It’s quickly getting ugly.
Thanks to a clean sweep on three disagreements last week, MDS has a five-game lead through five weeks. He finished Week Five at 11-4; I went 8-7.
For the year, he’s now at 47-31. I’m at versus 42-36.
We have three disagreements this week. I’d better return the favor, or I’ll have a hard time closing the gap.
Giants at Patriots
MDS’s take: This could get ugly for Daniel Jones, going against what may prove to be the best defense Bill Belichick has had in New England. The Patriots will cruise, and even cover the 17-point spread that is the biggest in Giants franchise history.
MDS’s pick: Patriots 30, Giants 10.
Florio’s take: It looked semi-plausible on paper in April. It won’t be close to semi-plausible on the football field come Thursday night.
Florio’s pick: Patriots 34, Giants 13.
Panthers at Buccaneers
MDS’s pick: Panthers 24, Buccaneers 17.
Florio’s take: London gets an NFC South showdown that may be an NFC South championship elimination game, especially with the Saints at 4-1. If the Panthers ride Christian McCaffrey this time around, the Panthers should be able to even the season series at 1-1.
Florio’s pick: Panthers 24, Buccaneers 21.
Bengals at Ravens
MDS’s take: The Ravens have about as bad a defense as we’ve ever seen in franchise history, but the Bengals don’t have an offense that can take advantage of that.
MDS’s pick: Ravens 32, Bengals 17.
Florio’s take: The Bengals surely won’t go 0-16. But 0-6 is staring them in the face.
Florio’s pick: Ravens 27, Bengals 13.
Seahawks at Browns
MDS’s take: This is an intriguing game because the Browns can’t possibly be as bad as they looked on Monday night, but if they lose again, at home, a whole lot of people are going to be calling them pretenders. I think they’ll be better than they were against the 49ers, but still not good enough to beat the Seahawks.
MDS’s pick: Seahawks 21, Browns 14.
Florio’s take: Adversity has arrived for the Browns. It’s going to stick around for awhile.
Florio’s pick: Seahawks 24, Browns 20.
Saints at Jaguars
MDS’s take: No one thought this would be Teddy Bridgewater vs. Gardner Minshew before the season, but that’s where we are. I like Bridgewater to keep his good play going and help the Saints win again.
MDS’s pick: Saints 24, Jaguars 20.
Florio’s take: Who’s the best team in the NFC? It very well may be the Saints, who keep on winning without Drew Brees.
Florio’s pick: Saints 27, Jaguars 17.
Texans at Chiefs
MDS’s take: Deshaun Watson vs. Patrick Mahomes. Now that’s a quarterback matchup. The Chiefs’ offense has been struggling against man coverage, but I think they’ll make some adjustments this week and look more like the Chiefs again.
MDS’s pick: Chiefs 30, Texans 24.
Florio’s take: The search continues for the next Brady-Manning rivalry. And this could be it. Deshaun Watson was stellar in Week Five, and Patrick Mahomes did well in a loss that left him hobbled. It’s hard to envision K.C. losing two straight home games.
Florio’s pick: Chiefs 27, Texans 20.
Washington at Dolphins
MDS’s take: It’s the Tank Bowl, and I think the difference is that Miami is actually trying to tank, while Washington only looks like it is. Bill Callahan starts his tenure as interim head coach with a win.
MDS’s pick: Washington 14, Dolphins 10.
Florio’s take: Twice before, they’ve played for a championship. This time around, they’re squaring off for the first pick in the draft. Washington gets the interim-coach bump, which keeps Miami on track for the first pick in the draft.
Florio’s pick: Washington 23, Dolphins 17.
Eagles at Vikings
MDS’s take: This feels like a game that we might look back on in December and say it changed the NFC playoff race. I don’t trust Kirk Cousins to have two good games in a row.
MDS’s pick: Eagles 20, Vikings 10.
Florio’s take: The up-and-down Vikings should be up again this week, since they’re playing at home. And since the game isn’t in prime time.
Florio’s pick: Vikings 27, Eagles 21.
Falcons at Cardinals
MDS’s take: The Cardinals’ offense is making strides, and the Falcons’ defense is terrible. I like Kyler Murray to have his second consecutive big game.
MDS’s pick: Cardinals 30, Falcons 27.
Florio’s take: The clock is ticking closer to midnight for Dan Quinn, thanks to a defense that can’t stop anyone.
Florio’s pick: Cardinals 30, Falcons 27.
49ers at Rams
MDS’s take: Is it a changing of the guard in the NFC West? I believe it is, as the 49ers get a road win that gives them a huge lead over the Rams.
MDS’s pick: 49ers 31, Rams 21.
Florio’s take: A short week for the 49ers plus extra time for the Rams plus too many injuries to the 49ers equals the Rams avoiding a disastrous 3-3 start to the season.
Florio’s pick: Rams 35, 49ers 27.
Titans at Broncos
MDS’s take: The Broncos are playing better football than their record suggests, and I expect them to get their second consecutive win after an ugly start.
MDS’s pick: Broncos 21, Titans 14.
Florio’s take: The Titan Truism continues — they lose when they’re favored and they win when they’re the underdogs. Somehow, the Broncos are favored. Somehow, the Titans will win.
Florio’s pick: Titans 17, Broncos 13.
Cowboys at Jets
MDS’s pick: Cowboys 30, Jets 17.
Florio’s take: Dallas will take out a couple of weeks of frustration on an overmatched Jets team. If the Cowboys somehow stumble here, Jason Garrett should start booking moving vans for January.
Florio’s pick: Cowboys 34, Jets 20.
Steelers at Chargers
MDS’s take: This is probably the Steelers’ last chance to be relevant this season, and they’re going into the game with their third-string quarterback. Not a winning formula.
MDS’s pick: Chargers 20, Steelers 10.
Florio’s take: Wednesday’s Pittsburgh practice skirmishes feel like a good thing on the surface. On closer inspection, the defense vs. offense vibe suggests that dysfunction is spreading.
Florio’s pick: Chargers 24, Steelers 14.
Lions at Packers
MDS’s take: The NFC North is incredibly competitive, but if the Packers win this one they’re in first place and have a head-to-head win against all three divisional opponents. I think they’ll get it.
MDS’s pick: Packers 24, Lions 21.
Florio’s take: The Lions are better than expected, but the Packers are finding their groove under Matt LaFleur.
Florio’s pick: Packers 27, Lions 23.