The good news? I picked up two games on MDS last weekend. The bad news? I’m still behind by five.
The worst news? Since we only disagree on two games this week, I don’t have much of a chance of narrowing the gap.
For the week, I was a measly 8-6. Which means MDS was a pathetic 6-8. (Almost as pathetic as my 5-8 from Week Nine.)
For the year, he’s 95-52 on the season, and I’m 90-57.
For all our picks — and based on our recent performances we suggest doing the opposite, for amusement purposes only — read on.
Colts at Titans
MDS’s take: The Colts and Titans had the two worst performances in the NFL on Sunday. Losing to the Rams by 30 is humiliating, and losing to the Jaguars by any amount is even worse. Now they have to shake it off on a short work week. The 4-5 Titans can pull to within a game of the Colts in the AFC South with a win, but I trust Indianapolis to rebound from last week more than I trust Tennessee.
MDS’s pick: Colts 24, Titans 20.
Florio’s take: But for Gary Kubiak collapsing at halftime and the Texans plummeting into disarray with a 24-6 lead, the Colts would be 1-3 over the last four weeks. Even worse, they lost by 30 at home to the Rams. While that’s a lot to recover from on a short week, the Titans lost to the Jaguars — and they’ve lost their starting quarterback. Again.
Florio’s pick: Colts 20, Titans 17.
Jets at Bills
MDS’s take: I haven’t been able to figure out the Jets all season, so why should now be any different? On paper they look to me like a better team than the Bills, and yet I think the Buffalo defense can give Geno Smith fits and lead the Bills to a low-scoring win.
MDS’s pick: Bills 9, Jets 6.
Florio’s take: The Jets break their win-one-lose-one trend by facing a team that has lost plenty, along with the interest of its fans. Geno Smith moves to 2-0 against the only quarterback drafted in front of him.
Florio’s pick: Jets 24, Bills 16.
Ravens at Bears
MDS’s take: The Bears’ playoff hopes took a huge hit with last week’s loss to the Lions, while the Ravens’ playoff hopes stayed alive with last week’s win over the Bengals. This week things will go in the other direction. The way to beat the Bears is to run the football, and the Ravens are terrible at running the football. The Bears will take this one.
MDS’s pick: Bears 27, Ravens 17.
Florio’s take: No more excuses for Joe Flacco. While his weapons are diminished, so is the Chicago defense. And the Bears have once again resorted to Josh McCown.
Florio’s pick: Ravens 23, Bears 17.
Browns at Bengals
MDS’s take: This is a big game in the AFC North. If the Browns win they’ll be just half a game behind the Bengals, and they’ll own the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Browns are playing good football recently and the Bengals are struggling, and this has all the makings of a huge win for Cleveland and yet . . . I just can’t pick the Browns. A.J. Green will make enough big plays to win this one.
MDS’s pick: Bengals 28, Browns 20.
Florio’s take: The Bengals are unbeaten at home. But they haven’t played at home since losing Geno Atkins for the year. And the Browns finally have found a quarterback. A Cleveland sweep would throw the AFC North into complete disarray, but it’s time for the Bengals to reverse the slide.
Florio’s pick: Bengals 27, Browns 20.
Raiders at Texans
MDS’s take: This should be Sunday’s ugliest game, as neither team is particularly good in any phase. The one compelling aspect of this matchup is that both teams have young quarterbacks who have shown flashes of talent. I’ll trust a healthy Case Keenum to make a few more big plays than Terrelle Pryor on a bum knee, and that will be the difference.
MDS’s pick: Texans 27, Raiders 20.
Florio’s take: It’s the Sam Rosen-Bill Maas game of the week. And if the Texans can’t find a way to break a seven-game slide against a slumping team that is getting close to the point where Matt McGloin should get a tryout, the Texans may not win another game this year.
Florio’s pick: Texans 24, Raiders 14.
Cardinals at Jaguars
MDS’s take: The Jaguars turned in one good game against the Titans, but they won’t make it two in a row. The Cardinals’ defense is too good and the Jaguars’ offense is too bad for this game to be close.
MDS’s pick: Cardinals 21, Jaguars 6.
Florio’s take: The Jaguars surprised the Titans. The Jaguars won’t be surprising anyone else this year. Especially not the playoff contenders with great defenses.
Florio’s pick: Cardinals 24, Jaguars 9.
Chargers at Dolphins
MDS’s take: The locker-room distractions are an issue for the Dolphins, but a bigger issue on Sunday is that the Dolphins just don’t have the kind of defense that matches up well with the Chargers’ passing attack. San Diego will put a lot of points on the board in Miami.
MDS’s pick: Chargers 34, Dolphins 24.
Florio’s take: The up-and-down Chargers face the down-and-out Dolphins. If Miami can’t beat the Bucs, it’s hard to see them beating the Chargers. Or pretty much anyone.
Florio’s pick: Chargers 28, Dolphins 20.
Redskins at Eagles
MDS’s take: Philadelphia is rolling with Nick Foles right now, and he should put up more big numbers against a bad Washington secondary. When these teams played in the Monday night opener Philadelphia jumped out to an early lead and Washington couldn’t catch up, and I see this game going the same way.
MDS’s pick: Eagles 30, Redskins 23.
Florio’s take: The Eagles haven’t won at home since September 30, 2012. And yet they’re 5-5. The Redskins are 3-6 for the second straight year. And yet they think they can once again turn things around. More importantly, the third-round pick from 2012 is currently looking a lot better than the second overall selection from last year.
Florio’s pick: Eagles 30, Redskins 20.
Lions at Steelers
MDS’s take: This could be a trap game for Detroit, which is celebrating being in first place this late in the season for the first time since the pre-Matt Millen era. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, an old and slow defense can’t keep up with the Lions’ offense for four quarters. Look for the Lions to get off to a sluggish start but put the Steelers away late.
MDS’s pick: Lions 31, Steelers 20.
Florio’s take: The Lions haven’t won in Pittsburgh since Bobby Layne was the quarterback. Of the Lions. A full 58 years and four days later, the Lions are good and the Steelers are bad and yes it’s that simple.
Florio’s pick: Lions 27, Steelers 21.
Falcons at Buccaneers
MDS’s take: The Bucs are a bad team, but they’re not as bad as people think. There’s a lot of talent on that defense, and Mike Glennon is playing solid football as a rookie quarterback. The Falcons are on a path from first to worst in the NFC South, and a loss in Tampa Bay will show just how far Atlanta has fallen.
MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 21, Falcons 20.
Florio’s take: It’s the Battle for the Basement, Part II. The Falcons have done nothing to show that they’ll be able to beat the Bucs, or anyone, on the road.
Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 21, Falcons 13.
49ers at Saints
MDS’s take: The 49ers’ offense is struggling mightily, while the Saints’ offense is exploding. Hard for me to see the 49ers going to New Orleans and winning.
MDS’s pick: Saints 31, 49ers 17.
Florio’s take: Last year, Colin Kaepernick cemented his grip on the starting quarterback job by beating the Saints in New Orleans. This year, the questions regarding whether the Niners kept the wrong guy will intensify.
Florio’s pick: Saints 34, 49ers 24.
Vikings at Seahawks
MDS’s take: This will be an easy win for the Seahawks, who continue their march to the No. 1 seed in the NFC. I’ll be surprised if the Vikings keep it close.
MDS’s pick: Seahawks 41, Vikings 10.
Florio’s take: Regardless of whether Percy Harvin plays (or doesn’t) for the Seahawks or whether he was playing for the Vikings, it won’t matter. The Seahawks are far superior, and they’re playing where they never lose.
Florio’s pick: Seahawks 27, Vikings 10.
Packers at Giants
MDS’s take: A couple weeks ago this looked like an easy win for the Packers. Now Aaron Rodgers is hurt, and Seneca Wallace is hurt too, and the Giants are playing better, and all of a sudden it looks like an easy win for the Giants.
MDS’s pick: Giants 24, Packers 13.
Florio’s take: Scott Tolzein vs. non-Eli Eli Manning. Is there anything else on TV then?
Florio’s pick: Giants 24, Packers 17.
Chiefs at Broncos
MDS’s take: The pressure in this game is on the Broncos. If the Chiefs, who already have a one-game lead in the division, were to win on the road at Denver, they’d establish themselves as the clear favorites to win the AFC West. But I expect the Broncos to turn in one of their best games of the season and win this one handily.
MDS’s pick: Broncos 35, Chiefs 20.
Florio’s take: The Colts provided the blueprint . . . for holding the Broncos to 33 points. The Chiefs have the defense to do the same thing. As long as they can score 34.
Florio’s pick: Broncos 33, Chiefs 27.
Patriots at Panthers
MDS’s take: The Patriots’ offense is getting better after a rough start to the season, but they’re running into a buzz saw in Carolina, where the Panthers’ defense has been outstanding. Carolina will win a tough, physical game.
MDS’s pick: Panthers 24, Patriots 10.
Florio’s take: The Panthers have the ability to do to Tom Brady what the Giants did to Tom Brady in Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI. And they will. Repeatedly.
Florio’s pick: Panthers 20, Patriots 13.