PFT’s Week Nine picks


Last week was a good week.  For me.  Not for MDS.

We disagreed on two games, and my faith in the Steelers and Saints finally paid off.

So that five-game lead MDS enjoyed has shrinked/shrunk/shrunken/whatever to three.  And we disagree on three games this week.  They also happen to be the biggest three games of the week.

Last week, I went 10-5 and MDS finished 8-7.  For the year, he’s now at 78-43 (64.4 percent) and I’m at 75-46 (61.9 percent).

Saints at Panthers

MDS’s take: Someone has to win the NFC South, and it will probably be this game’s winners, who will be the only team in the division with a .500 record. I think the Saints’ offense will move the ball well in Carolina and make a big statement that New Orleans is the team to beat in the South.

MDS’s pick: Saints 31, Panthers 17.

Florio’s take:  The Saints can’t lose at home, can’t win on the road.  This could be the moment where the latter trend ends (at least for now), with New Orleans chasing a big win over the Packers with a trip to face a so-so team with an offensive line rattled by injuries.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 27, Panthers 23.

Jaguars at Bengals

MDS’s take: Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles just makes far too many mistakes. He’s not ready, and the Jaguars’ coaches know he’s not ready, but they felt they had no choice but to play him because Chad Henne got off to such a bad start this year. Look for Bortles to continue to struggle and the Jaguars to continue to lose.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 30, Jaguars 10.

Florio’s take:  A.J. Green is back, a week after the Bengals found a way to win without him.  It will be even easier against a team with only one win.

Florio’s pick:  Bengals 27, Jaguars 10.

Buccaneers at Browns

MDS’s take: The Browns may not be as good as their 4-3 record suggests, but the Bucs are every bit as bad as their 1-6 record suggests. Cleveland will get to five wins at the halfway point, which represents major progress considering the mess new coach Mike Pettine inherited.

MDS’s pick: Browns 22, Buccaneers 17.

Florio’s take:  The Browns avoided a second-straight loss to a winless team.  They now have to guard against a loss to a one-win team.  It won’t be easy, but the Browns are starting to learn how to win the games they’re supposed to.

Florio’s pick:  Browns 24, Buccaneers 16.

Cardinals at Cowboys

MDS’s take: I wish I knew for sure when picking this game whether or not Tony Romo will play, but even if Romo can’t play I lean toward the Cowboys controlling things offensively thanks to their great offensive line and MVP candidate DeMarco Murray.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 21, Cardinals 20.

Florio’s take:  The Cardinals haven’t gotten nearly the respect they deserve.  That ends here.  Despite the injuries, the suspension, the defections, and the Super Bowl hosting jinx, the Cardinals keep winning.  With or without Tony Romo, the Cardinals will be ready to do something they haven’t done since the 1998 playoffs — outscore the Cowboys in Dallas.

Florio’s pick:  Cardinals 21, Cowboys 17.

Eagles at Texans

MDS’s take: Interceptions are piling up for Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, which is a major concern in Philadelphia considering that the Texans have a strong pass defense. But I’m not sold on the Texans’ offense putting many points on the board, and I’ll pick the Eagles to win a close, low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 14, Texans 13.

Florio’s take:  The Philly offensive line is getting a little healthier, just in time for J.J. Watt and company.  After nearly toppling the Cardinals in Arizona, the Eagles go to Houston and drag the Texans under .500, where based on the overall talent of the team they belong.

Florio’s pick:  Eagles 27, Texans 17.

Jets at Chiefs

MDS’s take: At this point I’m not sure that it much matters whether Michael Vick or Geno Smith is the Jets’ starter. The Jets aren’t going to win with either quarterback, especially on the road against a solid team like the Chiefs.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 31, Jets 20.

Florio’s take:  How did the Chiefs lose the Titans in Week One?  Eventually, we also may be asking how the Jets beat the Raiders that same day.

Florio’s pick:  Chiefs 30, Jets 13.

Chargers at Dolphins

MDS’s take: The Dolphins’ defense is a lot better than most people realize, but I still like Philip Rivers to play well enough to earn a hard-fought road win in a game that will have significant implications for the AFC wild card race.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 21, Dolphins 20.

Florio’s take:  The Chargers are due to win.  The Dolphins are due to lose.  Sometimes, it’s just that easy.

Florio’s pick:  Chargers 28, Dolphins 21.

Washington at Vikings

MDS’s take: Neither of these teams is very good, but both of them are coming off overtime wins and will be motivated to show that they’re not dead yet in the NFC playoff race. I’m going with the Vikings, who are starting to play defense the way Mike Zimmer wants to see.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 17, Washington 7.

Florio’s take:  RGIII returns, but is that a good thing?  He looked mediocre before dislocating his ankle, and now he’s rusty.  He’ll also be pressing to make fans forget about a couple of critical wins from Colt McCoy.  Meanwhile, the Vikings have some winnable games down the stretch; if they can get to 4-5, things can get interesting in December.

Florio’s pick:  Vikings 20, Washington 17.

Rams at 49ers

MDS’s take: Looking ahead at the 49ers’ schedule, their path to the playoffs is not an easy one. These are the games the 49ers need to win if they’re going to be a playoff team. They’ll win this one.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 24, Rams 20.

Florio’s take:  The 49ers are rested and motivated to keep up with the Cardinals, who are close to running away with the NFC West.  The Rams won’t be pushovers, but San Fran needs this one too badly to blow it.

Florio’s pick:  49ers 27, Rams 20.

Broncos at Patriots

MDS’s take: The Patriots have really turned things around recently and are probably the second-best team in the AFC right now. Unfortunately, the best team in the AFC is coming to town. Denver’s offense will put up big numbers and win more easily than most people are expecting.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 34, Patriots 20.

Florio’s take:  In fifteen prior Brady-Manning contests, the home team is 10-5.  The Broncos would win easily in Denver.  The Pats find a way to prevail in Foxboro.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 27, Broncos 24.

Raiders at Seahawks

MDS’s take: I still think there are some questions about the Seahawks on both sides of the ball, but they’ll cruise to an easy win at home over the worst team in the league.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 33, Raiders 20.

Florio’s take:  Nothing helps a dysfunctional team get back on track than facing a way more dysfunctional opponent.

Florio’s pick:  Seahawks 34, Raiders 13.

Ravens at Steelers

MDS’s take: This game will be closer than their Week Two meeting, but the Ravens will complete the season sweep of the Steelers.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 24, Steelers 17.

Florio’s take:  The Steelers cap a three-game home stand with a win that keeps them very much alive for the division title.  A loss would put them, as a practical matter, three games behind the Ravens with seven to play.

Florio’s pick:  Steelers 13, Ravens 10.

Colts at Giants

MDS’s take: Ahmad Bradshaw returns to face his old team and should have a big game against a Giants run defense that hasn’t been particularly good this year. The Colts will bounce back from last week’s ugly loss.

MDS’s pick: Colts 30, Giants 20.

Florio’s take:  The Giants fully intend to make a run.  It’ll have to wait at least a week.  After giving up 51 in Pittsburgh, the Colts will be ready to go back to New York (sort of) 56 years after the greatest game ever played and edge the Giants, again.

Florio’s pick:  Colts 23, Giants 17.

66 responses to “PFT’s Week Nine picks

  1. Florio…still hanging on to that “Seahawks are dysfunctional” garbage. Print that again in two weeks after two more wins and a 6-3 record please.

  2. Pretty decent picks. Tho I think the Pats will surprise and if the Skins play like half the team they did Monday they win. RG3 doesn’t have to win games. Their O is pretty stacked. If Kirk weren’t a turnover machine they would have 2 more wins already. Rg3 manages the game like colt did and playmakers make plays. Skins win (yes I’m a biased skins fan but I also know the team inside and out. They really should win)

  3. Without factoring in the points these pick % ‘s are below 65%. That’s a failing grade….

  4. As a Patriots fan I could be persuaded to believe both predictions here. Denver look very, very good. I don’t worry so much about their offense, but I worry about their defense. If they stop the run completely, as they have done to other teams, and they get to Brady on the pass rush, which they have done to other teams, then the Patriots could look more like they did against KC then they did against Chicago.

    Denver’s offense is great, but the Patriots have the secondary that can slow them down a bit. Not completely, but enough to keep the score in the 20’s if there aren’t any turn overs.

    The other side of it is that Manning and Brady almost always play close games. Even when the Patriots were dominant in 2007 they still played a close game against Manning. In 2009 the Patriots probably didn’t belong on the same field, and they still played a close game.

    The Patriots can definitely win if they can figure out the Denver defense enough to get 30 points.

    Of course, it could be a blow out either way if there are a bunch of turn overs.

    Going to be exciting!

  5. I am surprised that both of you missed the wrinkle with the Washington @ Minnesota game that both coaches should be pretty familiar with the other’s system since they were coaching teammates for the previous three years.

  6. Houston’s pass defense is NOT good… not sure what you’re looking at here.

    31st in net passing yards.
    23rd is opponents’ pass completion percentage (Eagles are #1 here).
    26th (tied with the Eagles) in most TD passes allowed-15.

    Total defense:
    17th in yards against per game.
    17th in points allowed per game.

  7. 9ers may have some good teams left on the schedule but look at the last 6 games. 4 are at home, which never hurts, and the other 2 are at Oakland which is almost a home game as there should be no travel time aside from a short bus ride and at Seattle which is obviously the toughest game but it’s only a 2hr flight and Seattle doesn’t look quite as invincible as they did last year. Combine those games with the potential return of half the starting all-pro defense and who knows….just sayin’

  8. If rg3’s 78% completion and 96.7% qbr are mediocre, then what is bridgewaters 60% and 71%? If you wanted to say both teams are to erratic to predict with confidence and the vikes are at home so I give them the nod then fine. To imply that qb play will be the deciding factor is rediculous.

  9. the donkeys are very beatable. you can pass on them all day long. manning has looked great the past few games but he will revert back to average like his first 4 games.
    Pats will run away with this one.

  10. Broncos-Pats is one of those games where simply going by match-ups, one would expect the Broncos to win.

    However, Belichick and the Pats have had an uncanny knack for coming up with gameplans, both on offense and defense, that tend to neutralize the kind of match-up advantage the Broncos have.

    Thus, it would not surprise me at all if the Pats were to win this game.

  11. LOL, you picked the Ravens over the Steelers? Really? We hope everyone tunes in on Sunday night (only on NBC). We won’t just beat the Ravens, we will put them on their knees. We will humiliate them. This will be fun.

  12. the jets are so bad, they shouldn’t predict the score of the game, they should predict the number of turnovers.

    i’ma say the over/under is five this week. which, if it holds, would actually be an IMPROVEMENT over last week….

  13. Not a Panthers fan at all but I would take them at home against the Saints on the road. The Saints are a streaky team this year. But you are right that one of these two teams will be the default winner of the NFCS. Atlanta and Tampa will battle it out for last for the rest of the season.

  14. For 8 weeks nobody but die hard Oakland fans cared if the Raiders won or lost, but put them up against the Seahawks, and suddenly everybody wants them to win.

    Says a lot about what the average fan thinks about the Seahawks, doesn’t it?

  15. I mean…I’m a Bengals fan, and I’m more excited that the Ravens and Steelers are gunna beat the hell out of each other this weekend.

    While we better be able to do what Cleveland couldn’t.

  16. At a time when the Cowboys were looking unstoppable, Jerry Jones decided he had seen enough success and just had to intervene as much as humanly possible toward the end of the Cowboys’ humiliating loss to the feckless Reskins.

    This trend will continue when the Cowboys get stomped by the Cardinals this week.

    Thanks a lot Jerrah!


  17. I can’t wait to visit this site in 18 days and get MDS’s take on a 5-5 Redskins team. Start drafting the off-handed remarks and subtle digs that you will inevitably take at a team on a 4 game winning streak.

    By no means, do I believe the Redskins will make the playoffs, but they’ll go to Minnesota and win, soak up their bye week, and then have the pleasure of playing a home game against a less-than-talented Bucs team. The Redskins won’t win because of RGMe, they will win in spite of him. If Jay Gruden is the coach I believe he is, he’ll run 25-30% read-option against the Vikings, and, if nothing else, Alfred Morris will be afforded some very nice (and open) running lanes.

    No matter who the QB of this team is there is always receivers running WIDE open. The 3 WRs and TE collection the Redskins have put together would make any QB look good – the skill position players on the offense are all (save for Roberts) Pro Bowl players – and a defensive performance such as the one on MNF always carry over. Look for the defense to confuse and chase down Bridgewater and turn him over a couple times. The Vikings defense is for real and could easily knock RGMe outta the game, but would that be such a bad (good) outcome for the Redskins (Vikings)? I don’t think so. The Redskins win this game in spite of RGMe, not because of him.

    One thing: Jay Gruden will have ZERO reservations about pulling RGMe at halftime for McCoy. If the Redskins offense is sputtering and out of rhythm, be ready for #16 to be behind center and pull out the win.

  18. There are so many bandwagon bronco fans. It is so god awful. I hope we dont lose to the ravens obviously, but i just do not trust our defense enough to stop Flacco from bombing it all over our secondary. Of course we will not have a game like last week, but im just hoping to stay hot enough to outscore them.

  19. All credibility goes out the window when a site claiming to know anything about football unanimously picks the Vikings to beat any team that isn’t comprised of high schoolers.

  20. The Cards are close to running away with the NFC West? They are 2 games up and still have the play the Seahawks twice and the Niners in Santa Clara. Also, the Niners are getting healthy and are going to get better as the season goes on. I think the Cards are in trouble.

  21. Pats! all the way.Last time the two teams played at
    Foxboro the Pats spotted them 24Pts and still won.

  22. Do it against the spread than some of us might care. Otherwise you are the equivalent of the woman in the weekly pool at some office who is making her pick based off of team colors and who has the better mascot

  23. Funny how the 9er fans are a little defensive about their team being behind 2 games. Don’t forget you lost against a back up QB. So bring your drunk driving, bomb threat making boys back and the Cards will beat you in your own home field. Please refrain from beating your fellow fans up in the bathroom though, no one likes to see that.

  24. Steelers will dominate so much Sunday night that even Mean Joe Greene gets a sack from the sidelines.

  25. Not at all surprised by the homer picking the pats. He would have probably picked the Pats if they were at Denver too. Denver’s entire team is better than NE. The only way the Broncos lose is due to self-inflicted wounds.

  26. Fan since day 1? You’ve gone through many blah 7-9 and 8-8 seasons, haven’t you? Since you’re so used to it, expect it happen again this year.

  27. Rams aren’t leaving St. Louis. Don’t listen to the national media.

  28. I am a huge Bronco fan, and I can safely say that anyone assuming this is going to be a blowout, or even a guaranteed win by the Broncos is doing exactly what the word assume says when broken down…”making an a@@ of u and me.” Last years Broncos team had a 24 point lead and blew the game. Brady can be like a pit bull…you back him into a corner and he will attack unmercifully to claw out. I can honestly say that NE is probably my least favorite professional sports team by far, but this will not be a cakewalk by any stretch for the Broncos. I am going to enjoy another epic battle between two of the sports greatest ever…I just hope Manning can get the best of it this time. Enjoy everyone!!!!!

  29. Florio’s take: The Chargers are due to win. The Dolphins are due to lose. Sometimes, it’s just that easy.

    Or not.

    The Chargers beat, Seattle, Buffalo, Jax, jets, and Oakland, (11-27). Miami beat NE, Oak Chi, jax (10-21). Though there are similar opponents, San Diego’s five game win streak was on the backs of 3 of the worst teams in the league. Add to that the games in Miami at 10am PT, and their defense is as hot as Miami in the afternoon.

    The Chargers have not claimed a straight-up victory in Miami since a 41-38 OT classic in 1981. The Bolts appear to be heading in the wrong direction as they have failed to cover their last three games, losing two of them outright. On the other hand, the Dolphins have managed to win three of their last four contests. San Diego has major injury concerns on the defensive side of the ball, especially in the secondary. Even if Flowers, Verrett and Te’o play their snaps and overall effectiveness are sure to be limited.

    The Dolphins are a 1.5 point home underdog, and home underdogs cover the spread more than half the time.

  30. The Broncos would win easily in Denver.

    Probably right. That first seed this year is going to be important. Somebody has to get Denver out of Denver to beat them.

  31. I’m starting to think that Florio and company really don’t know much about the NFL or simply they don’t give a damn.

    “Florio’s take: The Chargers are due to win. The Dolphins are due to lose. Sometimes, it’s just that easy.”

    The hell kind of pick analysis is this? I’ve seen high schoolers at a JV team have more input in predicting NFL games then this site.

    Dolphins are still inconsistent. Their four wins are against teams that are a combined 10-21. Their three losses have come against teams that are 15-9. Also, not to mention the fact that they should have beaten the Packers if Philbin didn’t try and get cute going for it on 4th down late in the 2nd quarter of that game. Bottom line it comes down to the qb’s in this game…and would you rather have Rivers at home coming off a bad loss vs the best team in the NFL or Tannehill who beat a 1-7 Jaguars team?

    SD 27 Miami 10.

    That’s how you analyze games, not give a 17 word vague statement on why you have SD winning.

  32. Looking forward to a close contest that ends with a red-face Manning gesturing angrily at a teammate while Wilfork does a jiggle dance. So many happy memories.

  33. This is where the Steelers begin talking about how good they are going to be next year after having an earlier draft pick than the Ravens….


  34. Peyton Manning in November = never a sure thing.

    Dude folds like a chair when the leaves start changing colors, straight crumbles when it gets real cold. The Donkey’s peaked too soon, IMO.

  35. razzledazzle427 says:
    Oct 31, 2014 1:31 PM
    I’m starting to think that Florio and company really don’t know much about the NFL or simply they don’t give a damn.

    “Florio’s take: The Chargers are due to win. The Dolphins are due to lose. Sometimes, it’s just that easy.”

    The hell kind of pick analysis is this? I’ve seen high schoolers at a JV team have more input in predicting NFL games then this site.

    Dolphins are still inconsistent. Their four wins are against teams that are a combined 10-21. Their three losses have come against teams that are 15-9. Also, not to mention the fact that they should have beaten the Packers if Philbin didn’t try and get cute going for it on 4th down late in the 2nd quarter of that game. Bottom line it comes down to the qb’s in this game…and would you rather have Rivers at home coming off a bad loss vs the best team in the NFL or Tannehill who beat a 1-7 Jaguars team?

    SD 27 Miami 10.

    That’s how you analyze games, not give a 17 word vague statement on why you have SD winning.

    Brilliant analysis. How did that game turn out again?

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