As we are learning the hard way, it’s a lot harder to pick against the spread than to pick straight up.
Last week, MDS and I both went 10-4 without taking the spread into account. With the spread, I was 6-8. He was, for the second straight week, 3-11.
For the year, I’m now leading straight up, 85-50 vs. 83-52. Against the spread, I’m at 63-66-3. MDS is strug-uh-ling at 51-80-2.
This week, we disagree on four games. Scroll away for the picks and scores.
Colts (even) at Titans
MDS’s take: This is a great Thursday night game, with the winner becoming the favorite to win the AFC South. The Colts’ defense is excellent, but I think Ryan Tannehill can have a strong game against them.
MDS’s pick: Titans 21, Colts 20.
Florio’s take: Both teams are flawed. The Titans currently are less flawed.
Florio’s pick: Titans 27, Colts 20.
Texans (+3) at Browns
MDS’s take: The Browns are playoff contenders halfway through the season, while the Texans are going nowhere. Cleveland will win big.
MDS’s pick: Browns 34, Texans 17.
Florio’s take: The Texans are in danger of becoming what the Browns used to be.
Florio’s pick: Browns 27, Texans 17.
Washington (+3.5) at Lions
MDS’s take: It’s going to be a long second half of the season for Washington, while the Lions are still clinging to slim playoff hopes. Detroit will take this one easily.
MDS’s pick: Lions 28, Washington 17.
Florio’s take: With a full week to practice, Alex Smith could get back to being Alex Smith again, nearly two years to the day after suffering a badly broken leg.
Florio’s pick: Washington 23, Lions 20.
Jaguars (+13.5) at Packers
MDS’s take: Jake Luton vs. Aaron Rodgers. Not a tough game to pick.
MDS’s pick: Packers 37, Jaguars 13.
Florio’s take: Viewer discretion is advised.
Florio’s pick: Packers 44, Jaguars 20.
Eagles (-3.5) at Giants
MDS’s take: I like the way the Giants have been playing in recent weeks, but I think over the second half of the season we’re going to see the Eagles get some separation in the NFC East.
MDS’s pick: Eagles 28, Giants 24.
Florio’s take: Would I be surprised that Brett Favre said what he said about Carson Wentz to light a little fire under Wentz, as a favor to Doug Pederson? No, not at all.
Florio’s pick: Eagles 30, Giants 23.
Buccaneers (-5.5) at Panthers
MDS’s take: The Buccaneers will bounce back from an ugly loss to the Saints and re-establish themselves as one of the NFC’s top teams.
MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 30, Panthers 20.
Florio’s take: The Panthers aren’t as bad as they were supposed to be, but it’s not a good idea to draw the Bucs in a bounce-back game.
Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 28, Panthers 17.
Broncos (+5) at Raiders
MDS’s take: The Raiders are making a push for the playoffs, and they’ll continue to march toward a wild card spot with a win over the Broncos.
MDS’s pick: Raiders 27, Broncos 24.
Florio’s take: If they don’t peek past the Broncos to the rematch with the Chiefs, the Raiders will be fine.
Florio’s pick: Raiders 28, Broncos 20.
Chargers (+2.5) at Dolphins
MDS’s take: In the battle of Justin Herbert vs. Tua Tagovailoa, I like the Dolphins to win and make it three in a row since making their quarterback switch.
MDS’s pick: Dolphins 23, Chargers 20.
Florio’s take: The Chargers are too good to be 2-6. The Dolphins have been overachieving. It’s time for a two-way correction.
Florio’s pick: Chargers 31, Dolphins 21.
Bills (+2) at Cardinals
MDS’s take: One of the best games of the day is in Arizona, where two exciting offenses square off. I like Kyler Murray to make a few more plays with his legs than Josh Allen does, and that will be the difference.
MDS’s pick: Cardinals 31, Bills 30.
Florio’s take: This game deserves a national platform, and these two teams could eventually meet in a Super Bowl.
Florio’s pick: Cardinals 27, Bills 24.
Seahawks (+1.5) at Rams
MDS’s take: The Seahawks’ defense needs a lot of work, but I think Russell Wilson can make enough plays on his own to lead the Seahawks to a high-scoring win.
MDS’s pick: Seahawks 35, Rams 31.
Florio’s take: Seattle needs to get back on the right track, quickly. It won’t be easy or pretty, but it should be exciting.
Florio’s pick: Seahawks 31, Rams 28.
49ers (+9.5) at Saints
MDS’s take: The Saints are playing their best football right now, while the 49ers’ injuries are too severe to overcome.
MDS’s pick: Saints 31, 49ers 20.
Florio’s take: The Saints will not go easy on a team that is missing so many great players.
Florio’s pick: Saints 34, 49ers 17.
Bengals (+7.5) at Steelers
MDS’s take: Assuming Ben Roethlisberger is cleared to play, this should be an easy win for the Steelers. And I’d take Pittsburgh even with Mason Rudolph.
MDS’s pick: Steelers 30, Bengals 20.
Florio’s take: It’s time. There have been too many close wins for Pittsburgh. And Joe Burrow is determined to will his team into fringe of the the playoff chase.
Florio’s pick: Bengals 27, Steelers 24.
Ravens (-7) at Patriots
MDS’s take: The Patriots barely beat a terrible Jets team on Monday night. They’re not going to have much luck against one of the best teams in the league.
MDS’s pick: Ravens 28, Patriots 17.
Florio’s take: The Ravens are not taking the Patriots lightly. Which means that the Ravens will not find a way to lose this one.
Florio’s pick: Ravens 24, Patriots 20.
Vikings (-2.5) at Bears
MDS’s take: It’s hard to believe how different both of these teams look than they did a few weeks ago. The Bears’ season is cratering, while the Vikings are still hoping for a late-season push to the playoffs. Minnesota gets an important division win.
MDS’s pick: Vikings 24, Bears 20.
Florio’s take: The Vikings have had a rough time in Chicago in recent years, and the organization still carries the scars from their playoff loss to Nick Foles. If the Bears can bottle up Dalvin Cook like they did last year at Soldier Field, the passing game can’t compensate.
Florio’s pick: Bears 19, Vikings 16.