It’s Week Five, but the magic number is seven.
Of the 14 games to be played over the next several days, MDS and I agree on seven — and disagree on seven.
I need a sweep or something close to it; with five disagreements last week, MDS went 4-1 and I went 1-4 and I’ve come to accept that I really suck at this. But, for some reason, that’s not stopping me from continuing to do it.
For all picks for Week Five, scroll on down the list of games.
Patriots at Buccaneers
MDS’s take: This is a tough one. The Bucs have been the better team so far this season, but I just can’t believe the Patriots’ defense will be as bad all year as it was in September. I see a turnaround coming for New England, starting tonight.
MDS’s pick: Patriots 27, Buccaneers 21.
Florio’s take: The Bucs aren’t quite ready for prime time, and they’re definitely not ready to outscore a more-determined-than-ever Tom Brady. Defensive issues may not be fixed in four days, but Belichick can do enough to make it better, even in a short week.
Florio’s pick: Patriots 27, Buccaneers 23.
Jets at Browns
MDS’s take: The Browns opened as favorites in this game, which shocked me. I wouldn’t pick the Browns to beat anyone right now. The Jets are at least playing hard, defying those who thought they were tanking. Amazingly, they’ll be 3-2 after Sunday’s game.
MDS’s pick: Jets 20, Browns 10.
Florio’s take: The Browns successfully tanked last year. The Jets are unsuccessfully tanking this year. The Browns are unsuccessfully not tanking this year. To both teams I say, tanks fer nuttin’.
Florio’s pick: Jets 20, Browns 14.
Panthers at Lions
MDS’s pick: Lions 17, Panthers 13.
Florio’s take: Surprisingly great game pits a recently dominant team against a potentially dominant team. Cam Newton seems to be back, and he has extra motivation to show he’s more accomplished than a quarterback who is now getting paid a lot more money than Newton. But the blowback from his stupid, sexist remark could provide just enough of a distraction to keep him, and the Panthers, from getting it done.
Florio’s pick: Lions 27, Panthers 24.
49ers at Colts
MDS’s take: I hope Jacoby Brissett gets a real chance to be the man for some team some day, because he’s shown promise two years in a row when being thrown in on short notice. I think he’ll have a solid day on Sunday as the Colts beat the 49ers.
MDS’s pick: Colts 24, 49ers 20.
Florio’s take: The 49ers don’t have many clear opportunities to win games this year. This is one of them. It’s time for Kyle Shanahan and company to get a win.
Florio’s pick: 49ers 20, Colts 16.
Titans at Dolphins
MDS’s take: Are we sure Jay Cutler is any better than Matt Moore? Because if he’s not, that signing was a huge mistake by the Dolphins. I think Cutler is going to struggle again on Sunday as the Titans win.
MDS’s pick: Titans 17, Dolphins 10.
Florio’s take: Matt Cassel vs. Jay Cutler. Must-Not-See-TV.
Florio’s pick: Dolphins 17, Titans 13.
Bills at Bengals
MDS’s take: Maybe it’s a mirage because they were playing the Browns, but I think the Bengals turned a corner on Sunday. They’re going to play better football going forward and beat a good Bills team.
MDS’s pick: Bengals 24, Bills 17.
Florio’s take: The Bill are surging. The Bengals are treading water. Buffalo takes another step toward its first playoff berth since 1999.
Florio’s pick: Bills 24, Bengals 20.
Chargers at Giants
MDS’s take: Someone will finally get their first win on Sunday, and I think it’s going to be the Giants, in a game that won’t be particularly entertaining to watch.
MDS’s pick: Giants 16, Chargers 7.
Florio’s take: It’s a road game for the Chargers. Which means it’s the same as a home game. With both teams at 0-4, someone has to win. Home team gets the edge, barely.
Florio’s pick: Giants 13, Chargers 10.
Jaguars at Steelers
MDS’s take: The Jaguars’ pass defense is excellent, and Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown probably won’t put up big numbers on Sunday. But Blake Bortles will throw a couple interceptions and allow the Steelers to win a defensive struggle.
MDS’s pick: Steelers 20, Jaguars 9.
Florio’s take: In 2007, Jaguars won twice in the same year in Pittsburgh. That’s all I’ve got on this one; the Steelers are clearly the better team in 2017.
Florio’s pick: Steelers 27, Jaguars 17.
Cardinals at Eagles
MDS’s take: The Eagles are off to a good start and their schedule only gets easier. They should get a big win against the struggling Cardinals.
MDS’s pick: Eagles 28, Cardinals 14.
Florio’s pick: Eagles 28, Cardinals 20.
Seahawks at Rams
MDS’s take: The Seahawks just haven’t been a very good team on either side of the ball this season, and the Rams have. It’s surprising to say this, but I think the Rams are the best team in the NFC West — by far.
MDS’s pick: Rams 31, Seahawks 13.
Florio’s take: Since winning the Super Bowl, the Seahawks are 2-4 against the Rams. And that was before the Rams figured out how to play offense. In a game that should pack the Coliseum (but won’t), the Rams secure a lead in the Fight for L.A. that they may never lose.
Florio’s pick: Rams 27, Seahawks 20.
Ravens at Raiders
MDS’s pick: Ravens 20, Raiders 17.
Florio’s take: The Raiders went from being a team of destiny to being a team that is striving to hold things together while Derek Carr recovers from a broken bone in his back. The good news is that they’ll be facing a team that already has fallen apart.
Florio’s pick: Raiders 24, Ravens 13.
Packers at Cowboys
MDS’s take: In a rematch of a good playoff game from last year, the Cowboys will get their revenge and win a narrow game over the Packers.
MDS’s pick: Cowboys 24, Packers 23.
Florio’s take: Last year, a Week Six win over the Packers in Green Bay put everyone on notice that the Cowboys are back. This year, a date with the Packers will put everyone on notice that the Cowboys are back to being not back.
Florio’s pick: Packers 30, Cowboys 24.
Chiefs at Texans
MDS’s take: Deshaun Watson has been outstanding for the Texans this season, but I expect him to take a step back this week against the pressure of the league’s only unbeaten team.
MDS’s pick: Chiefs 35, Texans 21.
Florio’s take: The Chiefs are undefeated but not dominant. After three straight losses to Kansas City, the Texans found a way to beat them at home last year, and that was before they acquired Deshaun Watson. Look for Watson to yet again perform well on the biggest stages in football, and for the Texans to begin their climb above .500.
Florio’s pick: Texans 23, Chiefs 17.
Vikings at Bears
MDS’s take: The Bears corrected their offseason mistake and benched Mike Glennon this week, but Mitch Trubisky can’t turn the season around all by himself.
MDS’s pick: Vikings 20, Bears 16.
Florio’s take: Last year, one of Chicago’s three wins came at home against the Vikings on Monday Night Football. This year, they may not get more than three wins again, but once again one of them comes on MNF against the Vikings, in the first game played by Mitchell Trubisky.
Florio’s pick: Bears 20, Vikings 14.