Last week was one of those crazy Costanza weeks, when in hindsight it made sense to make our picks and then do the opposite. Both MDS and yours truly were 6-8 for the week. Six up, eight down. Denver’s stunning comeback knocked me under .500 and allowed MDS to salvage a tie for the Week Six contest, since we disagreed on two games. (The Redskins came through for me . . . finally.)
This week, there won’t be a tie unless there’s a tie in one of the three games on which we disagree. Scroll down to see where we stand on the various comments.
And as to whether this week we made our picks and then did the opposite, our official comment is, “No comment.”
For the year, I’m at 55-36, and MDS is 53-38.
Seahawks at 49ers
MDS’s take: The NFC West is far more competitive than anyone expected, and the winner of this game has to be viewed as the favorite to win the division. I like the 49ers to come in focused after Sunday’s dismal loss to the Giants and easily handle the Seahawks.
MDS’s pick: 49ers 23, Seahawks 6.
Florio’s take: The Niners got a rude awakening from the Giants. And so the Niners will be wide awake when the Seahawks blow in to town for a better-than-expected primetime showdown. Home team gets the edge, especially since the home team was embarrassed on Sunday.
Florio’s pick: 49ers 20, Seahawks 10.
Titans at Bills
MDS’s take: Both of these teams are coming off their best wins of the season, but the Bills were the team whose win looked like something they can build on, because their defense finally stopped somebody. They’ll stop Matt Hasselbeck and Chris Johnson on Sunday, too.
MDS’s pick: Bills 20, Titans 13.
Florio’s take: The rematch of the Music City Miracle game won’t be played in the Music City, and a miracle likely won’t be happening. Last week, the Titans stole one from a diminished Steelers team, and the Bills showed resilience. Playing at home with a share of first (and fourth) place in the division, Buffalo should be able to stay on the right track. At least for now.
Florio’s pick: Bills 27, Titans 17.
Cowboys at Panthers
MDS’s take: I’ve been on the Panthers’ bandwagon all year, and although I should probably know better by now, I still believe Carolina is better than its record suggests.
MDS’s pick: Panthers 21, Cowboys 20.
Florio’s take: The consistently inconsistent Cowboys played well and lost on Sunday in Baltimore. They’re due to play poorly and win in Carolina against a Panthers team that has figured out how to consistently play poorly and lose.
Florio’s pick: Cowboys 24, Panthers 20.
Ravens at Texans
MDS’s take: The only two teams with winning records in the AFC face off in a game that we might look back on in January as the game that decided home-field advantage in the playoffs. I think the team with home-field advantage takes this one, bouncing back from last week’s ugly loss to the Packers.
MDS’s pick: Texans 24, Ravens 14.
Florio’s take: The Texans’ pride is wounded. The Ravens are simply wounded. If Houston doesn’t get things back on track quickly, a tailspin could be coming. They’ve got the rushing attack to get there — and the Ravens don’t have the defense to stop them.
Florio’s pick: Texans 27, Ravens 20.
Browns at Colts
MDS’s take: Andrew Luck has the brighter future, but right now I’m not sure he’s a better quarterback than Brandon Weeden, who’s playing better as a rookie than he gets credit for. As inspiring as their win over the Packers two weeks ago was, the Colts’ loss to the Jets exposed a lot of holes, and I like the Browns to make it two wins in a row.
MDS’s pick: Browns 21, Colts 20.
Florio’s take: Potent at home and sluggish on the road, Indy matches its win total from Peyton Manning’s rookie season against a Brown team that is still basking in the afterglow of that elusive first win of the season. And Jimmy could be getting upset.
Florio’s pick: Colts 30, Browns 24.
Cardinals at Vikings
MDS’s take: The Cardinals’ defense and special teams are good enough to keep them in any game, but the Cardinals’ offense is bad enough to lose any game. Jared Allen will make life miserable for John Skelton and the Vikings will win.
MDS’s pick: Vikings 17, Cardinals 7.
Florio’s take: Former Vikings ballboy Larry Fitzgerald has never won in Minnesota. That’s not likely to change on Sunday as he makes what likely will be his final trip to the soon-to-be-imploded Metrodome.
Florio’s pick: Vikings 23, Cardinals 14.
Redskins at Giants
MDS’s take: The Redskins beat the Giants twice last year, and they have an enormous opportunity on Sunday to show they can really hang with the big boys. But while Robert Griffin III has been a sensational rookie quarterback, the Redskins are still a ways off from being a complete and elite team.
MDS’s pick: Giants 31, Redskins 14.
Florio’s take: If the Redskins hadn’t swept the Giants last year, this is precisely the kind of game that the Giants would have lost. Instead, one of the best teams in the NFC will continue its climb back toward the postseason.
Florio’s pick: Giants 31, Redskins 20.
Packers at Rams
MDS’s take: How many people predicted before the season that both of these teams would be 3-3 when they met in Week Seven? Certainly not me. The Rams could make a huge statement that they’re real contenders by winning this one, but the Packers already made their statement last week in Houston, and now it’s time for Green Bay to start separating itself from the NFC pack.
MDS’s pick: Packers 24, Rams 10.
Florio’s take: It was only a matter of time before the Packers found the gas pedal. If they can dismantle the Texans in their own building, the Packers can outscore the Rams in theirs.
Florio’s pick: Packers 31, Rams 17.
Saints at Buccaneers
MDS’s take: There may still be time for the Saints to turn their season around, but I just don’t see it happening. The bottom line for the Saints is that their defense is a mess, and Drew Brees can’t win a game all by himself. The Bucs will win and get to .500.
MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 24, Saints 20.
Florio’s take: Last year, when the Saints were great and the Bucs were anything but, New Orleans couldn’t win in Tampa. And so it makes sense for the Saints, who genuinely believe they can turn this thing around, to roll into Raymond James Stadium and rack up plenty of points.
Florio’s pick: Saints 31, Buccaneers 25.
Jets at Patriots
MDS’s take: Rex Ryan wants the Patriots to know that he thinks the Jets will win, but I don’t think too many people agree with Rex. The AFC East standings say the division is wide open, but the reality is that the Patriots are heavy favorites, and they’ll take a big step toward proving that on Sunday.
MDS’s pick: Patriots 34, Jets 10.
Florio’s take: The Jets have their swagger back. But it’s a week-to-week thing. And this week the swagger takes a break as the Pats once again work to put a game they should have won behind them.
Florio’s pick: Patriots 30, Jets 23.
Jaguars at Raiders
MDS’s take: This looks to me like Sunday’s worst game, a matchup of two teams going nowhere. But the Raiders are closer to getting somewhere than the Jaguars.
MDS’s pick: Raiders 23, Jaguars 13.
Florio’s take: If no one watches this game, will it actually be played? Unfortunately, yes.
Florio’s pick: Raiders 17, Jaguars 9.
Steelers at Bengals
MDS’s take: A.J. Green can make a lot of big plays against that old and slow Steelers defense, but the Steelers will put a lot of points up on the weak Bengals defense, too. There’s a part of me that feels like this is the game when the Bengals establish themselves as up-and-comers in the AFC North, but a bigger part of me thinks the Steelers find a way to hold the Bengals off.
MDS’s pick: Steelers 35, Bengals 34.
Florio’s take: The Bengals couldn’t beat the Steelers or Ravens last year when the Bengals were good. This year, the Bengals aren’t as good. But neither are the Steelers. Where’s my Magic 8-Ball when I need it?
Florio’s pick: Steelers 24, Bengals 21.
Lions at Bears
MDS’s take: The Lions saved their season with a come-from-behind overtime win over the Eagles, but back-to-back road wins will be too much for Detroit fans to ask for. The Bears will remain in the NFC North lead and the Lions will remain in the basement.
MDS’s pick: Bears 20, Lions 17.
Florio’s take: The Lions think they have their edge back. The reality is the Eagles gave them a gift. The Bears won’t be quite so charitable.
Florio’s pick: Bears 30, Lions 17.