One week in, the good news is that I’ve already got a one-game lead over MDS. The bad news is that I hit on only nine of 15 games.
The best news is that we both get yet another chance to do something neither of us has ever done: Get every game right in a given week. One of us definitely won’t, since we disagree on one of the 16 games.
Here are the PFT Picks for Week Two. For amusement purposes only. As in, “I’m amused by how much these guys suck.”
Texans at Bengals
MDS’s take: This could be another ugly Thursday night game, given the way these two defenses played in Week One. Although Andy Dalton was terrible on Sunday, I think he’ll be better on Thursday — and the Texans’ quarterback situation will be as bad as ever.
MDS’s pick: Bengals 13, Texans 7.
Florio’s take: A game between two teams who scored on Sunday a total of seven points between them doesn’t bode well for ratings points. The Texans unexpectedly are reeling, and the Bengals aren’t as bad as Sunday suggested. Unless they are. One of these teams could soon be fitted for a fork.
Florio’s pick: Bengals 20, Texans 13.
Browns at Ravens
MDS’s take: The Ravens’ defense made a statement against the Bengals and will make another statement against the Browns.
MDS’s pick: Ravens 21, Browns 6.
Florio’s take: The Ravens aren’t kind to rookie quarterbacks, and even though the Browns weren’t as bad in Week One as everyone thought they’d be, the Ravens were much better. The Browns may have indeed found the answer to their chronic quarterback problems, but it’s going to take some time for this to develop.
Florio’s pick: Ravens 23, Browns 13.
Bears at Buccaneers
MDS’s take: Chicago was more competitive than most people expected, nearly pulling off a big upset against Atlanta. But the well-rested Buccaneers should beat the Bears convincingly.
MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 24, Bears 14.
Florio’s take: The Bucs have extra rest, and they don’t need it. A superior team on both sides of the ball with plenty to prove and even greater desire to do so after an unplanned bye week, Tampa Bay begins its march toward potential playoff contention by systematically dismantling a Bears team that suffers from a dearth of talent made worse by a rash of injuries.
Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 27, Bears 14.
Vikings at Steelers
MDS’s take: These looked like two of the better teams in the league last week. I don’t think Sam Bradford is going to be able to do against the Steelers’ defense what he did against the Saints’ defense, and so I’m picking Pittsburgh.
MDS’s pick: Steelers 20, Vikings 13.
Florio’s take: The Vikings haven’t won in Pittsburgh since 1995. They’ve only player there twice since then, however. This year, perhaps they’re better than many expected. That still may not be good enough to take down a potential Super Bowl contender in their own stadium.
Florio’s pick: Steelers 23, Vikings 20.
Patriots at Saints
MDS’s take: The Saints’ defense looks like just the thing to get Tom Brady on track. He’ll have a big game.
MDS’s pick: Patriots 35, Saints 21.
Florio’s take: The Saints are on a short week and the Patriots had extra time. Which will serve only to make things worse for a home team without the horses to keep up with a defending Super Bowl champion that suddenly has something to prove.
Florio’s pick: Patriots 34, Saints 20.
Eagles at Chiefs
MDS’s take: Andy Reid has the Chiefs’ offense rolling. The Chiefs’ defense will miss Eric Berry, but Kansas City can win a high-scoring game.
MDS’s pick: Chiefs 35, Eagles 31.
Florio’s take: Big Red gets another chance at Gang Green, against an Eagles team coached by his protege. The master surely held back a few tricks. Which he may not need given the quality of his team’s roster.
Florio’s pick: Chiefs 28, Eagles 20.
Titans at Jaguars
MDS’s take: The Jaguars were better than I was expecting in Week One, and the Titans were worse than I was expecting. Maybe I’m just a slow learner, but I still think the Titans are the better team.
MDS’s pick: Titans 24, Jaguars 20.
Florio’s take: It’s too early to call this a Correction Weekend, but a correction feels like it’s coming for a Titans team that should contend and a Jaguars team that shouldn’t be racking up 10 sacks per game.
Florio’s pick: Titans 27, Jaguars 23.
Cardinals at Colts
MDS’s take: The Cardinals didn’t look particularly good on Sunday, but the Colts looked downright awful.
MDS’s pick: Cardinals 27, Colts 17.
Florio’s take: The David Johnson-less Cardinals need a cupcake right now (along with a bottle of rum), and none are currently more frosted than the Colts, who seem to be intent on challenging the Jets for the first overall pick in the draft.
Florio’s pick: Cardinals 28, Colts 14.
Bills at Panthers
MDS’s take: Cam Newton doesn’t look quite right, but the Bills’ offense is going to have trouble moving the ball against the Panthers’ defense. Carolina takes a low-scoring game.
MDS’s pick: Panthers 16, Bills 13.
Florio’s take: Sean McDermott returns to Carolina, with thorough knowledge of the personnel on both sides of the ball. He may not have the talent at this point to put his inside information to its best possible use, however.
Florio’s pick: Panthers 20, Bills 14.
Jets at Raiders
MDS’s take: Picking against the Jets will be the easiest pick of the week all season.
MDS’s pick: Raiders 24, Jets 10.
Florio’s take: This is a trap game for the Raiders — if the trap has a rusty spring that won’t engage and the bait is a sliver of rancid meat.
Florio’s pick: Raiders 30, Jets 13.
Dolphins at Chargers
MDS’s take: It’s hard to predict how the Dolphins will respond to being uprooted from their homes by Hurricane Irma, but I think Miami will look a little off in its season opener and the Chargers will win in their new home.
MDS’s pick: Chargers 21, Dolphins 14.
Florio’s take: How many of the 27,000 people at the Chargers’ home opener will be rooting for the Dolphins? Enough to be heard, given the size of the venue.
Florio’s pick: Dolphins 27, Chargers 20.
49ers at Seahawks
MDS’s take: It was only a few years ago that this was the best rivalry in football. Now the 49ers aren’t good enough to make anyone a rival.
MDS’s pick: Seahawks 28, 49ers 13.
Florio’s take: There’s no antidote for a bad offensive line and a non-existent running attack than a home game against an overmatched team.
Florio’s pick: Seahawks 30, 49ers 9.
Washington at Rams
MDS’s take: Sean McVay knows just what to do against his old team. He’s going to have the Rams a surprising 2-0.
MDS’s pick: Rams 27, Washington 20.
Florio’s take: Something’s suddenly wrong with Washington’s offense. Maybe it’s related to whatever is suddenly right with the Rams: Sean McVay. The former Washington offensive coordinator gets a crack at his old team, a week after crunching the Colts in his debut.
Florio’s pick: Rams 24, Washington 20.
Cowboys at Broncos
MDS’s take: Trevor Siemian had a surprisingly good game in Week One, but I think the Cowboys’ defense is going to make him struggle.
MDS’s pick: Cowboys 20, Broncos 10.
Florio’s take: The Cowboys looked great on each side of the ball against the Giants, and the Broncos’ offense is still a work in progress. With Ezekiel Elliott still available, Dallas continues to excel.
Florio’s pick: Cowboys 20, Broncos 13.
Packers at Falcons
MDS’s take: The Falcons want to open their new stadium in style, but Aaron Rodgers is going to have a big game as the Packers pull off a road upset.
MDS’s pick: Packers 31, Falcons 27.
Florio’s take: For the second straight year, the Packers get the short straw when it comes to opening a new stadium. This year, they’ll make that futuristic change purse look more like a giant wedge of cheese.
Florio’s pick: Packers 30, Falcons 27.
Lions at Giants
MDS’s take: With Odell Beckham back, the Giants’ offense will turn things around after an ugly Week One performance.
MDS’s pick: Giants 28, Lions 20.
Florio’s take: The Giants aren’t as bad as they looked on Sunday night in Dallas (how could they be?), and the Lions aren’t as good as they looked on Sunday afternoon. If Detroit wants to be an elite franchise, this is the kind of game they need to win. I’m not yet ready to give them that label, given that we’ve seen them fail in many similar circumstances to deliver in a spot like this.
Florio’s pick: Giants 23, Lions 17.