Match play, it’s 2-0. Stroke play, I’m up two. Either way, we both stunk last week.
An upside-down Week Two landed me at 8-8 for the week, and MDS at 7-9. That puts us year-to-date at 19-13 and 17-15, respectively. Which stinks.
(The only thing that didn’t stink? In the one game where we disagreed, I picked the Falcons and for the first time in six years of doing this I guessed the exact score. Which I’ve now learned results in no spontaneous cannons of confetti or cash.)
We’ll try to un-stink starting tonight and continuing through Monday, with 16 picks featuring a trio of disagreements. All of the selections appear below.
For amusement purposes only. Because it’s amusing when we’re as wrong as we are right.
Washington at Giants
MDS’s take: The NFC East is wide open, and the winners of this game will have every reason to think they’re right in the thick of the divisional race. I think the Giants will finally figure out how to hold a fourth-quarter lead and win this one.
MDS’s pick: Giants 20, Washington 17.
Florio’s take: The Giants have shown that they can build a lead. They just can’t hold a lead. With a division rival coming to town, failing to hold a lead will lay the foundation for once again failing to make the playoffs.
Florio’s pick: Giants 27, Washington 20.
Bengals at Ravens
MDS’s take: Hard to believe the Ravens, a perennial playoff team, could start the season 0-3. But I like the way the Bengals are playing on both sides of the ball, and I think they’re going to make a statement in Baltimore.
MDS’s pick: Bengals 24, Ravens 17.
Florio’s take: When coach John Harbaugh called the Bengals the best team in the league, the intended audience was the Ravens, who were swept by Cincinnati a year ago.
Florio’s pick: Ravens 30, Bengals 26.
Saints at Panthers
MDS’s take: The Panthers’ defense is playing great and the Saints’ offense is a mess with an injured Drew Brees. New Orleans won’t put many points on the board.
MDS’s pick: Panthers 20, Saints 7.
Florio’s take: Brees or no Brees, the Saints are struggling. And the Panthers have an early opportunity to make the NFC South a three-team race, at most.
Florio’s pick: Panthers 24, Saints 18.
Raiders at Browns
MDS’s take: The return of Josh McCown deprives us of what would have been an interesting second-year quarterback battle between Derek Carr and Johnny Manziel. But while Manziel makes things more interesting, McCown is the more steady player, and he’ll do enough to help the Browns top the Raiders.
MDS’s pick: Browns 23, Raiders 20.
Florio’s take: Josh McCown or Johnny Manziel, it may not matter. The Raiders have been in a funk for the past few years when traveling out of California, and the Browns seem to have the horses to move to 2-1 and right into the thick of things in the AFC North, at least for now.
Florio’s pick: Browns 23, Raiders 14.
Falcons at Cowboys
MDS’s take: I think the Cowboys can stay in contention without Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, but that’s mostly because I think the rest of the NFC East stinks. When they’re playing teams outside their division, the Cowboys will struggle, and the relentless Falcons pass rush will make life hard for Brandon Weeden.
MDS’s pick: Falcons 17, Cowboys 9.
Florio’s take: The unbeaten Falcons continue their tour of the NFC East, getting the Cowboys at the best possible time. Brandon Weeden flamed out of Cleveland for a reason, and the Falcons would be wise to go easy on the blitzes until Weeden proves he can find open men against maximum coverage. The Dallas defense has looked stout, but they haven’t had to contain someone like Julio Jones, who already has become the NFL’s new Charles Johnson.
Florio’s pick: Falcons 20, Cowboys 19.
Buccaneers at Texans
MDS’s take: The Texans’ defense has struggled this season, but their impressive front should get to Jameis Winston and force him into at least a couple turnovers. Houston will win a low-scoring game.
MDS’s pick: Texans 20, Buccaneers 10.
Florio’s take: Jameis Winston said in June he’s looking forward to facing J.J. Watt. He may feel differently about that by Sunday afternoon.
Florio’s pick: Texans 27, Buccaneers 17.
Chargers at Vikings
MDS’s take: I have a feeling the difference in this game will be special teams, where Cordarrelle Patterson will turn in some big returns and give the Vikings a close win.
MDS’s pick: Vikings 28, Chargers 24.
Florio’s take: Eight years ago, Adrian Peterson set the NFL single-game rushing record against the Chargers. That likely won’t happen again, but the Vikings likely won’t be deviating from the plan they should have used in Week One against the 49ers.
Florio’s pick: Vikings 23, Chargers 20.
Jaguars at Patriots
MDS’s take: The Jaguars deserve credit for turning in an impressive performance last week against the Dolphins, but they’ve got no chance in new England.
MDS’s pick: Patriots 34, Jaguars 14.
Florio’s take: Six days after the Jets beat the Colts, a Jacksonville win would be a upset on par with the time the Jets beat the Colts 46 years ago.
Florio’s pick: Patriots 41, Jaguars 24.
Eagles at Jets
MDS’s take: The Eagles’ offense has been the NFL’s biggest disappointment this season. Things won’t get any easier when they visit the Jets, where new coach Todd Bowles has his players playing relentless defense. This one could get ugly for Chip Kelly’s crew.
MDS’s pick: Jets 20, Eagles 6.
Florio’s take: Todd Bowles and Chip Kelly split their two games in 2013 and 2014, when Bowles was running the defense in Arizona. In both games, the home team won. There’s not much else to go on in this one, given the changes both teams have made over the past year. (Other than the fact that the Eagles sort of stink.)
Florio’s pick: Jets 24, Eagles 20.
Steelers at Rams
MDS’s take: The Rams have a great defensive front, with defensive player of the year candidate Aaron Donald leading the way. But the running back committee of Le’Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams will have a big game as the Steelers roll.
MDS’s pick: Steelers 24, Rams 10.
Florio’s take: The up-and-down Rams get up for the good teams. Throw in coach Jeff Fisher’s history with the Steelers from his time in Tennessee and this one has “good Rams” written all over it — especially with Todd Gurley no longer on the injury report.
Florio’s pick: Rams 30, Steelers 22.
Colts at Titans
MDS’s take: I just can’t believe the Colts are really as bad as they’ve looked in the first two weeks of the season. Things will turn around on Sunday, when Andrew Luck will finally have a good game, the Titans’ lousy special teams will make some mistakes, and the Colts will manage to win one.
MDS’s pick: Colts 28, Titans 17.
Florio’s take: The Colts’ 11-5 record in 2014 was bolstered by a 6-0 mark in the division. While they may not be able to duplicate an undefeated season in the AFC South, the quest starts with Indy going 1-0.
Florio’s pick: Colts 30, Titans 17.
49ers at Cardinals
MDS’s take: The Cardinals look like big favorites in the NFC West right now, and they’ll keep rolling around against a 49ers team that is probably closer to how they looked in Week Two (an ugly loss) than how they looked in Week One (a surprising win).
MDS’s pick: Cardinals 30, 49ers 10.
Florio’s take: The Cardinals look to be every bit as good as they were a year ago, without all the injuries. The 49ers aren’t as bad as feared, but they’re likely not good enough to steal a win in Arizona.
Florio’s pick: Cardinals 34, 49ers 24.
Bills at Dolphins
MDS’s take: The beatdown at the hands of the Patriots is going to be tough for the Bills to get over. I’m expecting them to come out looking sluggish and the Dolphins to win this one.
MDS’s pick: Dolphins 24, Bills 16.
Florio’s take: The two teams obsessed with the Patriots press pause on that rivalry to revisit their own. It’s the home opener for Miami, the road opener for Buffalo, and the edge goes to the team that has looked better overall in compiling a 1-1 record.
Florio’s pick: Bills 24, Dolphins 21.
Bears at Seahawks
MDS’s take: The Seahawks are the NFL’s best 0-2 team. The Bears are the NFL’s worst 0-2 team.
MDS’s pick: Seahawks 22, Bears 3.
Florio’s take: In Week Three a year ago, John Fox ventured into Seattle with Peyton Manning as his quarterback. This time, it likely will be Jimmy Clausen. Small children, pregnant women, and people with heart conditions should not watch.
Florio’s pick: Seahawks 41, Bears 14.
Broncos at Lions
MDS’s take: The Lions have struggled to keep Matthew Stafford upright, and the Broncos have a ferocious pass rush. This one could get ugly for Stafford.
MDS’s pick: Broncos 24, Lions 9.
Florio’s take: The two-offense approach should be embraced by the Broncos, giving them the opportunity to toggle back and forth whenever they need to or want to — and forcing opposing defenses to prepare for both approaches. Peyton Manning is still racing against Father Time, but this could give him a little extra spark as he tries to ward off the inevitable.
Florio’s pick: Broncos 30, Lions 20.
Chiefs at Packers
MDS’s take: Aaron Rodgers has thrown 39 touchdowns at Lambeau Field since his last interception there. I wouldn’t pick anyone to win on the road at Green Bay.
MDS’s pick: Packers 28, Chiefs 20.
Florio’s take: The similarities between Seattle and Kansas City allow for the Packers to use the same game plan from Week Two. Throw in the fact that it’s prime time, it’s at Lambeau Field, and Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the game, and it’s a recipe for another Green Bay triumph.
Florio’s pick: Packers 34, Chiefs 23.