Nine weeks in, the dead heat continues.
After splitting last weeks pair of disagreements (as part of a pathetic 7-6 showing each), MDS and yours truly are deadlocked with eight weeks left.
This week, we disagree on three games, which guarantees that the tie will be broken — unless one of the three games on which we disagree ends in a tie.
For the year, we’re are 87-45. That translates to a good-not-great percentage of 65.9.
To see all picks for the coming week of games, scroll down the page and read.
Bills at Jets
MDS’s take: The Rex Ryan Revenge Game, or the IK Enemkpali Revenge Game, or the Geno Smith Revenge Game, or whatever we’re calling it, should be a pretty good one. I like Darrelle Revis to do a pretty good job containing Sammy Watkins, and the Bills’ offense to struggle to get anything going with its best threat contained. The Jets will win a close one.
MDS’s pick: Jets 17, Bills 14.
Florio’s take: Rex is back, and he’s coming back with a team better than the one he left. Although the team he left is now better, the Bills have better talent on both sides of the ball.
Florio’s pick: Bills 27, Jets 20.
Jaguars at Ravens
MDS’s take: The Ravens may be the most disappointing team in the NFL this year, and there are some things to like about the Jaguars: Blake Bortles is getting better at finding receivers downfield, and Jacksonville has one of the best run defenses in the league. I’m tempted to pick the upset here, but in the end I think the Jaguars’ secondary may struggle against Joe Flacco’s big arm, and the Ravens will pull out a close one.
MDS’s pick: Ravens 21, Jaguars 20.
Florio’s take: If you’d told a Jaguars fan before the season that Jacksonville would have the same record as Baltimore after eight games, that Jaguars fan would have been pretty excited. That Jaguars fan will be far less excited on Sunday.
Florio’s pick: Ravens 30, Jaguars 20.
Lions at Packers
MDS’s take: The last time the Lions won at Green Bay, Jason Hanson was at Washington State. Hanson played 21 seasons for the Lions and is now in his third year of retirement. What I’m trying to say is, that was a long time ago. And it’s not going to change any time soon.
MDS’s pick: Packers 35, Lions 14.
Florio’s take: The Lions last won in Wisconsin the year before Ron Wolf and company turned the Packers franchise around. Maybe this is the last year the Lions will lose in Wisconsin before they turn their own franchise around. Or maybe not.
Florio’s pick: Packers 37, Lions 13.
Dolphins at Eagles
MDS’s take: I’m still not sold on Sam Bradford as the right quarterback for Chip Kelly’s offense, but the running game seems to be on track and the defense is playing reasonably well, and that should be enough for the Eagles to beat a mediocre Dolphins team at home.
MDS’s pick: Eagles 20, Dolphins 17.
Florio’s take: The Eagles are moving in the right direction, with three wins in four games. The Dolphins aren’t. The only good news for Miami is that they can start looking for the next head coach.
Florio’s pick: Eagles 31, Dolphins 21.
Browns at Steelers
MDS’s take: No Ben Roethlisberger. No Le’Veon Bell. The Steelers will need another huge game from Antonio Brown and DeAngelo Williams to get their offense going, and I think that’s exactly what they’ll get against a Browns team that is about ready to pack it in on the season.
MDS’s pick: Steelers 28, Browns 20.
Florio’s take: The Landry Jones era resumes. The good news is that it’s coming in Pittsburgh, against the Browns.
Florio’s pick: Steelers 24, Browns 17.
Bears at Rams
MDS’s take: The Bears are showing that they’re a better team than they appeared early in the season, and Jay Cutler may be able to exploit the Rams’ secondary. But they’re coming off a tough game, a long road trip and a short week, and that’s a bad combination for a defense having to tackle Todd Gurley 20-30 times. Look for the Rams to grind this one out in the fourth quarter.
MDS’s pick: Rams 21, Bears 20.
Florio’s take: The Rams have the better team on both sides of the ball. And if all else fails, they should just funnel the Bears toward the concrete.
Florio’s pick: Rams 20, Bears 16.
Cowboys at Buccaneers
MDS’s take: The Buccaneers are starting to come around as a reasonably good team, with Jameis Winston avoiding turnovers (no interceptions in the last four games), and Lovie Smith’s defense rounding into shape. If Tony Romo were playing I’d pick the Cowboys, but with Matt Cassel at the helm I think the Bucs can take this one.
MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 20, Cowboys 17.
Florio’s take: The Cowboys will play their seventh and final (for now) game without Tony Romo. And they’ll lose their seventh and final (for now) game without Romo. The Bucs are better than advertised, and a win over a team like the Cowboys is just what Lovie Smith’s still-rebuilding team needs.
Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 24, Cowboys 20.
Panthers at Titans
MDS’s take: Mike Mularkey did a good job in his first week as interim head coach of taking advantage of Marcus Mariota’s strengths. But that was against a terrible defense in New Orleans. The Panthers have an excellent defense, and they’ll shut Mariota down.
MDS’s pick: Panthers 28, Titans 7.
Florio’s take: The Panthers need to avoid complacency, and they need to finish. Otherwise, the Titans are good enough to hand Carolina its first loss — and to pull themselves back into the AFC South race.
Florio’s pick: Panthers 23, Titans 20.
Saints at Washington
MDS’s take: I’ve flip-flopped on this one a couple times. The Saints’ offense is firing on all cylinders with Drew Brees, but the Saints’ defense is a mess. This might be the week that DeSean Jackson finally makes an impact, and as a result Washington will win.
MDS’s pick: Washington 24, Saints 23.
Florio’s take: No one knows what either of these teams is going to do at any given time. The Saints have found a good rhythm on offense, and Washington doesn’t have the horses to keep up. Which probably means Washington will win.
Florio’s pick: Saints 33, Washington 24.
Vikings at Raiders
MDS’s take: Before the season, not many people expected this to be a game with significant playoff implications for both teams. But it absolutely is, as the Vikings would be a wild card team if the playoffs started today and the Raiders are only a half game out. I like Oakland’s impressive offense to make enough plays to win this one.
MDS’s pick: Raiders 31, Vikings 20.
Florio’s take: The Vikings haven’t won many games away from home in recent years, and victories over struggling teams like the Lions and Bears don’t really count. In Minnesota, the outcome would be different. In Oakland, the Raiders have the firepower to outscore the Vikings.
Florio’s pick: Raiders 27, Vikings 24.
Chiefs at Broncos
MDS’s take: Last time these teams played, the Broncos needed a shocking fourth-quarter comeback. I don’t think it’ll go down that way this time, as the Denver defense will shut Alex Smith down and the Broncos will cruise to a fairly comfortable win.
MDS’s pick: Broncos 20, Chiefs 10.
Florio’s take: Andy Reid traditionally has thrived after a bye. With Peyton Manning still banged up and the Chiefs having the pass rushers to bang him up even more, look for the Chiefs to run Denver’s losing streak to two.
Florio’s pick: Chiefs 30, Broncos 27.
Patriots at Giants
MDS’s take: The Giants have a knack for beating the Patriots when no one thinks they will, but this Patriots offense just has too many weapons for Tom Brady to play with, and this Giants defense just doesn’t have the secondary to stop them.
MDS’s pick: Patriots 30, Giants 17.
Florio’s take: The last two times these teams met in the regular season, they had a rematch in the Super Bowl. While that’s unlikely this year, New England coach Bill Belichick has extra motivation to show his former colleague, Giants coach Tom Coughlin, that the Giants aren’t in the Patriots heads the same way the Patriots are in so many other teams’ heads.
Florio’s pick: Patriots 27, Giants 20.
Cardinals at Seahawks
MDS’s take: This is a huge game for the NFC playoff race. If the Seahawks win, it’s a strong statement that they’re right in the thick of things and a strong contender to get back on top of the conference. If the Cardinals win, the NFC West race is almost over and the Seahawks will have to scratch and claw just to get a wild card. With Seattle’s back against the wall, I think Pete Carroll’s guys will play their best game of the season.
MDS’s pick: Seahawks 27, Cardinals 17.
Florio’s take: The Seahawks have had two weeks to get ready for this one, and they know they need it if they have any hope of winning the division. While home-field advantage throughout the playoffs is out of the question and a bye is unlikely, a home game in the wild-card round could be the only way to get to the conference semifinals.
Florio’s pick: Seahawks 21, Cardinals 17.
Texans at Bengals
MDS’s take: I have a feeling the Texans are going to make this a closer game than most people think, as Brian Hoyer has actually played pretty well. But Andy Dalton has played very well, and the Bengals will pull away in the fourth quarter. Yes, I’m betting on Andy Dalton to step up in prime time.
MDS’s pick: Bengals 30, Texans 21.
Florio’s take: Last year, Brian Hoyer led the Browns to a 24-3 win over the Bengals in prime time. This year, the Bengals don’t step in potholes like that.
Florio’s pick: Bengals 24, Texans 10.