I’m going to have a hard time catching MDS if we don’t disagree on more games. This week, we disagree only on two.
Best-case, I’ll trim his eight-game margin to six. Worst-case, he’ll have a 10-game lead with seven weeks left.
Last week, we each went 9-5. For the year, he’s now 89-46. I’m at 81-54.
Chargers at Raiders
MDS’s take: The Chargers made a statement with a big win over the Packers on Sunday, but I still think the Raiders are underrated and will keep their playoff hopes alive with a win.
MDS’s pick: Raiders 22, Chargers 17.
Florio’s take: Jon Gruden is back, baby. And the Raiders are making their last year in Oakland one to remember.
Florio’s pick: Raiders 24, Chargers 17.
Chiefs at Titans
MDS’s pick: Chiefs 24, Titans 20.
Florio’s take: Patrick Mahomes or Matt Moore, it won’t matter against an up-and-down Titans team that is a loss or two away from another unexpected winning streak.
Florio’s pick: Chiefs 27, Titans 17.
Cardinals at Buccaneers
MDS’s take: The Bucs have suffered some heartbreaking losses when the breaks didn’t go their way. Those things usually balance out over the course of a season, and I expect the Bucs to have a much better record over the rest of the season.
MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 30, Cardinals 20.
Florio’s take: A record four-game losing streak for Bruce Arians comes to an end against his former team.
Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 26, Cardinals 17.
Giants at Jets
MDS’s take: Two of the worst teams in the NFL share a stadium, and I expect a lot of empty seats even with both teams effectively playing at home. Neither of these teams has done anything to inspire confidence, but the Giants are playing a little better right now and should escape with a win.
MDS’s pick: Giants 20, Jets 17.
Florio’s take: The Snoopy Bowl gets played between a couple of Charlie Browns who have had the football yanked away from them.
Florio’s pick: Giants 23, Jets 17.
Falcons at Saints
MDS’s take: The Falcons’ defense is a mess, and Drew Brees should cruise to a big game.
MDS’s pick: Saints 38, Falcons 24.
Florio’s take: The Falcons could surprise the Saints. They could. They won’t.
Florio’s pick: Saints 31, Falcons 20.
Bills at Browns
MDS’s take: The Browns simply can’t be as bad as they’ve looked so far this season. I think a big special teams play will make the difference, and the Bills will stumble on the road.
MDS’s pick: Browns 17, Bills 16.
Florio’s take: It’s now or never for the Browns. And it could indeed be never. But they’re due to win at home, where they’ve generated an 0-3 record so far this season.
Florio’s pick: Browns 24, Bills 20.
Ravens at Bengals
MDS’s take: Against some teams, the Ravens’ defense could be ripe for a letdown this week. Not against the Ryan Finley-led Bengals offense.
MDS’s pick: Ravens 28, Bengals 3.
Florio’s take: This one has upset potential written all over it, but surely John Harbaugh won’t let the Ravens slip, trip, and fall after a season-defining win over the Patriots.
Florio’s pick: Ravens 31, Bengals 17.
Lions at Bears
MDS’s take: A visit from the Lions’ defense should be the thing to get Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears’ offense back on track.
MDS’s pick: Bears 28, Lions 24.
Florio’s take: The Bears aren’t good, but they aren’t horrible. And with their back against the wall, it’s time to get a win against a Lions team that still hasn’t learned how to.
Florio’s pick: Bears 23, Lions 20.
Dolphins at Colts
MDS’s take: The Colts are still right in the thick of the playoff hunt. They won’t let the Dolphins get two wins in a row.
MDS’s pick: Colts 24, Dolphins 13.
Florio’s take: The Colts will find a way to keep this one closer than it should be, and then they’ll find a way to win. As long as Adam Vinatieri doesn’t hit the turf before hitting the ball. Again.
Florio’s pick: Colts 20, Dolphins 17.
Rams at Steelers
MDS’s take: I’m impressed with the way the Steelers have played after their ugly start to the season, but I just can’t see the Mason Rudolph-led offense do much against a good Rams defense.
MDS’s pick: Rams 20, Steelers 7.
Florio’s take: The Super Bowl XIV rematch is a sneaky great game, with the loser having a wrench thrown into their postseason plans. Call it a gut feeling, but the Steelers find a way — even with Pittsburgh native and former Pitt standout Aaron Donald back in town.
Florio’s pick: Steelers 24, Rams 20.
Panthers at Packers
MDS’s take: The Packers turned in a terrible performance against the Chargers last week, but they should get back on track this week.
MDS’s pick: Packers 28, Panthers 17.
Florio’s take: The Panthers can thank the Chargers for what’s about to happen to them at Lambeau Field.
Florio’s pick: Packers 28, Panthers 14.
Vikings at Cowboys
MDS’s take: Dak Prescott isn’t getting enough credit for the outstanding season he’s having. With a big game in prime time against a good Vikings defense, he’ll start to get more credit.
MDS’s pick: Cowboys 30, Vikings 21.
Florio’s take: Another big game for the Vikings and Kirk Cousins. Another big opportunity to change the narrative that Cousins can’t deliver in a big spot. Another failure to get it done.
Florio’s pick: Cowboys 27, Vikings 17.
Seahawks at 49ers
MDS’s take: Russell Wilson is an MVP candidate running the Seahawks’ offense, but he’ll struggle against the outstanding 49ers defense.
MDS’s pick: 49ers 21, Seahawks 13.
Florio’s take: The 49ers won’t go undefeated, and it’s starting to feel like they’re due to lose. The Seahawks are good enough to be the ones to deliver that first defeat.
Florio’s pick: Seahawks 23, 49ers 13.