Football is back, along with our efforts to make sense of what will happen in the various football matches.
It’s the weekly pick item, with MDS and yours truly battling it out, picking each match.
I think I won last year. I don’t remember, actually. I guess someone will correct me if I’m wrong.
Whether or not I recognize the correction is a different matter.
Hopefully my picks for week one will need little editing. We disagree on four of the 16 games.
For all the choices, scroll down.
Bills (-2.5) at Rams
MDS point of view: The Bills are the preseason Super Bowl favorites, and in week one, they’re favorites to beat the defending Super Bowl champions. And yet, I have a feeling Matthew Stafford will duel Josh Allen as the Rams win.
The choice of MDS: Rams 27, Bills 20.
Florio’s review: Long flight, high expectations, hot night, great opponent. Additionally, Sean McVay is 5-0 in Week 1. Hang the banner and write a W for LA guys
Florio’s choice: Rams 30, Bills 24.
Saints (-5.5) at Falcons
MDS point of view: 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.
The choice of MDS: Saints 33, Falcons 31.
Florio’s review: The post-Payton Saints are off to a good start against the outclassed Falcons. We’ll see if it lasts.
Florio’s choice: Saints 24, Falcons 17.
49ers (-7) at Bears
MDS point of view: I’m not convinced by Trey Lance or Justin Fields, but I think the 49ers will fight defensively.
The choice of MDS: 49ers 13, Bears 10.
Florio’s review: The Bears don’t have the talent to compete with an elite team, especially not from the start.
Florio’s choice: 49ers 24, Bears 14.
Steelers (+6.5) at Bengals
MDS point of view: Mitchell Trubisky is going to have a better season than people think for the Steelers, but not such a good season that I expect him to surpass Joe Burrow in the first week.
The choice of MDS: Bengals 24, Steelers 21.
Florio’s review: The Steelers are still as dangerous as they are hunted. They are even more dangerous than the hunter.
Florio’s choice: Steelers 23, Bengals 20.
Eagles (-4) to Lions
MDS point of view: The Lions strike me as an improved team – but probably the kind of improved team that loses a lot of close games instead of losing blowouts.
The choice of MDS: Eagles 21, Lions 20.
Florio’s review: The Eagles have high expectations. The best way to start respecting them is to beat an inferior team.
Florio’s choice: Eagles 27, Lions 20.
Patriots (+3.5) at Dolphins
MDS point of view: I’m not as sold on the Dolphins’ new offense as some are, and I think Bill Belichick is going to have a few defensive wrinkles in store that will help the Patriots win a low-scoring game.
The choice of MDS: Patriots 16, Dolphins 13.
Florio’s review: The Patriots are struggling in Miami when they have the best team. How will they do it when they don’t?
Florio’s choice: Dolphins 27, Patriots 20.
Ravens (-7) at the Jets
MDS point of view: Looks like it’s going to be a long season for the Jets, and a bouncing season for the Ravens.
The choice of MDS: Ravens 31, Jets 17.
Florio’s review: Joe Flacco is not an elite. Neither did the rest of his team.
Florio’s choice: Ravens 27, Jets 17.
Jaguars (+2.5) at Commanders
MDS point of view: The Jaguars have to be better than they were in the last two disastrous seasons, but the Commanders will win a close game in the first week.
The choice of MDS: Commanders 14, Jaguars 13.
Florio’s review: Just as Carson Wentz finally puts last year’s season-ending debacle behind him in Jacksonville, here come the Jaguars.
Florio’s choice: Jaguars 24, Commanders 20.
Browns (+1.5) at Panthers
MDS point of view: Baker Mayfield takes his revenge. In the long term, maybe the Browns’ decision to leave Mayfield will be justified, but in the short term, it’s been a horrible offseason for Cleveland that will be followed by a poor start to the regular season.
The choice of MDS: Panthers 23, Browns 20.
Florio’s review: Maybe Baker Mayfield didn’t say he wanted to screw up the Browns. But he absolutely wants to. And he will.
Florio’s choice: Panthers 27, Browns 21.
Colts (-7) at the Texans
MDS point of view: These two teams look better than last year, but I have more confidence in Matt Ryan than in Davis Mills to play well in the first game.
The choice of MDS: Colts 24, Texans 20.
Florio’s review: Matt Ryan may not be a five-year-old 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 choice: Colts 31, Texans 20.
Giants (+5.5) at Titans
MDS point of view: The Titans have had a weird offseason for a team that was the AFC’s No. 1 seed last year, looking more like a rebuilding team than a team trying to make it to the Super Bowl. I still think they are better than the Giants.
The choice of MDS: Titans 20, Giants 17.
Florio’s review: The Titans lost at home in Week 1 last year, 38-13 to the Cardinals. Mike Vrabel surely hasn’t forgotten him, and he surely hasn’t let his players forget him either.
Florio’s choice: Titans 27, Giants 10.
Packers (-1.5) at Vikings
MDS point of view: The Packers should sail to their fourth straight NFC North title and start with a road victory against the second-best team in the division.
The choice of MDS: Packers 28, Vikings 21.
Florio’s review: The Vikings will instantly be better than they were last year. The Packers could possibly be better too. However, it will take time for them to get there.
Florio’s choice: Vikings 28, Packers 24.
Chiefs (-6) at Cardinals
MDS point of view: I like that the Chiefs won this one big, with Patrick Mahomes putting on a show and Kyler Murray struggling to keep up.
The choice of MDS: Chiefs 35, Cardinals 20.
Florio’s review: Too many people are sleeping on the Chiefs. Here is the first warning signal from the world of football.
Florio’s choice: Chiefs 35, Cardinals 24.
Raiders (+3) at Chargers
MDS point of view: Last year’s Sunday night Finals rematch will end differently, as this time it’s the Chargers who win a close one.
The choice of MDS: Chargers 31, Raiders 30.
Florio’s review: The Chargers have a knack for seeing things go wrong. For now, however, they are good enough to start off on the right foot by holding home serve against a division rival.
Florio’s choice: Chargers 34, Raiders 30.
Buccaneers (-2.5) at Cowboys
MDS point of view: Tom Brady may have taken a long time off in training camp, but when games count for real, he’s going to turn it on and beat the Cowboys.
The choice of MDS: Buccaneers 27, Cowboys 20.
Florio’s review: Tom Brady only played AT&T Stadium once. The Cowboys will be happy never to see him there again.
Florio’s choice: Buccaneers 31, Cowboys 28,
Broncos (-6.5) at Seahawks
MDS point of view: Russell Wilson will pick up a win when he returns to Seattle, but it won’t be as easy as some think because the Seahawks’ defense will prove better than expected.
The choice of MDS: Broncos 17, Seahawks 14.
Florio’s review: The Seahawks lack the horses to keep up with the Broncos and Russell Wilson.
Florio’s choice: Broncos 28, Seahawks 14.
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