Week Five was a good week in that most of the games were played. Week Five was a bad week in that we didn’t do very well picking games, especially against the spread.
Straight up, my faith in the Panthers delivered a one-game bump, 9-5 versus 8-6 for MDS. Against the spread, I hit on only six of 14. MDS was 4-10.
For the year, he’s 50-27 straight up and 35-41-1 against the spread. I’m now 49-28 and 38-37-2.
Our picks for Week Six appear below, with three straight-up disagreements.
Texans (+3) at Titans
MDS’s take: The Titans made a major statement with Tuesday night’s win over the Bills, and I see them keeping it going on Sunday. Despite having to come back from a short week against a Texans team that’s motivated to turn things around after its ugly start.
MDS’s pick: Titans 24, Texans 14.
Florio’s take: The Titans thrive on adversity and turmoil. The Texans don’t.
Florio’s pick: Titans 30, Texans 13.
Bengals (+7.5) at Colts
MDS’s take: Joe Burrow has been struggling mightily to deal with pass pressure, and the Colts’ defense is good at bringing the pressure. This one could get tough for the rookie quarterback.
MDS’s pick: Colts 17, Bengals 7.
Florio’s take: The Bengals need a least two drafts to get enough help around Joe Burrow.
Florio’s pick: Colts 24, Bengals 10.
Falcons (+4) at Vikings
MDS’s take: The Falcons’ problems go far beyond head coach Dan Quinn, and firing him isn’t going to fix much.
MDS’s pick: Vikings 28, Falcons 13.
Florio’s take: Sometimes, going with an interim coach makes a team instantly better. Sometimes, it doesn’t.
Florio’s pick: Vikings 31, Falcons 20.
Broncos (+9.5) at Patriots
MDS’s take: The Patriots have been hit hard by COVID-19, but the Broncos have been hit even harder by injuries.
MDS’s pick: Patriots 28, Broncos 17.
Florio’s take: The extra week allowed both teams to get their starting quarterbacks back. Advantage, team with the former MVP at quarterback.
Florio’s pick: Patriots 31, Broncos 17.
Washington (+2.5) at Giants
MDS’s take: There are major questions about whether Washington has a capable starting quarterback on its roster, either for now or for the future. And yet I have a feeling Ron Rivera’s defense will demonstrate that the Giants have a pretty big question mark at quarterback as well.
MDS’s pick: Washington 17, Giants 13.
Florio’s take: Something’s Gotta Give week lets Washington get their second win of the season.
Florio’s pick: Washington 20, Giants 14.
Ravens (-7.5) at Eagles
MDS’s take: Carson Wentz is looking better the last couple weeks than he did in his disastrous start, but the Ravens’ defense should dominate the Eagles up front and the Ravens’ running game will sit on the lead.
MDS’s pick: Ravens 20, Eagles 10.
Florio’s take: The Ravens are running roughshod over every team not from Missouri.
Florio’s pick: Ravens 34, Eagles 20.
Browns (+3.5) at Steelers
MDS’s take: I’m tempted to pick the Browns in what is one of the biggest games the franchise has played since its return in 1999. But I just think the Steelers are a little more experienced in big games and more prepared to win a game like this one.
MDS’s pick: Steelers 27, Browns 21.
Florio’s take: It’s easy to be influenced by the fact that the Browns have been the Browns and that the Steelers have been the Steelers. Set that aside; the Steelers have had a hard time with a quartet of not-so-good teams. The Browns, in contrast, have held up very well against better competition. The key will be whether Baker Mayfield can buy time against the Pittsburgh front seven, and whether the Cleveland offensive line can give Mayfield the time he needs.
Florio’s pick: Browns 21, Steelers 20.
Bears (+1.5) at Panthers
MDS’s take: The Panthers are on a roll, and I see them keeping it going, with their defense stifling Nick Foles.
MDS’s pick: Panthers 13, Bears 10.
Florio’s take: The Panthers have rewritten the rules of rebuilding. But the Bears quietly are building their own powerhouse, and the fact that Chicago is an underdog at 4-1 will get them properly lathered up to end Carolina’s unlikely three-game winning streak.
Florio’s pick: Bears 20, Panthers 17.
Lions (-3) at Jaguars
MDS’s take: The Lions’ defense has struggled to protect leads all season, and I see it happening again, with Detroit taking an early lead but Gardner Minshew leading a Jaguars comeback.
MDS’s pick: Jaguars 21, Lions 20.
Florio’s take: The Jaguars have become the ultimate tonic for a struggling team. If Detroit can’t beat Jacksonville with two weeks to prepare, they should move across the border and join the CFL.
Florio’s pick: Lions 24, Jaguars 17.
Jets (+9.5) at Dolphins
MDS’s take: The Dolphins won a blowout last week and they’ll make it two in a row this week, as Ryan Fitzpatrick continues to keep Tua Tagovailoa on the bench.
MDS’s pick: Dolphins 30, Jets 13.
Florio’s take: It would be fitting for FitMagic to flip back to FitzTragic against the Jets. Meanwhile, this may be the last, best chance to the Jets to win a game before the bye week.
Florio’s pick: Dolphins 24, Jets 20.
Packers (-1) at Buccaneers
MDS’s take: Sunday’s marquee matchup is a meeting of Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, and I think Rodgers gets the better end of that battle in a close Packers win.
MDS’s pick: Packers 31, Buccaneers 30.
Florio’s take: Aaron Rodgers has a chance to emerge from a rare battle with the GOAT reminding Tom Brady and everyone else that, if Rodgers had been New England’s quarterback over the last 15 years, they’d possibly have 10 Super Bowl titles.
Florio’s pick: Packers 34, Buccaneers 27.
Rams (-3.5) at 49ers
MDS’s take: I have a feeling the 49ers are heading toward a long losing streak, as their injuries are catching up with them and their schedule is brutal.
MDS’s pick: Rams 28, 49ers 14.
Florio’s take: The unofficial NFC East champs face the worst team in the NFC West, at a vulnerable time.
Florio’s pick: Rams 27, 49ers 17.
Chiefs (-3.5) at Bills
MDS’s take: Both of these teams are coming off upset losses, but I trust the Chiefs more to bounce back quickly.
MDS’s pick: Chiefs 21, Bills 17.
Florio’s take: Desperation quickly sets in for a pair of previously 4-0 teams. The Chiefs tend to bring it when they think they must.
Florio’s pick: Chiefs 31, Bills 24.
Cardinals (-2) at Cowboys
MDS’s take: If Dak Prescott were healthy I’d pick the Cowboys, but I have my doubts about how well the Cowboys’ offense can perform with Andy Dalton at the helm.
MDS’s pick: Cardinals 20, Cowboys 10.
Florio’s take: Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury, buoyed by a return to Texas, take care of a Cowboys team still reeling from the injury to Dak Prescott.
Florio’s pick: Cardinals 27, Cowboys 20.