PFT’s Week Six picks

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After a couple of bad weeks this year, Week Five was one of the best ever for MDS and yours truly.  Making it even better?  In the one game on which we disagreed, I was right — and MDS was wrong.

I had complete faith in the Patriots.  Bet-the-farm faith in the Patriots.  (Of course, if I were one to bet farms, I’d be down about 13 of them over the last few years.)

For the week, I was 13-2 and MDS generated a 12-3 mark.  For the year, he leads at 47-29 (61.8 percent).  I’m at 46-30 (60.5 percent).

This week, we disagree on three games.  With a lead of only one game, he may not quite so cocky when we discuss the picks on which we differ during Thursday’s PFT Live.

Who’m I kidding?  He’ll be as cocky as ever.

Colts at Texans

MDS’s take: I think we may finally see a decent game on a Thursday night. The Texans’ defense and home crowd will make things difficult on the Colts early on, keeping the score close, but in the end I just don’t think Houston can put enough points on the board to win this battle for first place in the AFC South.

MDS’s pick: Colts 24, Texans 17.

Florio’s take:  In each of the past three Thursdays, first-year coaching staffs were blown out in a short-week game.  With the Texans trying to process a deflating loss at Dallas while also trying to prepare for an underrated Colts team, it may not be a blowout — but it’ll count the same in the standings.

Florio’s pick:  Colts 27, Texans 20.

Patriots at Bills

MDS’s take: I can’t figure out either of these teams, as evidenced by my picks. I thought going to Kyle Orton was a desperate move for a Bills team that was going nowhere next week, but they won. I thought the Patriots were looking old and washed up, but they won. So who wins when the teams meet on Sunday? The Patriots, who looked a lot more impressive than the Bills. With Sunday’s win, New England will be right back where it belongs atop the AFC East.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 28, Bills 20.

Florio’s take:  The Pegula era likely won’t start the way the Wilson era ended.  But it’ll start the same way the Wilson era began 54 years ago — with a loss.  The Patriots are awake, and the Bills scored a win in Detroit they really didn’t deserve.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 30, Bills 20.

Panthers at Bengals

MDS’s take: A healthy Panthers offense would be tailor made to attack the Bengals’ defense, which is great against the pass but lousy against the run. Unfortunately, injuries have forced Cam Newton to be a pocket passer and forced the Panthers to rely far more on throwing than they’d like. That plays into the Bengals’ strengths, and they’re going to make this game tough on Newton.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 20, Panthers 10.

Florio’s take:  On Sunday night, the Bengals looked like they usually do in the postseason.  This week, they’ll look like they usually do in the regular season.  Even without A.J. Green.

Florio’s pick:  Bengals 24, Panthers 13.

Steelers at Browns

MDS’s take: We’ve become so accustomed to assuming the Browns are doormats that I don’t know if we’ve really paid attention to just how good their offense is. I think they’re going to put up a lot of points against the Steelers and declare that they’re real contenders for an AFC playoff spot.

MDS’s pick: Browns 31, Steelers 27.

Florio’s take:  Arguably the biggest game for the Browns since late 2007 and for Brian Hoyer since his NFL career began, Cleveland has the talent to outscore an uneven Steelers team that barely beat the Jaguars on Sunday.  It may not indicate a changing of the guard, but it will give folks in Cleveland something to feel really good about, at least until the Cavs start playing.  Maybe longer.

Florio’s pick:  Browns 27, Steelers 24.

Packers at Dolphins

MDS’s take: Both of these teams have been inconsistent this season, which makes this a tough game to call. I just don’t think Ryan Tannehill is playing well enough to exploit the weaknesses in the Packers’ defense, and that’s why I see this as a narrow Green Bay win.

MDS’s pick: Packers 21, Dolphins 20.

Florio’s take:  Joe Philbin has had two weeks to get ready to face his old team.  It won’t be enough.  The Packers are finding their groove and racking up wins and trying to get some separation in the NFC North.  Plus, it’s Aaron Rodgers vs. Ryan Tannehill.  Plus, that big win for the Dolphins after a pair of losses came against the Raiders.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 34, Dolphins 17.

Lions at Vikings

MDS’s take: The Vikings will be a lot better this week with Teddy Bridgewater at the helm than they were last week with Christian Ponder at the helm. Unfortunately, they’re taking on a Detroit defense that can make life rough for even a good young quarterback with as much promise as Bridgewater.

MDS’s pick: Lions 27, Vikings 14.

Florio’s take:  Teddy Bridgewater is in.  Calvin Johnson may be out.  And the Vikings become unlikely factors in the NFC North, at least for now.

Florio’s pick:  Vikings 27, Lions 20.

Broncos at Jets

MDS’s take: The Jets aren’t as bad as they looked on Sunday against the Chargers. But they’re not good enough to beat the Broncos, either.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 28, Jets 24.

Florio’s take:  Peyton Manning returns to MetLife Stadium under slightly different circumstances, against a slightly worse team.  The Jets should set their clocks back to Pacific time for this one.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 41, Jets 17.

Ravens at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: The Bucs have actually played much better football than most people realize, other than their Thursday night meltdown against the Falcons.  That game in Atlanta aside, the Bucs are 1-3 and all three losses have gone down to the final minute. Tampa should give Baltimore a good game, but in the end I like the Ravens to pull out a close one.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 28, Buccaneers 27.

Florio’s take:  The Bucs return home after a trio of road games that started horribly (56-14 at Atlanta), had an unexpectedly great second act (upset win at Pittsburgh), and nearly a fantastic finish (close but no cigar victory over the Saints in New Orleans).  With the bye week looming, the Bucs will go all in to move to 2-4.  But that likely won’t be enough against a Ravens team that has shown it’s ready to return to a position among the NFL’s best.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 27, Buccaneers 17.

Jaguars at Titans

MDS’s take: I don’t think the Titans are very good, but at this point I wouldn’t pick the Jaguars to win on the road against anyone. This will be Sunday’s worst game.

MDS’s pick: Titans 12, Jaguars 9.

Florio’s take:  They’ll probably tie.  But since I’ve got to pick a winner, let’s go with the team that has the better quarterback and (for now), the extra motivation that comes from a goose egg in the win column, and something other than the lingering stench of the biggest home-field collapse in league history.

Florio’s pick:  Jaguars 20, Titans 16.

Chargers at Raiders

MDS’s take: The head coach was far from the only problem in Oakland. Tony Sparano is about to find out the hard way that this roster isn’t good enough — especially against the Chargers, one of the best teams in the league.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 34, Raiders 17.

Florio’s take:  Interim coach Tony Sparano recently buried a football.  Unless the hole also included Philip Rivers and other key members of the Chargers, 0-4 is about to become 0-5.

Florio’s pick:  Chargers 30, Raiders 13.

Washington at Cardinals

MDS’s take: I don’t know if any team in the league has been more hurt by injuries than the Cardinals, who can now add Calais Campbell — in my opinion their best player — to the list of those sidelined. And yet Bruce Arians is keeping his team competitive, and I believe Arizona is good enough to keep winning despite all the injuries.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 24, Washington 20.

Florio’s take:  Whether it’s Carson Palmer or Drew Stanton or Logan Thomas or Jim Hart at quarterback, the Cardinals enjoy an underrated home advantage — and Washington is traveling a long way on a short week.  Also Washington isn’t very good.

Florio’s pick:  Cardinals 30, Washington 17.

Bears at Falcons

MDS’s take: Devin Hester will be motivated to play well against the team that let him walk, and I think he will.  The Bears have not been great on punts and kickoffs this year, and I’m betting on Hester to break a big one. That could be the difference in a close game.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 24, Bears 21.

Florio’s take:  The up-and-down Falcons have been up at home.  The up-and-down Bears have been down for the last two weeks.  Devin Hester is downplaying a shot at revenge against the team that never could figure out how to properly use him on offense.  Hester will likely be playing up on Sunday.

Florio’s pick:  Falcons 34, Bears 20.

Cowboys at Seahawks

MDS’s take: The Cowboys are a lot better than anyone expected, but they’re not good enough to win in Seattle. The Seahawks’ defense isn’t playing quite as well as last year, but the offense is even better.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 31, Cowboys 20.

Florio’s take:  The process of the Cowboys returning to earth begins . . . . now.  All the things that have been working against other teams in other venues suddenly won’t be working so well against the Seahawks in Seattle.

Florio’s pick:  Seahawks 27, Cowboys 13.

Giants at Eagles

MDS’s take: This is the kind of game the Giants need to win if they’re going to win the NFC East. It’s also the kind of game the Eagles need Nick Foles and LeSean McCoy to play well in, after a shaky start to the season. I like Philly’s offense to have a much better game this week.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 35, Giants 24.

Florio’s take:  The Giants have gotten better as the season has unfolded, and the Eagles have gotten worse.  Yet somehow the Eagles keep winning far more often than not.  With the new New York offense firing on all cylinders, it’s time for that to change — and for the NFC East to be thrust into an unexpected three-team race.

Florio’s pick:  Giants 27, Eagles 23.

49ers at Rams

MDS’s take: The Rams are getting far better play from quarterback Austin Davis than anyone could have expected. Unfortunately, they’re also getting far worse play from their defense than anyone could have expected. The 49ers’ offense should put up big numbers.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 34, Rams 20.

Florio’s take:  Yes, the Rams have played the 49ers tough in the past.  Yes, the Rams showed fight in a stirring comeback attempt at Philly.  No, that doesn’t persuade me that the Rams will be able to hold off a 49ers team that has been using the various reports about the future of Jim Harbaugh as a source of motivation and focus.

Florio’s pick:  49ers 24, Rams 15.

71 responses to “PFT’s Week Six picks

  1. Bears / Falcons is an interesting matchup of two teams who have not translated their considerable talent to wins on the field. One of those teams is going to pull it together on Sunday and stay in contention… the other is in deep trouble.

  2. The Patriots – Bills game will depend on whether the Patriots offensive line can protect Brady. You’ll know the outcome in the first quarter.

  3. I think Houston wins as The Wattinator will take on the Colts without their 2 starting offensive guards. Jacksonville will get their 1st win against Whisenpunt and the Titans, Carolina will make it close against Cincy, Dolphins in an upset as they’re 10-3 lifetime against the Packers, Dallas will be forced to throw against Seattle, Rams have a brutal stretch and will definitely need to win and I feel they’ll win in an upset

  4. Cleveland needs to make a statement this week against Pittsburgh. The offense is capable but the defense is suspect.

    Win at home against a Steeler team that has been dominant and the Factory of Sadness may be closing up shop.

    The Steelers stole one late in the season opener.

    In the end Browns win a thriller 31-30.

  5. Patriots are 1-2 on the road, they play a much (statistically) better defense in Buffalo, and the announcement of Terry and Kim taking over will have the Ralph rocking similar to the home opener. Kyle Williams loves him some Tom Brady, and after the showing Marcell put on in Detroit, will probably be a long day for the 37 year old. Buffalo wins, 27-20.

  6. Cowboys will play keep away with the Seahawks and run it a ton. Dez will burn Sherman and he’ll disappear post game again. Will it be enough? Probably not but it won’t be the blowout Seattle fans expect.

  7. No resepct for the Bills, too much respect for the Browns, lack of respect for the Bengals, lack of respect for the Colts.

    Yep, this weeks picks are in.

  8. Why are both of you picking the Ravens, they aren’t returning anywhere. Jump Ball will not be so great…Tampa Bay 20 and Baltimore 17.

  9. Keys to the Game:

    Falcons O with Ryan will eat apart the Bears secondary all day; trouble with Oline if Bears decide to Blitz

    Bears O with Cutler will show promise but the Bears D will fall flat with a high school performance

    Special Teams – Falcons take this one

    Home Team by 3 – Falcons 34 Bears 31

  10. Sadly… few believe the Lions can outscore the Vikings… even with a FAR superior cast of Offensive talent… and probably spotting them another Defensive score in this one.

    That’s on Stafford. Maximize your options Matt. Get it done.

    Bridgewater will make a couple major mistakes and the D needs to help the O take advantage of them. Take it back for a TD… and avoid another O sputter.

  11. At the end of the season, the Pittsburgh Steelers will have the #2 pick because of games like the one against Cleveland.

    Cleveland 30, Pittsburgh 28

  12. I think Philly and NYG will be a major shoot out.
    Going to throw some crazy predictions based on that.

    Eagles will go up early forcing Eli to go to the passing game

    Foles will have 350 yards passing 5 TDs
    Eagles D with a TD.
    Eli will throw for 435 yards and 3 TDs
    Andre Williams will have 2 Rushing TDs (probably goal-line)
    Each team will have 1 fumble recovery and 2 INTs.
    McCoy will not get to 100 yards again.

    Eagles win 45-41.

  13. Big emotional week for the Bills, and congrats to the team and their fans for knowing they’ll be in Buffalo long term. I think and hope my Pats still win, but it’s not personal.

  14. Believe Browns will make a statement like others have said and based on other home games including the one in Nashville, Dawg Pounders will be a major factor. Suspect Pettine and staff have been sticking to script since preseason and will be rolling out a set of D packages and style not displayed in their first 4 games.
    This may turn into the game of the week.

    Go Browns!

  15. Bills fans were out in full force first 2 weeks of season then disappeared and now they are back after beating a Detroit team without Reggie Bush and Calvin Johnson because of 3 missed field goals. Want to know why no one is giving you “the credit you deserve”? Maybe its because you have not seen the playoffs in 15 years. Your the same old lousy bills team that is completely irrelevant in the AFC

  16. If the Bears get hammered again, the long knives will be out in Chicago for Tressman and Mel Tucker.

  17. I think they’ll be close, but I agree with you on the Falcons over the Bears and the Browns over the Steelers.

    The one game I don’t think will be close? Seattle will win big over the Cowboys. The Cowboys are not a 4-1 team. The Seahawks will shut down the run and make Romo beat them with his arm, and we all know how that will turn out.

  18. Lotta love for Bortles over Locker huh? How many turnovers does Bortles have this year? 8? And he’s only played in 2.5 games? Lol. Not saying Locker is a world-beater, or that he’s even gonna play. But Bortles has a long way to go before we deem him better than anybody.

  19. When it comes to Thursday night, the only team not to blow out the visiting team was the Redskins, who also is the only home team to lose on Thursday night, being blown out BY the visiting team. I expect that trend to stay because it’s looking like both of the OGs for the Indy team are going to be backups, which possibly means that Luck will be running for his life a lot, especially if one of the fill-ins is A Q Shipley, who the Ravens used last year as a guard to fill in when Osemele was out and it proved to be a swinging gate position with Shipley in there. He has OK size and power as a center, but at guard, he’s easily overwhelmed.

  20. Patriots will destroy Buffalo and Kyle Orton. If Belichick gets a chance to run it up on Spikes, he will. Patriots 35-13.

  21. I think the bills are better than the patriots .. If the bills had a remotely competent QB they would easily be a playoff team.. And I’m a dolfan.. I think they beat the pats this week

  22. @Eagles fans – one thing we can agree on…. this is the game of the week. The rest of these gross games (jax-tenn / GB-Mia) don’t matter at all, am I right?

    As for the game…you are all about to suffer what we went through for the DJax years. A player that can flip the game at any second and a player that makes you bite your nails for every offensive drive we’re on. That player is one Odell Beckham, Jr. He is the first “nuclear weapon” we’ve ever had. This will be the single player who changes this rivalry for the next 5 years. If you can’t figure him out, you’re in trouble.

    This is the game where Philly fans go, “oh crap, the Giants finally have an offensive player that’s actually scary.” 7 catches 120 yds 2tds in prime time. Animal.

  23. Pats looked great at home playing the Bengals but the Bills at home will be much tougher to beat. Bills 24 Pats 17

  24. I have not seen the Bills give up fighting in any game this year. 2 road come backs shows this team has heart. Football is football and anything can happen but I’m loving me some Bills.

  25. Dallas will win this game if they have even a decent D on the field. Dez will embarrass dick sherman. So will Williams and Murray will steamroll him on a long run.

  26. Dolphins get back Pouncey and Jones, both pro bowl players. And they will be mixing Moreno back in. If Tannehill plays like he did in London the Phins will win.

  27. Has anyone checked out Clevelands schedule after Sunday? If they win at home against the Steelers they probably go 4-0 in October and are probably fighting for a playoff spot when Josh Gordon comes back.

    who would have thought?

  28. You know who isn’t as good as they think?

    PHI 31 – NYG 10

    and you know who isn’t as bad as everyone else thinks…

    NYJ 27 – DEN 24

  29. I always find some reason to be nervous about a Packer game. The fact that Miami had a bye doesn’t bother me too much, because GB was off for an extra three days.
    But the heat in Florida could be a problem and, and Philbin will really want to take this one, so it could be a tough game. Think the Pack still gets it done though. The defense is starting to create turnovers.

  30. Sorry Browns fans, but the Jags wanted to play a similar role in beating the Steelers last week. All of the Steelers’ play calling was conservative last week, except for Ben taking calculated risks throwing to AB in the end zone. Steelers’ defense improved last week (and continues to get better, since our new personnel are still getting accustomed to our style of defense). Also, our special teams played exceptionally poorly at Jacksonville. Don’t expect it to continue.

    Le’Veon Bell and LeGarette Blount will gash the Browns’ 31st ranked run defense. Brian Hoyer, skilled as he is, won’t get much of a chance. Steelers win, 27-17.

  31. Spikes will try to kill any Patriot that touches the ball or just gets in his way. The Bills don’t have to worry about the score getting run up on them, the pats have to worry about scoring. Remember the Miami, Oakland and KC games? Beating Cincy doesn’t make them the pats of yesteryear. Besides, they almost always struggle with the Bills.

  32. It amazes me that if a Seattle or New England team won a game like the Bills did against Detroit it would be said good teams find a way to win lol but since it was the Bills they should have lost. KC dismantled New England 2 weeks ago, outplaying them in every facet of the game so I guess New England stinks but they come back and dismantle a good Cincy team so now they are great…New England may very well win but their chances are just as good to lose. Remember no team is as good as it looked one week as well as they aren’t as bad as they looked in another. This is the NFL and I have to say the momentum is on Buffalo’s side this week. Go Bills!!!!!

  33. @leninthebuff

    It shouldn’t amaze you. Is all everybody talks about now is “Tom Bradys back!”, well, yeah when you rush for 200+ your QB better look good, his job is incredibly easy at that point. The Bills will get to Tom Brady in this game. They will not have the success they did Sunday running the ball. The secondary depth the Bills have now allows them to match up better with the TE’s. Sammy Watkins is the “X” factor. I’ve heard how Revis will shadow him all game, but I honestly don’t think Revis can run with Sammy, and Woods and Big Mike will take advantage of that now that they have a QB that can get the ball in their catch radius. I’m sticking to my guns, Buffalo 27, NE 20. Spikes just needs to keep his cool and no dumb penalties.

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