Last week wasn’t great for us. Was it great for anyone who picks games?
Weird outcomes dotted the slate of 16 contests. A 3-0 run in the final prime-time games got me to .500, at 8-8. MDS finished 7-9.
For the year, I’m 17-14-1. MDS is 14-17-1.
This week, we disagree once again on five games. For all picks, scroll away.
Steelers (+4.5) at Browns
MDS’s take: The Steelers’ defense misses T.J. Watt, and their offense just isn’t very good. The Browns rebound from last week’s shocking loss with a solid home win.
MDS’s pick: Browns 24, Steelers 13.
Florio’s take: Who has a players-only meeting after two games? The Browns, apparently. On a short week, it may be too much to expect the Browns to put the blown opportunity against the Jets behind them.
Florio’s pick: Steelers 20, Browns 14.
Texans (+3) at Bears
MDS’s take: This Texans team has looked better than I was expecting, while the Bears look like they don’t believe in Justin Fields and are calling plays to avoid having to make him do much of anything. I like the Texans in an upset.
MDS’s pick: Texans 17, Bears 14.
Florio’s take: The Bears gave the Packers more of a fight than most expected, with the final score misleading. The Texans’ ability to tie the Colts looked a lot worse after the Colts got goose-egged by the Jaguars.
Florio’s pick: Bears 17, Texans 13.
Raiders (-2) at Titans
MDS’s take: The Titans are perhaps this year’s biggest disappointment, a No. 1 seed from last year that is looking like a rebuilding team this year. The Raiders get their first win of the season.
MDS’s pick: Raiders 23, Titans 20.
Florio’s take: How are the Raiders favored in this one? They blew a 20-point lead at home. And while the Titans were blown out on Monday night, it was the Bills. In a battle of 0-2 teams where one has a new regime and one doesn’t, I’ll take the one that doesn’t.
Florio’s pick: Titans 24, Raiders 20.
Chiefs (-6.5) at Colts
MDS’s take: The Colts are a mess right now. I have a hard time seeing them even keeping it close against the Chiefs.
MDS’s pick: Chiefs 31, Colts 10.
Florio’s take: The Chiefs once blew a huge lead during a playoff game in Indy. That won’t happen again.
Florio’s pick: Chiefs 41, Colts 17.
Bills (-5.5) at Dolphins
MDS’s take: The Bills have steamrolled the competition two weeks in a row, and they’ll keep it going against a Miami team that is also 2-0 but isn’t in the same class as Buffalo.
MDS’s pick: Bills 28, Dolphins 17.
Florio’s take: The Buffalo defense should be better equipped to make a stop or two of the Miami offense than the Miami defense will be of the Buffalo offense.
Florio’s pick: Bills 38, Dolphins 31.
Lions (+6) at Vikings
MDS’s take: The Lions’ offense is better than people think, but their secondary will struggle against Justin Jefferson and the Vikings will pull off a narrow win.
MDS’s pick: Vikings 35, Lions 31.
Florio’s take: This has become a sneaky great rivalry, with a couple of barnburners in 2021. The Vikings should be able to win at home. Whichever team prevails, the final score should be close enough for the Lion to cover.
Florio’s pick: Vikings 27, Lions 24.
Ravens (-3) at Patriots
MDS’s take: Lamar Jackson is playing some of his best football right now, and he’ll cruise to a big game in New England.
MDS’s pick: Ravens 31, Patriots 20.
Florio’s take: If Baltimore can get J.K. Dobbins back, the offense would get a major boost. Other than Lamar Jackson, no one is able to generate any real rushing yards for the Ravens. Meanwhile, the New England offense continues to be a work in progress,
Florio’s pick: Ravens 24, Patriots 14.
Bengals (-4.5) at Jets
MDS’s take: After a rough first couple of weeks, the Bengals will finally get on the board with a high-scoring win against a Jets team with an awful defense.
MDS’s pick: Bengals 38, Jets 27.
Florio’s take: The Bengals are getting desperate. The fact that they were upended by the Jets last year will make it less likely that they take the Jets lightly.
Florio’s pick: Bengals 31, Jets 24.
Eagles (-6.5) at Commanders
MDS’s pick: Eagles 28, Commanders 20.
Florio’s take: The Eagles are looking like a team of destiny. That’s something the Commanders haven’t looked like in more than 30 years.
Florio’s pick: Eagles 31, Commanders 17.
Saints (-3) at Panthers
MDS’s take: The Panthers’ rebuild just hasn’t taken off under Matt Rhule, and he’s running out of time to turn things around.
MDS’s pick: Saints 17, Panthers 10.
Florio’s take: If Matt Rhule doesn’t win this one, he may not make it to the end of the season. (He may not make it anyway.)
Florio’s pick: Panthers 23, Saints 20.
Jaguars (+7) at Chargers
MDS’s take: The Jaguars have played impressive football for new coach Doug Pederson, and an upset here wouldn’t shock me, but I think they’ll fall just short against Justin Herbert and a good Chargers offense.
MDS’s pick: Chargers 28, Jaguars 27.
Florio’s take: The Jags are on the rise. They’re good enough to keep this one close, and maybe win it.
Florio’s pick: Chargers 24, Jaguars 20.
Rams (-3.5) at Cardinals
MDS’s take: The NFC West looks wide open right now, but in this big game I like the Rams to make a statement that they’re still the best team in the division.
MDS’s pick: Rams 30, Cardinals 17.
Florio’s take: Kyler Murray looks like a different player when he has mobility and is given the green light to use it. In the playoff game against the Rams, he wasn’t healthy. He now is. #LetKylerCook.
Florio’s pick: Cardinals 30, Rams 23.
Falcons (+2) at Seahawks
MDS’s take: I don’t have high hopes for the Seahawks this season, but I do see them improving to 2-1 against an overmatched Falcons team.
MDS’s pick: Seahawks 24, Falcons 20.
Florio’s take: Seattle may not be a great team, but they’re good enough to beat the Falcons at home. If not, Drew Lock time is coming.
Florio’s pick: Seahawks 17, Falcons 14.
Packers (+1.5) at Buccaneers
MDS’s take: The Buccaneers’ defense has been excellent so far this season and will play well against Aaron Rodgers in what figures to be a close and low-scoring game.
MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 17, Packers 16.
Florio’s take: The Bucs are shifting toward a team that likes to run the ball and play defense. Whatever it takes to win. And it will be enough to win on Sunday.
Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 23, Packers 20.
49ers (-1.5) at Broncos
MDS’s take: Jimmy Garoppolo is better than Trey Lance, which means the 49ers have a better chance of winning in the short term, as unfortunate as Lance’s injury was for the 49ers’ long-term plans. They’ll win a tough one against Russell Wilson and the Broncos.
MDS’s pick: 49ers 24, Broncos 20.
Florio’s take: Something’s not right with this line. The Broncos are tangled up in the mechanics of play calling. The 49ers have an elite roster. Now that the quarterback situation has been resolved, look for the 49ers to begin to thrive.
Florio’s pick: 49ers 34, Broncos 20.
Cowboys (+2.5) at Giants
MDS’s take: Yes, the Giants are 2-0, but they’re about as unimpressive a 2-0 as it gets. Yes, the Cowboys are without Dak Prescott, but Cooper Rush has proven he can fill in adequately. I’m surprised the Giants are favored.
MDS’s pick: Cowboys 28, Giants 20.
Florio’s take: Some 0-2 teams are due to win. Some 2-0 teams are due to lose. The Giants are due to lose, and the Cowboys under Cooper Rush can do enough to win.
Florio’s pick: Cowboys 21, Giants 17.