Last week, I took out the broom. And whacked MDS over the head with it. The three disagreements (Lions-Texans, Seahawks-Saints, Raiders-Bucs) went my way, stretching a two-game lead to five.
For the week, I was 11-2 and MDS was 9-5.
This week, we disagree on three more games. If I sweep this week, it’s over.
Falcons at Buccaneers
MDS’s take: The Falcons can practically lock up the NFC South with a win in Tampa Bay, and I think they’re going to do just that.
MDS’s pick: Falcons 24, Buccaneers 20.
Florio’s take: The Falcons played 60 minutes on Sunday. The Buccaneers played nearly 75. Advantage team that played less football four days before their game — especially since the Bucs are struggling at home.
Florio’s pick: Falcons 27, Buccaneers 20.
Steelers at Ravens
MDS’s take: Ben Roethlisberger’s questionable status makes this game a tough one to pick, but I’m going to guess we see a Ravens win, whether it’s because Roethlisberger is at less than 100 percent or because Landry Jones is under center.
MDS’s pick: Ravens 27, Steelers 17.
Florio’s take: The Ravens have lost their way after an 3-0 start. The Steelers are focused on proving that they can win on the road, with or without Ben Roethlisberger under center.
Florio’s pick: Steelers 19, Ravens 13.
Cowboys at Browns
MDS’s take: The Browns aren’t playing as badly as their 0-8 record suggests. But they’re not playing well enough to beat a good team like the Cowboys, either.
MDS’s pick: Cowboys 30, Browns 17.
Florio’s take: Trap game alert for the Cowboys, who suddenly are good enough to have trap games. They’ll avoid stepping in this one.
Florio’s pick: Cowboys 34, Browns 20.
Jaguars at Chiefs
MDS’s take: The way the Jaguars are playing, I wouldn’t pick them to win on the road against anyone right now.
MDS’s pick: Chiefs 31, Jaguars 13.
Florio’s take: Nick Foles gets a chance to re-establish his career against a team with a coaching staff that soon will be continuing their careers elsewhere.
Florio’s pick: Chiefs 31, Jaguars 17.
Jets at Dolphins
MDS’s take: Expect to see a strong dose of Jay Ajayi against a suspect Jets defense. The Dolphins should win this one without too much trouble.
MDS’s pick: Dolphins 24, Jets 14.
Florio’s take: The schedule is softening for the Dolphins, who could quickly find themselves in the thick of the AFC wild-card chase.
Florio’s pick: Dolphins 30, Jets 20.
Eagles at Giants
MDS’s take: Opposing defenses look like they’re starting to figure out Carson Wentz, and I think the Giants will keep him in check and manage to win a low-scoring game.
MDS’s pick: Giants 14, Eagles 13.
Florio’s take: Neither team is ready to challenge the Cowboys, but the winner could contend for a wild-card spot. Home team coming off of a bye week gets the edge.
Florio’s pick: Giants 24, Eagles 21.
Lions at Vikings
MDS’s take: Sam Bradford has turned in a couple of ugly performances the last two weeks, but that should change on Sunday. The Lions have the worst pass defense in the NFL.
MDS’s pick: Vikings 27, Lions 17.
Florio’s take: The Vikings are in disarray, but that’s typically when they seem to get their act together unexpectedly.
Florio’s pick: Vikings 23, Lions 17.
Panthers at Rams
MDS’s take: It’s been a disappointing season in Carolina, but I think the Panthers’ defense should shut down Case Keenum and lead the fans in Los Angeles to call for Jared Goff.
MDS’s pick: Panthers 20, Rams 13.
Florio’s take: The Rams need to be careful or they’ll fall behind their 7-9 pace. The Panthers are starting to play like they did a year ago, and Cam Newton will relish his L.A. debut.
Florio’s pick: Panthers 30, Rams 24.
Saints at 49ers
MDS’s take: The Saints’ defense is weak, and Colin Kaepernick will have his best game of the year against it. But the 49ers’ defense is weak, too, and Drew Brees will be even better.
MDS’s pick: Saints 35, 49ers 28.
Florio’s take: The Saints are a win away from .500, and the 49ers are a world away from it.
Florio’s pick: Saints 31, 49ers 20.
Titans at Chargers
MDS’s take: I like the way the Titans’ offense is playing, but I think Joey Bosa will tee off on Marcus Mariota on Sunday and the Chargers’ defense will lead them to a hard-fought win.
MDS’s pick: Chargers 21, Titans 17.
Florio’s take: San Diego keeps plugging away, despite long odds to make it to the playoffs.
Florio’s pick: Chargers 24, Titans 16.
Colts at Packers
MDS’s take: This season — a season when winning the AFC South should be doable — feels like it’s slipping away from the Colts. I have a hunch they’re in for an ugly performance in Green Bay.
MDS’s pick: Packers 31, Colts 14.
Florio’s take: No amount of over-the-top rhetoric from Chuck Pagano will help the Colts win this one at Lambeau.
Florio’s pick: Packers 30, Colts 13.
Broncos at Raiders
MDS’s take: In the best game of the week, I like the Broncos’ defense to do a pretty good job of containing Derek Carr and Denver to earn a big AFC West victory.
MDS’s pick: Broncos 23, Raiders 20.
Florio’s take: It’s time for a statement game, even if the final score doesn’t scream it out. The Raiders are on the rise, and Denver will continue to have their hands full in the division.
Florio’s pick: Raiders 27, Broncos 23.
Bills at Seahawks
MDS’s take: It’s never easy to play in Seattle in prime time, and I expect the Bills’ offense to get ground to a halt by the Seahawks’ defense.
MDS’s pick: Seahawks 20, Bills 9.
Florio’s take: Until they give Russell Wilson a couple of weeks off, he’ll continue to play like a shadow of his recently-former self.
Florio’s pick: Bills 16, Seahawks 13.