Yes, it’s already Week Six. Finally, the byes begin. Which means fewer opportunities to get games right.
And fewer opportunities to get games wrong.
Last week, I had another 12-4 performance. MDS went 11-5.
For the year, I’m at 49-30-1. MDS is 41-38-1.
This week, we disagree on five games. For all selections, keep scrolling.
Commanders (even) at Bears
MDS’s take: This should be the NFL’s second consecutive lousy Thursday night game, between two teams that appear to be having some buyer’s remorse about their quarterbacks. I have a little more faith in Justin Fields than in Carson Wentz.
MDS’s pick: Bears 16, Commanders 13.
Florio’s take: The short week is a bad week for any team to have a distraction created by the coach misspeaking. The misstep should help the Bears get back to .500.
Florio’s pick: Bears 20, Commanders 13.
49ers (-5.5) at Falcons
MDS’s take: The 49ers are now the clear favorites in the NFC West, and they’ll cruise against a Falcons team that isn’t going anywhere in the NFC South.
MDS’s pick: 49ers 27, Falcons 17.
Florio’s take: The 49ers don’t mess around with inferior foes; they dismantle them.
Florio’s pick: 49ers 30, Falcons 13.
Patriots (+2.5) at Browns
MDS’s take: The Browns have a good offense that should be able to move the ball against the Patriots, and I don’t trust rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe to put many points on the board even against a bad Cleveland defense.
MDS’s pick: Browns 24, Patriots 17.
Florio’s take: The Patriots are getting better. The Browns are becoming too inconsistent.
Florio’s pick: Patriots 24, Browns 20.
Jets (+7.5) at Packers
MDS’s take: Aaron Rodgers was right when he said that the Packers haven’t played four good quarters yet this season. I don’t think they’ll play a great game on Sunday, either, but I don’t think they’ll need to play a great game to beat the Jets.
MDS’s pick: Packers 27, Jets 24.
Florio’s take: The Packers are having a hard time putting inferior teams away. The Jets may not be all that inferior.
Florio’s pick: Packers 27, Jets 20.
Jaguars (+2) at Colts
MDS’s take: Early in the season I thought the Jaguars were making a lot of progress toward turning the franchise around. Sunday’s loss to the Texans made me reconsider that.
MDS’s pick: Colt’s 24, Jaguar’s 20.
Florio’s take: The Colts find a way to get on the right side of .500. Somehow.
Florio’s pick: Colt’s 20, Jaguar’s 17.
Vikings (-3.5) at Dolphins
MDS’s take: Top to bottom the Dolphins are the better team, but with rookie Skylar Thompson set to make the first start of his NFL career in Miami, I have to go with the Vikings.
MDS’s pick: Vikings 21, Dolphins 20.
Florio’s take: The Vikings keep doing just enough to win, thanks to plenty of good luck. Their luck runs out this week.
Florio’s pick: Dolphins 24, Vikings 21.
Bengals (-1.5) at Saints
MDS’s take: The Saints’ offense turned into an impressive performance without Jameis Winston last week, but the Bengals’ defense is playing very well this season and should lead them to a win in a low-scoring game.
MDS’s pick: Bengals 13, Saints 10.
Florio’s take: Joe Burrow returns to New Orleans and gets the Bengals back on the right track.
Florio’s pick: Bengals 28, Saints 20.
Ravens (-6) at Giants
MDS’s take: Give the Giants all the credit in the world for a 4-1 start in what was supposed to be a rebuilding season, but the Ravens are going to come to town and dominate them.
MDS’s pick: Raven’s 30, Giant’s 17.
Florio’s take: Don’t be surprised if the Giants pull this one off, thanks to the knowledge of the offense carried to New York by former Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale.
Florio’s pick: Giants 24, Ravens 20.
Buccaneers (-8) at Steelers
MDS’s take: It’s been an ugly season for the Steelers, and it’s going to get uglier when a good Buccaneers defense gets its hands on Kenny Pickett.
MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 20, Steelers 7.
Florio’s take: The hole keeps getting deeper for the Steelers. It’s hard to imagine them getting embarrassed two weeks in a row.
Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 24, Steelers 17.
Panthers (+10) at Rams
MDS’s take: PJ Walker will be an improvement over Baker Mayfield as the Panthers’ starting quarterback, but this Panthers team has too many holes, and the Rams should cruise.
MDS’s pick: Rams 30, Panthers 20.
Florio’s take: The Rams get back on track against a team reeling from the firing of Matt Rhule.
Florio’s pick: Rams 31, Panthers 13.
Cardinals (-3) at Seahawks
MDS’s take: The Seahawks’ offense has defied all expectations with Geno Smith running the show, but at some point they’re going to come back to earth, and I think that point may come this week.
MDS’s pick: Cardinals 17, Seahawks 16.
Florio’s take: The Seahawks are inconsistent. This feels like a week when they’ll be due to finagle a win.
Florio’s pick: Seahawks 30, Cardinals 27.
Bills (-2.5) at Chiefs
MDS’s take: This is billed as Josh Allen vs. Patrick Mahomes, but to me the difference is that the Bills have a better defense and better special teams.
MDS’s pick: Bills 28, Chiefs 24.
Florio’s take: This one may determine the site of the rematch. Last year, it didn’t. The Bills are the better team right now, the Chiefs are operating on a short week, and the Buffalo starters got a little extra rest during their blowout of the Bills.
Florio’s pick: Bills 31, Chiefs 24.
Cowboys (+6) at Eagles
MDS’s take: This looked like a good game before the season, but it looks like a great game now. The Eagles will earn a hard-fought win and put themselves in prime position to walk away with the NFC East.
MDS’s pick: Eagles 27, Cowboys 20.
Florio’s take: This one could go either way. The defense gives the Cowboys a slight edge.
Florio’s pick: Cowboys 20, Eagles 19.
Broncos (+4.5) at Chargers
MDS’s take: The Broncos’ offense has been abysmal this season, and I don’t see them scoring much on Monday night in Los Angeles. Justin Herbert will lead the Chargers to what should be an easy win.
MDS’s pick: Chargers 28, Broncos 14.
Florio’s take: At least this one isn’t in Denver.
Florio’s pick: Chargers 27, Broncos 16.