Last week, MDS and I disagreed on a grand total of none games. This week, we’ve got some disagreements.
We’ve got five of them. Which means that we won’t be tied next week, unless there’s a tie in one of those five games.
The full slate of picks (with none of us predicting a tie) appears below.
Last week, we both guessed right on 10 of 13 games. For the year, we’re at 96-51 (65.3 percent).
Bills at Dolphins
MDS’s take: Both of these teams suffered tough losses on Sunday and will have to shake it off on a short work week for a big game Thursday. The loser of this one is just about out of the AFC playoff race, but the winner is still alive. I think the Dolphins, playing at home, will take this one.
MDS’s pick: Dolphins 24, Bills 21.
Florio’s take: The Bills have been handling the Dolphins with relative ease when their offensive line wasn’t a mess. Miami’s offensive line currently is a mess. Case closed.
Florio’s pick: Bills 24, Dolphins 14.
Falcons at Panthers
MDS’s take: It says something about how bad the NFC South is that the winner of this game between the 3-6 Falcons and the 3-6-1 Panthers will be right in the thick of the division title race with the Saints. I’m going with the Panthers.
MDS’s pick: Panthers 24, Falcons 17.
Florio’s take: The Falcons are mediocre and moving in the right direction. The Panthers are mediocre and moving in the wrong direction. Cam Newton is injured unless he isn’t. Carolina’s offensive line is offensive. Advantage Atlanta.
Florio’s pick: Falcons 27, Panthers 16.
Vikings at Bears
MDS’s take: The Vikings are 4-0 against teams with losing records and 0-5 against teams with winning records. That should mean they’ll beat the Bears, but I have a funny feeling that Chicago’s offense is going to bounce back from the debacle in Green Bay and put a lot of points on the board.
MDS’s pick: Bears 31, Vikings 17.
Florio’s take: The Bears, reeling after a pair of blowout losses, return home for the first time in four weeks to a throng of fans ready to serenade them with boos or worse if they fall behind a Vikings team that doesn’t have a Tom Brady or an Aaron Rodgers to run up the score early. If the Bears can’t respond to the withering criticism and relentless scrutiny with a victory over a sub-.500 team, everyone in the organization should be terminated. And fired.
Florio’s pick: Bears 24, Vikings 20.
Texans at Browns
MDS’s take: It’s been many years since we’ve been able to say this, but the Browns are a legitimately good team. I’m not ready to pick them to win the AFC North just yet, but they’re at least going to be in the hunt through December, and they’ll cruise to an easy win over the Texans.
MDS’s pick: Browns 24, Texans 10.
Florio’s take: It’s the Battle of Brady Backups, with Brian Hoyer and the Browns facing Ryan Mallett and the Texans. There’s also a Pats-Jets vibe to this one, with a former Belichick assistant facing a former Rex lieutenant. It would be a very Browns thing for Cleveland to blow it after a 21-point win over a division rival — and the Browns likely would do just that, if the game were in Houston.
Florio’s pick: Browns 17, Texans 13.
Seahawks at Chiefs
MDS’s take: To me, this is the hardest game of the week to pick. The Seahawks seem like they’ve shaken off their struggles of a few weeks ago and are playing at close to the level they played at last year. But the Chiefs have won their last three home games by scores of 41-14, 34-7 and 24-10. It’s tough to go to Kansas City and win, but I say the Seahawks can do it.
MDS’s pick: Seahawks 21, Chiefs 20.
Florio’s take: It’s another AFC West reunion game, in a series the Chiefs lead 32-18. Edge goes to the home team, especially since the home team has a defense that could be able to bottle up Marshawn Lynch and chase down Russell Wilson.
Florio’s pick: Chiefs 19, Seahawks 13.
Bengals at Saints
MDS’s take: Both of these teams have been somewhat disappointing, but the Bengals on the road are more disappointing than the Saints at home. I’ll go with the home team.
MDS’s pick: Saints 30, Bengals 20.
Florio’s take: Reeling from a rare home loss, the Saints need to keep distance between themselves and the rest of the none-of-the-above NFC South. Andy Dalton 2.0 could be exactly what the Saints need.
Florio’s pick: Saints 31, Bengals 21.
49ers at Giants
MDS’s take: The 49ers look like a team making a push for the playoffs, while the Giants look like a team just playing out the string. San Francisco should win this one handily.
MDS’s pick: 49ers 28, Giants 13.
Florio’s take: It’s the rematch of a classic NFC title game from 2011. This one won’t be quite the same. Because the Giants stink.
Florio’s pick: 49ers 24, Giants 13.
Broncos at Rams
MDS’s take: The Rams have played competitive football against good teams recently, and they might do so again against the Broncos. But there’s a difference between being competitive and winning.
MDS’s pick: Broncos 23, Rams 20.
Florio’s take: Austin Davis, Kellen Clemens, Sam Bradford, Kurt Warner, Jim Everett, Roman Gabriel, Warren Beatty in Heaven Can Wait. None would be a match for Peyton F. Manning.
Florio’s pick: Broncos 35, Rams 20.
Buccaneers at Washington
MDS’s take: I wouldn’t pick Lovie Smith’s guys to beat anyone right now. Washington isn’t very good, but Tampa Bay is a lot worse.
MDS’s pick: Washington 28, Buccaneers 14.
Florio’s take: Two weeks is more than enough time to get ready for a one-win team. Even for Washington.
Florio’s pick: Washington 27, Buccaneers 20.
Raiders at Chargers
MDS’s take: I don’t think the Raiders are going to go 0-16, but they’re not going to win at San Diego, where the Chargers will look fresh coming off a bye week and heading into a stretch of the schedule that will determine whether they can reach the playoffs.
MDS’s pick: Chargers 31, Raiders 13.
Florio’s take: Three straight losses have San Diego’s playoff chances on the ropes. The Raiders were punched through weeks ago.
Florio’s pick: Chargers 35, Raiders 17.
Lions at Cardinals
MDS’s take: If Carson Palmer were playing, I’d take the Cardinals. With Drew Stanton? It’s a tough choice, but I think the Lions’ defense is going to apply a lot of pressure on Stanton and make it tough for him to read through his progressions. Stanton will make some plays with his legs, but not enough plays to win.
MDS’s pick: Lions 17, Cardinals 16.
Florio’s take: When the schedule came out in April, who would have envisioned Detroit at Arizona being one of the top game of the month of November? With the Lions at 7-2 and the Cardinals at 8-1, it’s a game with major implications for the NFC playoff tree. Calvin Johnson has run roughshod over the Cardinals in each of the last two years — and Arizona has won both games. Sure, these aren’t the Lions of 2012 and 2013. But these aren’t the Cardinals of those two seasons, either.
Florio’s pick: Cardinals 23, Lions 20.
Eagles at Packers
MDS’s take: There’s a crowded field of teams jockeying for position in the NFC playoff race, and the loser of this game will have its back against the wall. I think Aaron Rodgers can have a big game against the Eagles’ defense, and Green Bay will win.
MDS’s pick: Packers 34, Eagles 20.
Florio’s take: The Eagles looked great on Monday night. But that was at home against the Panthers. This will be on the road against the Packers, who despite having a bad defense have an offense good enough to outscore Mark Sanchez and company.
Florio’s pick: Packers 27, Eagles 20.
Patriots at Colts
MDS’s take: These teams are more or less even, both playing very well on offense with great quarterbacks, both just so-so on defense, both strong on special teams. When it’s even, I go with the home team.
MDS’s pick: Colts 24, Patriots 21.
Florio’s take: Give Bill Belichick two weeks to prepare, and he’ll beat anyone. Anyone not named Eli Manning.
Florio’s pick: Patriots 27, Colts 24.
Steelers at Titans
MDS’s take: The Steelers might be the most unpredictable team in the NFL. They can blow out the Colts and Ravens, but they can also lose to the Buccaneers and Jets. I’ll take a guess that they won’t play as badly on Monday night as they did last week against the Jets.
MDS’s pick: Steelers 17, Titans 14.
Florio’s take: The Steelers should win easily. Then again, they should have won easily last Sunday against the Jets. A loss at Tennessee could be fatal to Pittsburgh’s playoff chances, especially with everyone else in the division over .500.
Florio’s pick: Steelers 27, Titans 17.