Football is back, along with our effort to make sense of what will happen during the various football games.
It’s the weekly picks item, with MDS and yours truly doing battle, picking each and every game.
I think I won last year. I can’t remember, actually. I assume someone will correct me if I’m wrong.
Whether I acknowledge the correction is a different issue.
Hopefully, my picks for Week One will need little correction. We disagree on four of 16 games.
For all picks, scroll away.
Bills (-2.5) at Rams
MDS’s take: The Bills are the preseason Super Bowl favorites, and in Week One they’re the favorites to beat the defending Super Bowl champs. And yet I have a feeling that Matthew Stafford is going to out-duel Josh Allen as the Rams win.
MDS’s pick: Rams 27, Bills 20.
Florio’s take: Long flight, high expectations, hot night, great opponent. Also, Sean McVay is 5-0 in Week One. Hang the banner, and chalk up a W for the guys from L.A.
Florio’s pick: Rams 30, Bills 24.
Saints (-5.5) at Falcons
MDS’s take: The Falcons’ offense is going to be better than people expect, but the Saints will still win this one in a close and exciting game.
MDS’s pick: Saints 33, Falcons 31.
Florio’s take: The post-Payton Saints get off to a good start against the overmatched Falcons. We’ll see whether it lasts.
Florio’s pick: Saints 24, Falcons 17.
49ers (-7) at Bears
MDS’s take: I’m not sold on either Trey Lance or Justin Fields, but I think the 49ers will eke out a defensive struggle.
MDS’s pick: 49ers 13, Bears 10.
Florio’s take: The Bears don’t have the talent to compete with an elite team, especially not right out of the gates.
Florio’s pick: 49ers 24, Bears 14.
Steelers (+6.5) at Bengals
MDS’s take: Mitchell Trubisky is going to have a better season than people think for the Steelers, but not so good a season that I expect him to outplay Joe Burrow in Week One.
MDS’s pick: Bengals 24, Steelers 21.
Florio’s take: The Steelers are always dangerous as the hunted. They’re even more dangerous as the hunter.
Florio’s pick: Steelers 23, Bengals 20.
Eagles (-4) at Lions
MDS’s take: The Lions look to me like an improved team — but probably the kind of improved team that loses a lot of close games instead of losing blowouts.
MDS’s pick: Eagles 21, Lions 20.
Florio’s take: The Eagles have high expectations. The best way to begin living up to them is to beat an inferior team.
Florio’s pick: Eagles 27, Lions 20.
Patriots (+3.5) at Dolphins
MDS’s take: I’m not as sold on the Dolphins’ new-look offense as some are, and I think Bill Belichick is going to have some defensive wrinkles in store that help the Patriots win a low-scoring game.
MDS’s pick: Patriots 16, Dolphins 13.
Florio’s take: The Patriots struggle in Miami when they have the better team. How will they do when they don’t?
Florio’s pick: Dolphins 27, Patriots 20.
Ravens (-7) at Jets
MDS’s take: It looks like it’s going to be a long season for the Jets, and a rebound season for the Ravens.
MDS’s pick: Ravens 31, Jets 17.
Florio’s take: Joe Flacco isn’t elite. The rest of his team isn’t, either.
Florio’s pick: Ravens 27, Jets 17.
Jaguars (+2.5) at Commanders
MDS’s take: The Jaguars have to be better than they were in the last two disastrous seasons, but the Commanders will win a close game in Week One.
MDS’s pick: Commanders 14, Jaguars 13.
Florio’s take: Just as Carson Wentz finally puts last year’s season-ending debacle in Jacksonville behind him, here come the Jaguars.
Florio’s pick: Jaguars 24, Commanders 20.
Browns (+1.5) at Panthers
MDS’s take: Baker Mayfield gets his revenge. In the long run, perhaps the Browns’ decision to move on from Mayfield will be vindicated, but in the short term, it was an ugly offseason for Cleveland that will be followed by an ugly start to the regular season.
MDS’s pick: Panthers 23, Browns 20.
Florio’s take: Baker Mayfield may not have said he wants to f–k up the Browns. But he definitely wants to. And he will.
Florio’s pick: Panthers 27, Browns 21.
Colts (-7) at Texans
MDS’s take: Both of these teams look better than last year, but I have more faith in Matt Ryan than I do in Davis Mills to play well in the opener.
MDS’s pick: Colts 24, Texans 20.
Florio’s take: Matt Ryan may not be a five-year answer, but he’s the best quarterback they’ve had since Andrew Luck retired. The Texans, meanwhile, continue to be in the midst of a rebuild with no deadline for completion.
Florio’s pick: Colts 31, Texans 20.
Giants (+5.5) at Titans
MDS’s take: The Titans have had a strange offseason for a team that was the No. 1 seed in the AFC last year, looking more like a rebuilding team than a team that’s trying to get to the Super Bowl. I still think they’re better than the Giants, though.
MDS’s pick: Titans 20, Giants 17.
Florio’s take: The Titans lost at home in Week One last year, 38-13 to the Cardinals. Mike Vrabel surely hasn’t forgotten that, and he surely hasn’t let his players forget it, either.
Florio’s pick: Titans 27, Giants 10.
Packers (-1.5) at Vikings
MDS’s take: The Packers should cruise to their fourth straight NFC North title and get it started with a road win against the second-best team in the division.
MDS’s pick: Packers 28, Vikings 21.
Florio’s take: The Vikings will instantly be better than they were last year. The Packers may eventually be better, too. It will take them some time to get there, however.
Florio’s pick: Vikings 28, Packers 24.
Chiefs (-6) at Cardinals
MDS’s take: I like the Chiefs to win this one big, with Patrick Mahomes putting on a show and Kyler Murray struggling to keep up.
MDS’s pick: Chiefs 35, Cardinals 20.
Florio’s take: Too many people are sleeping on the Chiefs. Here comes the football world’s first wake-up call.
Florio’s pick: Chiefs 35, Cardinals 24.
Raiders (+3) at Chargers
MDS’s take: The rematch of last year’s Sunday night finale will end differently, as this time it’s the Chargers winning a close one.
MDS’s pick: Chargers 31, Raiders 30.
Florio’s take: The Chargers have a knack for seeing things go sideways. For now, though, they’re good enough to get off on the right foot by holding serve at home against a division rival.
Florio’s pick: Chargers 34, Raiders 30.
Buccaneers (-2.5) at Cowboys
MDS’s take: Tom Brady may have taken a long leave of absence during training camp, but when the games count for real, he’s going to turn it on and beat the Cowboys.
MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 27, Cowboys 20.
Florio’s take: Tom Brady has only played once before in AT&T Stadium. The Cowboys will be happy to never see him there again.
Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 31, Cowboys 28,
Broncos (-6.5) at Seahawks
MDS’s take: Russell Wilson will get a win in his return to Seattle, but it’s not going to be as easy as some think, as the Seahawks’ defense will prove to be better than expected.
MDS’s pick: Broncos 17, Seahawks 14.
Florio’s take: The Seahawks lack the horses to keep up with the Broncos and Russell Wilson.
Florio’s pick: Broncos 28, Seahawks 14.