After three sluggish weeks of picking games, I finally found my groove, going 12-3 in Week Four and opening up a four-game lead over MDS, who was 9-6.
For the year, I’ve nudged my record to 37-26. MDS stands at 33-30.
This week, we disagree on only one game. For all of the Week Five picks, scroll down. For the weekly “Best Bets,” check out the video that soon will be attached to this post.
In that category, I was 0-3 last week, and MDS was 1-1-1. For the year, I’m 5-6-1. He’s 4-7-1.
Colts at Patriots
MDS’s take: Any doubts that anyone had about the Patriots should have been erased last week. New England remains one of the best teams in the AFC.
MDS’s pick: Patriots 31, Colts 17.
Florio’s take: The rivalry is back on. And then the game will begin.
Florio’s pick: Patriots 42, Colts 17.
Titans at Bills
MDS’s take: I’m starting to think I sold the Titans short this year. I certainly think they’ll get to Josh Allen often and shut down Buffalo’s offense.
MDS’s pick: Titans 20, Bills 10.
Florio’s take: It’s a Music City Miracle reunion game, but Mike Vrabel’s Titans make their own magic.
Florio’s pick: Titans 20, Bills 17.
Falcons at Steelers
MDS’s take: The Steelers’ backs are to the wall as they’ve fallen behind both Baltimore and Cincinnati. I think they’ll get the big win they need at home.
MDS’s pick: Steelers 28, Falcons 27.
Florio’s take: The Steelers lead the all-time series 13-2-1, and the Falcons have never beaten the Steelers in Pittsburgh. They’ll have to wait eight years for their next opportunity.
Florio’s pick: Steelers 33, Falcons 27.
Broncos at Jets
MDS’s take: The Broncos are coming off a heartbreaking loss, but they should bounce back against a Jets offense that is barely even playing the same sport as the Chiefs offense that Denver faced on Monday night.
MDS’s pick: Broncos 17, Jets 14.
Florio’s take: The Jets chase a three-game losing streak with a three-game home stand. It gets off to a rough start.
Florio’s pick: Broncos 27, Jets 17.
Jaguars at Chiefs
MDS’s take: The Jaguars have the defense that could slow down Kansas City’s offense. But “slow down” does not mean “stop.”
MDS’s pick: Chiefs 21, Jaguars 17.
Florio’s take: Irresistible force meets immovable object. Which means that the game will come down to whether Kansas City’s so-so defense can slow down Jacksonville’s so-so offense. Advantage, so-so defense.
Florio’s pick: Chiefs 31, Jaguars 24.
Packers at Lions
MDS’s pick: Packers 27, Lions 20.
Florio’s take: Aaron Rodgers has been talking a lot about drinking scotch lately. Lions fans will need some of it on Sunday night, and not for celebratory purposes.
Florio’s pick: Packers 27, Lions 20.
Ravens at Browns
MDS’s take: Baker Mayfield will take some lumps against a Baltimore defense that is one of the best in the NFL.
MDS’s pick: Ravens 28, Browns 17.
Florio’s take: The old Browns make their annual trip home to face the new Browns. And even though the new Browns are finally the new Browns, the old Browns continue to be the same old Ravens.
Florio’s pick: Ravens 24, Browns 20.
Giants at Panthers
MDS’s pick: Panthers 30, Giants 17.
Florio’s take: The team Dave Gettleman built hosts the team Dave Gettleman hopes to rebuild. Advantage, finished product.
Florio’s pick: Panthers 31, Giants 20.
Dolphins at Bengals
MDS’s take: A good game between two first-place AFC team. I’ll take the home team.
MDS’s pick: Bengals 28, Dolphins 21.
Florio’s take: It won’t be easy for the Dolphins to quickly forget about the drubbing they endured in New England. Especially since the Bengals are better than they were expected to be this year.
Florio’s pick: Bengals 24, Dolphins 20.
Raiders at Chargers
MDS’s take: Jon Gruden waited a long time for his first win in his return to Oakland. He’ll have to wait a while for his second win as well.
MDS’s pick: Chargers 26, Raiders 20.
Florio’s take: The Raiders host the Chargers in L.A. The Chargers will win yet again as the perpetual road team.
Florio’s pick: Chargers 24, Raider 20.
Cardinals at 49ers
MDS’s pick: 49ers 20, Cardinals 13.
Florio’s take: Once the worst home-and-home series the NFL had to offer, this one is slipping back toward that distinction. The Cardinals looked better than expected with Josh Rosen, the 49ers looked better than expected with C.J. Beathard. Edge goes to the home team.
Florio’s pick: 49ers 24, Cardinals 20.
Vikings at Eagles
MDS’s take: This is a big one, as the 2-2 Eagles and 1-2-1 Vikings both need to turn things around in a hurry. I like the defending champs.
MDS’s pick: Eagles 24, Vikings 17.
Florio’s take: The Vikings had extra time to get ready for an Eagles team that went deep into overtime. Neither team is what it was a year ago, but the Vikings should be able to exorcise their biggest demon from 2017.
Florio’s pick: Vikings 30, Eagles 27.
Rams at Seahawks
MDS’s take: The Rams have an opportunity to run away with the NFC West, and with a win here they’ll be well on their way to doing just that.
MDS’s pick: Rams 30, Seahawks 20.
Florio’s take: Seattle has rebounded nicely since starting the year 0-2. But the Rams are one of the best teams we’ve seen in recent years, and it will be very hard for the Seahawks to overcome a team that isn’t just balanced but great on both sides of the ball.
Florio’s pick: Rams 27, Seahawks 21.
Cowboys at Texans
MDS’s pick: Texans 17, Cowboys 7.
Florio’s take: The Cowboys have been consistently inconsistent this year, and the better-than-their-record-would-suggest Texans will have extra incentive to find a way to win the latest installment of their once-every-four-years rivalry.
Florio’s pick: Texans 24, Cowboys 20.
Washington at Saints
MDS’s take: Drew Brees is four away from 500 career touchdown passes, and he would love to do it at home in prime time.
MDS’s pick: Saints 28, Washington 20.
Florio’s take: Washington has performed better than anyone would have expected, but the Saints finally are performing the way that everyone expected. Mark Ingram is back, and the Saints are ready to roll.
Florio’s pick: Saints 30, Washington 20.