Week Seven was a very lucky week for yours truly. With an unlucky 13 games on the schedule, I got 12 of them correct, with only a late comeback from the Titans blocking an unprecedented piece of perfection.
More importantly, MDS and I disagreed on three games. Thanks to the Cowboys, Saints, and Colts, my two-game season-to-date lead has been extended to five games.
For the year, I’m now 67-37, and MDS is 62-42.
MDS will join Thursday’s PFT Live to discuss this week’s picks. There will be no gloating.
At least not by him.
Buccaneers at Vikings
MDS’s take: After I was burned by picking the Bucs last week on the way to going 0-for-3 on games where I disagreed with Florio, I’m playing it safe this week. Tampa Bay still looks to me like a team that’s headed in the right direction, but right now the Vikings have too much for the Bucs on both sides of the ball and should win this one comfortably.
MDS’s pick: Vikings 27, Buccaneers 13.
Florio’s take: The Vikings get a chance to show how different they are this year against one of the teams to whom the Vikings blew a big halftime lead last year. This time, if the Vikings are up by 10 or more at the break, look for them to close it out with a defense that finally is good enough to hold leads.
Florio’s pick: Vikings 21, Buccaneers 19.
Panthers at Bears
MDS’s take: Cam Newton is going to bounce back from this slump he’s in eventually. He’s too talented not to. But the Bears are the wrong team for a young quarterback to bounce back against. Chicago’s relentless pressure will force a few turnovers and lead to another loss for the Panthers.
MDS’s pick: Bears 20, Panthers 10.
Florio’s take: Rattled by the ouster of G.M. Marty Hurney, racked by injuries, and reeling from the sad-sack demeanor of Cam Newton, the Panthers are poised to get plastered.
Florio’s pick: Bears 31, Panthers 10.
Chargers at Browns
MDS’s take: The Chargers have had two weeks to lick their wounds after that disastrous Monday night meltdown against the Broncos. They’ll come in to Cleveland focused and motivated and win this one comfortably.
MDS’s pick: Chargers 31, Browns 17.
Florio’s take: If Mike Holmgren’s current team can knock off the Chargers, the Chargers could be Mike Holmgren’s next team. Though a house-cleaning could still be coming, the Chargers will likely do enough to reverse a bad two weeks of blown leads and stickum, allegedly.
Florio’s pick: Chargers 24, Browns 17.
Seahawks at Lions
MDS’s take: Mistakes keep killing the Lions, whether it’s penalties, turnovers or special teams coverage breakdowns. If the Lions could get out of their own way they could go on a run down the stretch and still contend for a wild card berth, but that doesn’t look likely at this point. Seattle is the team that looks like a playoff contender, and the Seahawks will take another step in that direction with a win on the road.
MDS’s pick: Seahawks 17, Lions 14.
Florio’s take: If this one were set for Seattle, it would be a no brainer. In Detroit, the Seahawks have an opportunity to prove that they’re capable of beating better-than-bad teams in a place other than CenturyLink Field.
Florio’s pick: Seahawks 17, Lions 16.
Jaguars at Packers
MDS’s take: In the biggest mismatch of the week, the Jaguars’ offense will look even worse than usual without Maurice Jones-Drew, and Aaron Rodgers will have his third consecutive huge game.
MDS’s pick: Packers 34, Jaguars 3.
Florio’s take: The Packers have never beaten the Jaguars at Lambeau Field. Then again, these teams have played there only once. The Jags will want to forget their second trip to town.
Florio’s pick: Packers 45, Jaguars 21.
Dolphins at Jets
MDS’s take: I’m impressed that the Jets aren’t going down without a fight. When they lost Darrelle Revis and got blown out by the 49ers, I figured the Jets were finished, but they’ve played good football for the last three weeks, even if they have only one win to show for it in those three games. The Jets will beat the Dolphins in a low-scoring game and get back to .500.
MDS’s pick: Jets 13, Dolphins 10.
Florio’s take: Despite the injuries and the ineffectiveness and the uncertainty, the Jets have improved over the past few weeks. They’re good enough to complete the sweep of a Dolphins team that has improved even more discreetly.
Florio’s pick: Jets 30, Dolphins 20.
Falcons at Eagles
MDS’s take: The Eagles know their backs are against the wall, and the Falcons have been scraping by with three straight close wins. This looks to me like the day when the Falcons’ luck runs out, and the last unbeaten team in the league gets beaten.
MDS’s pick: Eagles 24, Falcons 21.
Florio’s take: Andy Reid is 13-0 after the bye week. Sometimes, there’s no need for elaboration.
Florio’s pick: Eagles 24, Falcons 23.
Redskins at Steelers
MDS’s take: The Steelers took a big step toward the playoffs with last week’s win in Cincinnati, and I like them to keep it going against the Redskins. Look for Steelers tight end Heath Miller to have a big game against the Redskins’ defense, just as Giants tight end Martellus Bennett, Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph and Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez have in the Redskins’ last three games.
MDS’s pick: Steelers 28, Redskins 27.
Florio’s take: The Steelers are 20-2-1 at Heinz Field against NFC teams. But Heinz Field has never seen anything like RG3, who’ll run circles around a Polamalu-free Pittsburgh defense.
Florio’s pick: Redskins 23, Steelers 20.
Patriots at Rams
MDS’s take: The Rams’ secondary has been playing well and the Patriots’ secondary has been leaving receivers wide open, and I’m tempted to pick the upset for that reason. But with Danny Amendola hurt I don’t think the Rams have the ammunition to take advantage of the Patriots’ problems on defense, and I think New England’s running game can churn up yardage at Wembley Stadium and lead the Patriots to a low-scoring win.
MDS’s pick: Patriots 16, Rams 10.
Florio’s take: The team whose name pays homage to the men who kicked the butts of the Brits like to kick butt in Britain. Though it won’t be a blowout like it was three years ago against the Bucs, the Pats should be able to build a fourth-quarter lead. And hold it. For a change.
Florio’s pick: Patriots 27, Rams 21.
Colts at Titans
MDS’s take: Titans running back Chris Johnson took advantage of a bad Bills defense last week, and he should be able to take advantage of a bad Colts defense this week. Johnson will go for about 150 yards and the Colts’ offense won’t be able to keep up.
MDS’s pick: Titans 28, Colts 21.
Florio’s take: The winner of this one won’t likely challenge the Texans for the division crown but would be very much alive for a wild-card berth. The Titans continue their knack for playing in — and winning — exciting games.
Florio’s pick: Titans 27, Colts 24.
Raiders at Chiefs
MDS’s take: I’m not a believer in Brady Quinn as the Chiefs’ long-term answer at quarterback, but as a short-term fix who won’t turn the ball over as often as Matt Cassel, Quinn should be able to lead Kansas City to a home win over a bad team.
MDS’s pick: Chiefs 20, Raiders 16.
Florio’s take: Oakland has won five straight times at Arrowhead Stadium. With an extra week to prepare and everyone on the hot seat, if the Chiefs don’t beat the Raiders at home now, they possibly never will.
Florio’s pick: Chiefs 24, Raiders 10.
Giants at Cowboys
MDS’s take: Completing a season sweep of the Giants would go a long way toward getting the Cowboys into playoff contention, but I don’t see it happening. The Cowboys’ defense will miss linebacker Sean Lee, Giants quarterback Eli Manning will have a big day, and the Giants will improve to 4-0 all time at Cowboys Stadium.
MDS’s pick: Giants 31, Cowboys 20.
Florio’s take: The Cowboys aren’t nearly as good as they were in Week One, when they beat the Giants in New Jersey. The Giants are the same, but this time they won’t get complacent.
Florio’s pick: Giants 35, Cowboys 27.
Saints at Broncos
MDS’s take: Two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks will be on the field in Denver, but Drew Brees has to play against a good Broncos secondary, while Peyton Manning gets to play against a terrible Saints secondary. Advantage Peyton.
MDS’s pick: Broncos 42, Saints 21.
Florio’s take: When he was the head coach of the Panthers, John Fox held his own against Sean Payton’s Saints. This time, Fox has a great quarterback — and the Saints don’t have Payton.
Florio’s pick: Broncos 38, Saints 28.
49ers at Cardinals
MDS’s take: The Cardinals’ great start to the season may come to a screeching halt on Monday night. A home loss to a division rival would be tough for Arizona to overcome, and a win at Arizona will be another step for the 49ers toward establishing themselves as the clear favorites to win the NFC West.
MDS’s pick: 49ers 20, Cardinals 13.
Florio’s take: Once atop the NFC West, the Cardinals are close to completing their slide to the basement. Blame it on the lack of a high-end quarterback and an offensive line to protect him.
Florio’s pick: 49ers 24, Cardinals 13.