Football teams are always looking for consistency. I’ve achieved it.
I’m consistently mediocre.
For yet another week, I was 10-6 when picking games straight up. MDS, in contrast, hit on 12 of 16 games.
For the year, I’m at 49-31. MDS is 48-32.
This week, we disagree on three games. For all of the selections, you know what to do.
Buccaneers (-7.5) at Eagles
MDS’s take: Tom Brady and the Buccaneers are, at least in the regular season, playing even better than they did last year. They’ll cruise in Philadelphia.
MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 30, Eagles 20.
Florio’s take: The Eagles are still figuring out who they are. The Bucs know.
Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 34, Eagles 21.
Dolphins (-3.5) at Jaguars
MDS’s take: Another garbage game for the London fans. I don’t think I’d pick the Jaguars to beat anyone right now, but if there’s one team they could beat, it would be the Dolphins.
MDS’s pick: Dolphins 21, Jaguars 20.
Florio’s take: Florida has one of the best teams in football, and two of the worst. The loser of their London date officially becomes the Sunshine State’s unofficial slug. I can’t believe I’m doing this, but I think the Jaguars will finally get a long-awaited win.
Florio’s pick: Jaguars 23, Dolphins 20.
Texans (+9.5) at Colts
MDS’s take: I was impressed with Texans quarterback Davis Mills last week against the Patriots, and I think he’ll do the same thing this week: Play reasonably well, but not well enough for the overmatched Texans to win.
MDS’s pick: Colts 28, Texans 21.
Florio’s take: Can the Colts put Monday night’s loss behind them? They should find encouragement in their showing, and they should start of process of trying to catch the Titans.
Florio’s pick: Colts 35, Texans 17.
Packers (-4.5) at Bears
MDS’s take: This is a very big game in the NFC North, where a Packers win would give Green Bay a stranglehold on the division. I think the Packers will do it.
MDS’s pick: Packers 24, Bears 14.
Florio’s take: Somehow, the Bears are 3-2. Somehow, a win over the Packers would put them in first place in the division. It will take a lot more than “somehow” for that to happen.
Florio’s pick: Packers 28, Bears 20.
Chiefs (-7) at Washington
MDS’s take: The Chiefs’ offense is the best in the league and their defense is the worst. I think the great offense is sustainable, while the defense should regress toward the mean a little bit, and the Chiefs will look better the rest of the way than they have through five games.
MDS’s pick: Chiefs 34, Washington 20.
Florio’s take: The Chiefs’ three losses have come against 4-1 teams. Here’s a chance to get right.
Florio’s pick: Chiefs 38, Washington 21.
Vikings (-1) at Panthers
MDS’s take: The Vikings have been better than their record suggests and the Panthers have been worse.
MDS’s pick: Vikings 24, Panthers 20.
Florio’s take: This one may come down to whether Christian McCaffrey can play. Even if he can, defenses seem to be catching up with Sam Darnold in the Joe Brady offense.
Florio’s pick: Vikings 27, Panthers 21.
Chargers (+3) at Ravens
MDS’s take: I love the way Justin Herbert is playing right now, and I think the Ravens’ pass defense is suspect. Look for Herbert to have a very big game.
MDS’s pick: Chargers 31, Ravens 28.
Florio’s take: The Ravens finally figured out how to drive a stick shift on Monday night, when they had no choice but to pass their way back into the game against the Colts. The Chargers are very good, but something’s gotta give.
Florio’s pick: Ravens 30, Chargers 28.
Bengals (-3.5) at Lions
MDS’s take: The Lions play hard and stay competitive, but they just don’t have the talent on their roster. While the Lions just start to rebuild, the Bengals are already on the way to a successful rebuilding effort.
MDS’s pick: Bengals 28, Lions 23.
Florio’s take: Dan Campbell’s show of emotion won him many admirers. He still needs to win a game. It will be not easy to do that against an underrated Bengals team.
Florio’s pick: Bengals 28, Lions 20.
Rams (-10.5) at Giants
MDS’s take: Matthew Stafford is continuing to play at a very high level in Sean McVay’s offense, and I think he’ll keep it up against a Giants defense that just can’t get pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
MDS’s pick: Rams 33, Giants 21.
Florio’s take: The Giants are too banged up, and the Rams are too good.
Florio’s pick: Rams 38, Giants 20.
Cardinals (+2.5) at Browns
MDS’s take: The Browns are favored, but I like the way the Cardinals’ offense is playing well enough that I’m going to pick them to stay undefeated with a big road win.
MDS’s pick: Cardinals 28, Browns 27.
Florio’s take: It’s double-correction Sunday. The Browns should be better than 3-2. They will be on Sunday.
Florio’s pick: Browns 24, Cardinals 17.
Raiders (+3.5) at Broncos
MDS’s take: How will the Raiders do in the first game of the post-Jon Gruden era? Not well, in my view.
MDS’s pick: Broncos 30, Raiders 17.
Florio’s take: The Raiders are reeling. The Broncos are, too, but for far different reasons.
Florio’s pick: Broncos 24, Raiders 13.
Cowboys (-4) at Patriots
MDS’s take: The Patriots barely escaped with a win over the Texans last week. The other Texas team isn’t going to take it so easy on them.
MDS’s pick: Cowboys 34, Patriots 27.
Florio’s take: America’s Team 1.0 gets the better of America’s Team 2.0, and the Pats fall to a stunning 0-4 at home.
Florio’s pick: Cowboys 31, Patriots 23.
Seahawks (+4.5) at Steelers
MDS’s take: It’s Geno Smith vs. Ben Roethlisberger, and I’m not sure who the better quarterback is. But the Steelers have the better defense, and that will make the difference.
MDS’s pick: Steelers 20, Seahawks 10.
Florio’s take: The Pittsburgh offense isn’t good, but the Seattle defense is worse. And even though Geno Smith played well last Thursday night, he’s a career backup for a reason.
Florio’s pick: Steelers 23, Seahawks 14.
Bills (-6) at Titans
MDS’s take: The Bills’ defense is dominating everyone it faces, and that won’t change this week.
MDS’s pick: Bills 28, Titans 14.
Florio’s take: The Bills remain the only dominant team in the NFL. They’ll still be the only dominant team in the NFL come Tuesday.
Florio’s pick: Bills 34, Titans 17.