Bad news: MDS leads by eight games. Worse news: We disagree on no games this week, so I can’t carve into his lead.
Best news: It can’t get any worse for me this week.
Last week, MDS got nine of 14 games right. I was 7-7.
For the year, he’s now 66-40. I’m at 58-48.
Here are this week’s picks.
Washington at Vikings
MDS’s take: The NFL has had a string of blowouts in prime time, and I think this will be another one. The Vikings should win easily.
MDS’s pick: Vikings 35, Washington 14.
Florio’s take: Kirk Cousins returns to prime time, against the dysfunctional team that wisely drafted him but that ultimately bungled his contract situation. It would be fitting for the best three-game stretch of his career to end under the lights, but the Vikings are good enough to win even if Cousins reverts to Kurt.
Florio’s pick: Vikings 30, Washington 17.
Broncos at Colts
MDS’s take: Denver seems to see this season is going nowhere, and the Emmanuel Sanders trade may not be the last deal the Broncos make. The Colts, a first-place team with everything to play for, won’t have much trouble against the Broncos.
MDS’s pick: Colts 28, Broncos 13.
Florio’s take: The Colts have developed a habit of playing well against good teams (Chiefs, Texans) and failing to beat teams they should easily handle (Chargers, Raiders). They can’t afford to slip against a team whose season already is sliding away.
Florio’s pick: Colts 27, Broncos 13.
Buccaneers at Titans
MDS’s take: Benching Marcus Mariota for Ryan Tannehill was the right move, and I think the Titans will benefit from it against a Buccaneers team that it starting to come to the same realization about Jameis Winston that the Titans came to about Mariota.
MDS’s pick: Titans 20, Buccaneers 17.
Florio’s take: The first two picks in the 2015 draft meet again, with one of them on the sideline and the other one close to ending up there. Advantage, team that benched its top-two pick.
Florio’s pick: Titans 24, Buccaneers 20.
Cardinals at Saints
MDS’s take: The Saints are 5-0 with Teddy Bridgewater, and whether he starts his sixth game or Drew Brees returns, they should win against a Cardinals team that is playing better recently but not quite there yet.
MDS’s pick: Saints 27, Cardinals 17.
Florio’s take: Drew Brees is likely back. Even without him, Saints keep roling.
Florio’s pick: Saints 31, Cardinals 13.
Bengals at Rams
MDS’s take: It’s been an ugly season in Cincinnati and it’s not changing any time soon. The Rams will roll.
MDS’s pick: Rams 31, Bengals 10.
Florio’s take: Another week, another get-right game for the Rams.
Florio’s pick: Rams 34, Bengals 13.
Jets at Jaguars
MDS’s take: The lingering humiliation from Monday night is going to take some time for the Jets to shake. The Jaguars won’t beat them as badly as the Patriots did, but the Jaguars will beat them.
MDS’s pick: Jaguars 24, Jets 20.
Florio’s take: Haley Joel Darnold may not be seeing dead people in Jacksonville, but he’ll see the home team finish with more points than the visitors.
Florio’s pick: Jaguars 24, Jets 10.
Giants at Lions
MDS’s take: The Lions are slipping after a strong start, but the Giants coming to town should make things easier.
MDS’s pick: Lions 28, Giants 14.
Florio’s take: The Lions could have won each of their last three games. They should beat the Giants, and it could get ugly.
Florio’s pick: Lions 28, Giants 17.
Chargers at Bears
MDS’s take: The Bears have made plenty of mistakes in building their offense, and those mistakes were on display last week against the Saints. But I think Matt Nagy is a smart enough coach to get things turned around quickly, and they’ll look much better against the Chargers.
MDS’s pick: Bears 24, Chargers 17.
Florio’s take: They were a combined 24-8 last year; this year, they’re a combined 5-8. If the Bears were facing anyone other than the Chargers, I’d have little faith in the Bears.
Florio’s pick: Bears 27, Chargers 17.
Eagles at Bills
MDS’s take: Logically, the 5-1 Bills should be the obvious choice at home against the 3-4 Eagles. And yet I just think the Eagles are better than their record suggests, and the Bills are worse.
MDS’s pick: Eagles 21, Bills 20.
Florio’s take: The Bills have won a lot of close games. It’s time for them to lose a close game against a desperate team.
Florio’s pick: Eagles 24, Bills 20.
Seahawks at Falcons
MDS’s take: The Falcons’ defense makes every quarterback look good, and Russell Wilson will be great in Atlanta on Sunday.
MDS’s pick: Seahawks 35, Falcons 10.
Florio’s take: A couple of years ago, the Falcons were good enough to beat the Seahawks in the playoffs. Now? Not.
Florio’s pick: Seahawks 34, Falcons 16.
Panthers at 49ers
MDS’s take: Kyle Allen has looked great so far as the Panthers’ starting quarterback, but he hasn’t faced a defense like San Francisco’s. He’s going to struggle on Sunday.
MDS’s pick: 49ers 14, Panthers 6.
Florio’s take: This one won’t be as easy as other recent games have been for the 49ers, but the undefeated season will find a way to continue — at least for now.
Florio’s pick: 49ers 24, Panthers 17.
Browns at Patriots
MDS’s take: This is not the defense for Baker Mayfield to get on track against. It could get ugly in New England.
MDS’s pick: Patriots 27, Browns 7.
Florio’s take: The Browns have a long way to go to become the Patriots. On Sunday, the Browns will find out just how far they have to go, the hard way.
Florio’s pick: Patriots 35, Browns 16.
Raiders at Texans
MDS’s pick: Texans 34, Raiders 13.
Florio’s take: Another week, another opportunity for Jon Gruden to watch an opposing quarterback who is much better than his current quarterback.
Florio’s pick: Texans 27, Raiders 23.
Packers at Chiefs
MDS’s take: What could have been a great game, Aaron Rodgers vs. Patrick Mahomes, now has just one of the great quarterbacks. As a result, I’m picking the Packers to win a game when I otherwise would have bet on the Chiefs.
MDS’s pick: Packers 24, Chiefs 20.
Florio’s take: Mahomes or no Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers is operating on a different level.
Florio’s pick: Packers 34, Chiefs 27.
Dolphins at Steelers
MDS’s take: The Steelers aren’t very good this year, but they don’t have to be to beat the Dolphins.
MDS’s pick: Steelers 21, Dolphins 10.
Florio’s take: The Steelers show up in prime time. The Dolphins show up at no time.
Florio’s pick: Steelers 31, Dolphins 10.