Week Three already is upon us, and I enter it with a two-game lead over MDS. By Thursday night, the lead will be three, since MDS failed to realize that the 49ers have a greater claim to ownership of the Rams in recent years than Stan Kroenke.
We disagree on one other game for the weekend, which means that, come Week Four, I’ll be up by four games and he’ll be closing in on conceding.
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Last week, I went 11-5 and MDS was 10-6. This week, perfection awaits. For someone other than either of us.
Rams at 49ers
MDS’s take: In what looks like another ugly Thursday night game, I think Jared Goff and Todd Gurley will move the ball enough to take a lead and keep a lead, while Brian Hoyer will struggle against the Rams’ defense.
MDS’s pick: Rams 20, 49ers 6.
Florio’s take: The 49ers are 3-19 in their last 22 games. The three wins have come against the Rams. If the 49ers intend to win any games in 2017, this is a great place to start.
Florio’s pick: 49ers 13, Rams 9.
Ravens at Jaguars
MDS’s take: The Ravens’ defense has been outstanding in the first two weeks of the season, and I can’t see Blake Bortles doing much of anything against them. London is going to get another low-scoring game.
MDS’s pick: Ravens 17, Jaguars 7.
Florio’s take: A good defense versus a very good defense results in a game that will feature scoring more like the kind of football that Nigel and his mates are used to watching.
Florio’s pick: Ravens 6, Jaguars 3.
Browns at Colts
MDS’s take: Can it really be true? The Browns are favored on the road? It’s true, and understandable, given how bad the Colts have looked in the first two weeks of the season. But I see Indianapolis getting incrementally better on offense as Jacoby Brissett has more time to work within the system, and the Colts will narrowly avoid the embarrassment of losing at home to the Browns.
MDS’s pick: Colts 20, Browns 17.
Florio’s take: Are the Browns jinxed by being favored to win on the road? As Joe Thomas said on PFT Live, being picked to lose hasn’t kept them from losing.
Florio’s pick: Browns 17, Colts 13.
Giants at Eagles
MDS’s take: The Giants’ offense has been a mess this season, and I don’t see that changing at Philadelphia. The Giants will fall to 0-3, including 0-2 in the division, and any hopes of a return to the playoffs are rapidly disappearing.
MDS’s pick: Eagles 24, Giants 16.
Florio’s take: Brylcreem Ben says plenty of good teams start 0-2. How many good teams start 0-3?
Florio’s pick: Eagles 24, Giants 13.
Dolphins at Jets
MDS’s take: The Dolphins got lucky last week when the Chargers’ last-minute field goal attempt went wide. They won’t need to get lucky this week to beat the Jets.
MDS’s pick: Dolphins 28, Jets 14.
Florio’s take: Jay Cutler faces the team that should have been at the front of the line to sign him.
Florio’s pick: Dolphins 27, Jets 10.
Broncos at Bills
MDS’s take: People accused the Bills of tanking during the offseason, but they’ve played hard this season. They’ll give the Broncos everything they can handle but fall just short.
MDS’s pick: Broncos 21, Bills 20.
Florio’s take: The dawn of the Nathan Peterman era could be creeping closer and closer.
Florio’s pick: Broncos 27, Bills 13.
Saints at Panthers
MDS’s take: Cam Newton is off to a slow start, but facing the Saints’ defense is just the thing to get him on track.
MDS’s pick: Panthers 31, Saints 17.
Florio’s take: The Saints are getting desperate but the Panthers’ defense possibly is better than it’s ever been. With Greg Olsen out, it’s time for the Panthers to come up with ways to feature Christian McCaffrey.
Florio’s pick: Panthers 20, Saints 17.
Steelers at Bears
MDS’s take: The Bears looked brutally bad last week against the Buccaneers, and I see no reason to think that will change this week.
MDS’s pick: Steelers 27, Bears 9.
Florio’s take: The Steelers have one of the few offenses that periodically takes a shot down the field in a pick-your-poison proposition that it going to allow the Pittsburgh team to pile up wins.
Florio’s pick: Steelers 30, Bears 16.
Falcons at Lions
MDS’s take: I’ve picked against the Lions the first two weeks, and they’re 2-0. Good news, Lions fans: I’m picking against them again.
MDS’s pick: Falcons 28, Lions 20.
Florio’s take: The Lions are operating on a short week after a late-night return from New York, with an excellent team coming to town that won’t be caught napping thanks to Detroit’s 2-0 record.
Florio’s pick: Falcons 27, Lions 20.
Buccaneers at Vikings
MDS’s take: If Sam Bradford is good to go, this is a very good matchup of NFC playoff contenders. I think Jameis Winston and Mike Evans will make just enough plays to win a close one.
MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 24, Vikings 23.
Florio’s take: When these two were in the same division, the Vikings owned the rivalry. Now? Not. The Bucs have won six of the last seven. Make that seven of eight.
Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 23, Vikings 16.
Texans at Patriots
MDS’s take: The Patriots’ defense has been ugly this season, but so has the Texans’ offense. New England should score enough to win this one comfortably.
MDS’s pick: Patriots 31, Texans 20.
Florio’s take: Deshaun Watson is the future. But he’s simply not ready to take down one of the greatest players of all time in the present.
Florio’s pick: Patriots 30, Texans 17.
Seahawks at Titans
MDS’s take: I see Derrick Henry having a big game against a suspect Seahawks run defense, and the Titans pulling off a big win.
MDS’s pick: Titans 20, Seahawks 17.
Florio’s take: It’s an early crisis of confidence for Seattle, who lack the firepower on offense to outscore the best teams in the league.
Florio’s pick: Titans 16, Seahawks 9.
Bengals at Packers
MDS’s take: Andy Dalton has been awful this year, and I don’t see that changing in Green Bay.
MDS’s pick: Packers 20, Bengals 10.
Florio’s take: It’s been 25 years since a Bengals-Packers game birthed the legend of Brett Favre. Aaron Rodgers will continue what Favre started.
Florio’s pick: Packers 28, Bengals 14.
Chiefs at Chargers
MDS’s take: The Chargers are a better team than their 0-2 record suggests, but I think the Chiefs are the best team in the AFC, and they’ll roll to 3-0.
MDS’s pick: Chiefs 28, Chargers 17.
Florio’s take: At least the Chargers won’t lose on a late missed field goal for the third game in a row.
Florio’s pick: Chiefs 33, Chargers 20.
Raiders at Washington
MDS’s take: The Raiders’ offense has been outstanding through two games, and they should roll through Washington’s defense.
MDS’s pick: Raiders 31, Washington 17.
Florio’s take: Tune in Sunday night for Beastmode Meets The Brother of Chucky. It’s a horror movie. For the home team.
Florio’s pick: Raiders 34, Washington 24.
Cowboys at Cardinals
MDS’s take: I’m having a hard time getting a handle on the Cowboys after they blew out the Giants in Week One and then got blown out by the Broncos in Week Two. But I’ll pick Dallas to win this one, probably with a few big plays on special teams making the difference.
MDS’s pick: Cowboys 24, Cardinals 21.
Florio’s take: Ezekiel Elliot will be getting more than eight yards, and he won’t be caught loafing by the Monday night cameras.
Florio’s pick: Cowboys 24, Cardinals 10.