they were the year that Peyton Manning entered the league, they’re good enough to spoil Luck’s debut at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Florio’s pick: Vikings 24, Colts 20.
Texans at Jaguars
MDS’s take: Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert looks like he’s taken a big step forward since last season, and Jacksonville should put some points on the board. But the Jaguars won’t be able to keep pace with the loaded Texans offense, and this game could get ugly.
MDS’s pick: Texans 35, Jaguars 14.
Florio’s take: Jaguars owner Shahid Khan wants to remove the tarps at EverBank Field. His players may want to hide under them when the Texans come to town.
Florio’s pick: Texans 35, Jaguars 17.
Raiders at Dolphins
MDS’s take: Both of these offenses looked like they leave a lot to be desired in their Week One losses, but I have a lot more faith in Carson Palmer turning things around than I have in Ryan Tannehill turning things around. The Dolphins, who started last season 0-7, will take another step toward another dismal start.
MDS’s pick: Raiders 24, Dolphins 6.
Florio’s take: The Raiders may need sunglasses to dull the glare of all those empty orange seats. And it will only get more empty in the second half.
Florio’s pick: Raiders 24, Dolphins 17.
Cardinals at Patriots
MDS’s take: The Cardinals somehow seem to keep playing in close, competitive, exciting games: Last year 13 of their 16 games were decided by a touchdown or less, and they went down to the wire against the Seahawks in Week One as well. So will they be in a close game again? No. The Patriots win this one easily.
MDS’s pick: Patriots 34, Cardinals 14.
Florio’s take: The two hottest teams over the last 10 regular-season games get together in Foxboro, but there’s still a huge gap between the 9-1 Patriots and 8-2 Cardinals. Actually, there’s a pretty big gap right now between the 9-1 Patriots and 31 other teams.
Florio’s pick: Patriots 31, Cardinals 13.
Buccaneers at Giants
MDS’s take: Greg Schiano had his team playing exactly the kind of tough, physical football he promised they would play in Week One against the Panthers, while the defending champion Giants looked surprisingly out of sorts in their Week One loss to the Cowboys. But the Giants are still the Giants and the Buccaneers are still the Buccaneers, and Week One will look like an anomaly when this game is over.
MDS’s pick: Giants 27, Buccaneers 10.
Florio’s take: This is the kind of game that Giants could have lost, if they’d beaten the Cowboys in Week One. But since the Giants lost to the Cowboys in Week One, they’ll be guarding against another letdown — and quarterback Eli Manning will do what he has to do to propel the team in an early must-win situation.
Florio’s pick: Giants 27, Buccaneers 17.
Ravens at Eagles
MDS’s take: The Eagles won ugly in Week One, while the Ravens won big. Much like they did last year, the Eagles look like a team that’s less than the sum of its parts, and I like the Ravens to go to Philadelphia and win.
MDS’s pick: Ravens 24, Eagles 17.
Florio’s take: A week after barely beating the toothless new Browns, the Eagles get a taste of the old Browns. By the time it’s over, Mike Vick may need Jeffrey Lurie to push the wheelchair.
Florio’s pick: Ravens 30, Eagles 21.
Redskins at Rams
MDS’s take: I liked the way the Rams’ defense looked in the first game of the Jeff Fisher era: Yes, they gave up 355 passing yards to Matthew Stafford in a loss to the Lions, but they also mixed up their coverages and picked Stafford off three times. The Rams will do a better job of containing Robert Griffin III than the Saints did, but the problem for St. Louis is that the offensive line is a mess, and they’re not going to be able to put many points on the board.
MDS’s pick: Redskins 20, Rams 13.
Florio’s take: If the Rams had known how RG3 would make his NFL debut, the price for the pick that was sent to the Redskins would have been a lot higher than three ones and a two. And the Rams may regret sooner rather than later the decision to not simply pick Griffin themselves.
Florio’s pick: Redskins 28, Rams 20.
Cowboys at Seahawks
MDS’s take: Russell Wilson struggled against the Cardinals’ defense, and he’s going to struggle again against an athletic Cowboys defense that can limit Wilson’s mobility. The fans in Seattle may be calling for Matt Flynn soon.
MDS’s pick: Cowboys 21, Seahawks 6.
Florio’s take: Tony Romo returns to Seattle for the first time since he fumbled the snap on a field goal that would have secured a win in his first career playoff game. This time around, the defense will be the difference, especially since the Seahawks’ receivers are banged up.
Florio’s pick: Cowboys 24, Seahawks 13.
Jets at Steelers
MDS’s take: No one saw the Jets’ offensive explosion coming last week, so maybe I’m underestimating them here, but I just don’t like Mark Sanchez’s chances of moving the ball effectively against the Steelers’ defense.
MDS’s pick: Steelers 17, Jets 10.
Florio’s take: The Steelers saw some Tebowing late in Sunday’s loss to the Broncos. The Steelers will be hoping to see none of it on Sunday.
Florio’s pick: Steelers 20, Jets 10.
Titans at Chargers
MDS’s take: Chargers linebacker Shaun Phillips had an excellent game against the Raiders, and he’s going to make Titans quarterback Jake Locker’s life very difficult on Sunday. The Chargers will be off to their first 2-0 start since 2006.
MDS’s pick: Chargers 24, Titans 17.
Florio’s take: The Chargers begin what could be one of their final seasons in San Diego in style. Except for all the empty seats at the stadium.
Florio’s pick: Chargers 21, Titans 17.
Lions at 49ers
MDS’s take: The Lions survived with an unimpressive win over the Rams at home, while the 49ers had an extremely impressive win over the Packers on the road. San Francisco may just have the best team in the NFL.
MDS’s pick: 49ers 27, Lions 17.
Florio’s take: The 49ers have gotten better since the last time these two teams met in Detroit. The Lions haven’t.
Florio’s pick: 49ers 31, Lions 17.
Broncos at Falcons
MDS’s take: The loss of starting cornerback Brent Grimes is a huge blow to the Falcons, and Peyton Manning is the worst quarterback to face for a team trying to adjust to an injury in the secondary: Manning will find places to pick apart the Falcons’ secondary and get a big road win against a good team.
MDS’s pick: Broncos 31, Falcons 28.
Florio’s take: Last year, Denver’s defense kept games close long enough for the quarterback to do something heroic. This week, they’ll do the same thing — without having to give up so few points.
Florio’s pick: Broncos 38, Falcons 35.