I’m way behind MDS as the season comes to an end, and since we disagree on only one game this weekend, the chances of narrowing the gap are approaching the territory of slim and none.
Thus, I suppose I’ll concede the crown to MDS. Which means he gets the cash prize (there is none), the trophy (none), and the two weeks of paid vacation (also, none) that go with winning.
So congrats, MDS. Enjoy the victory. Until I win the postseason contest. Maybe.
Colts at Ravens
MDS’s take: The Colts are just playing out the string and the Ravens are fighting for a playoff spot, and I can’t see this one being very close.
MDS’s pick: Ravens 35, Colts 10.
Florio’s take: The Colts return to Baltimore, where the best revenge for their middle-of-the-night departure would be sending them limping back to Indy.
Florio’s pick: Ravens 30, Colts 17.
Vikings at Packers
MDS’s take: This game took a big hit with the Packers’ decision to shut down Aaron Rodgers for the season. The Vikings shouldn’t have too much trouble winning this one to stay in contention for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
MDS’s pick: Vikings 27, Packers 14.
Florio’s take: Green Bay has significant motivation to throw a wrench in Minnesota’s effort to get a bye week. But do they have the horsepower to do it? Brett Hundley and Joe Houlihan/Callahan/O’Hallahan are back, and that may not be enough to give the Vikings their fourth loss of the year.
Florio’s pick: Vikings 27, Packers 17.
Lions at Bengals
MDS’s take: The Bengals have looked like they’re ready to quit on the season amid reports that Marvin Lewis is ready to quit on the Bengals. The Lions are a long shot to make the playoffs, but they’ll stay alive heading into Week 17.
MDS’s pick: Lions 30, Bengals 20.
Florio’s take: The Bengals are falling apart. The Lions are fighting for a playoff berth.
Florio’s pick: Lions 23, Bengals 10.
Dolphins at Chiefs
MDS’s take: Despite a mid-season swoon, the Chiefs seem to be regaining their footing as they head to the playoffs. They’re going to win the AFC West and be a tough team to beat in January.
MDS’s pick: Chiefs 24, Dolphins 14.
Florio’s take: Adam Gase historically has done well against Bob Sutton’s defense. Yes, the Chiefs are trying to close out a division title. But they still have flaws on both sides of the ball, and the Dolphins showed not that long ago they know how to beat a playoff team.
Florio’s pick: Dolphins 27, Chiefs 16.
Bills at Patriots
MDS’s take: The Patriots now control their destiny for home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs, and they’ll take care of business against the Bills.
MDS’s pick: Patriots 30, Bills 17.
Florio’s take: The Pats are closing in on the No. 1 seed. And they learned the hard way two years ago the consequences of tripping over division rivals in the final weeks of the season.
Florio’s pick: Patriots 31, Bills 17.
Browns at Bears
MDS’s take: Can the Browns stave off 0-16? They can, but I don’t think they will: The Bears will take this one.
MDS’s pick: Bears 20, Browns 10.
Florio’s take: Either the Browns will get their first win of the year, or the Bears will get their first win under John Fox when favored. It probably will be a tie.
Florio’s pick: Bears 13, Browns 10.
Buccaneers at Panthers
MDS’s take: The Buccaneers competed hard in Monday night’s loss to the Falcons, but this time around I think they’ll be running on fumes on a short week. The Panthers should win comfortably.
MDS’s pick: Panthers 33, Buccaneers 20.
Florio’s take: The Bucs emptied the tank on Monday night. The Panthers still have a real shot at the No. 2 seed.
Florio’s pick: Panthers 30, Buccaneers 10.
Falcons at Saints
MDS’s take: This is one of the biggest games of the year, with both teams still fighting for playoff berths. I think the Saints are going to have too much offensive firepower for the Falcons to beat them in New Orleans.
MDS’s pick: Saints 28, Falcons 17.
Florio’s take: Three teams are clustered around the top of the NFC South, and the loser of this one will be relegated to wild-card status at best.
Florio’s pick: Saints 28, Falcons 24.
Broncos at Washington
MDS’s take: Neither team has anything to play for, but I think Kirk Cousins wants to put on a show as he heads toward free agency and will have a big game.
MDS’s pick: Washington 31, Broncos 17.
Florio’s take: The Broncos have found their stride in recent weeks, but Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins is playing for a lot more than a meaningless late-season win.
Florio’s pick: Washington 24, Broncos 20.
Rams at Titans
MDS’s take: Both of these teams are likely to make the playoffs, but the Rams are rolling as Super Bowl contenders, whereas the Titans are more likely to sneak in because the AFC is weak this year.
MDS’s pick: Rams 28, Titans 14.
Florio’s take: The Rams are peaking, the Titans are slipping, and Tennessee could be sliding out of the playoff chase.
Florio’s pick: Rams 27, Titans 20.
Chargers at Jets
MDS’s pick: Chargers 21, Jets 10.
Florio’s take: The Chargers return to MetLife Stadium, site of their first win of the season. They desperately lead another one to have any chance to play in January.
Florio’s pick: Chargers 24, Jets 13.
Jaguars at 49ers
MDS’s take: Jimmy Garoppolo has the 49ers playing so well that I’m tempted to pick them in an upset. But the Jaguars’ pass defense is so good that I think Garoppolo is bound to suffer his first loss as a starting quarterback.
MDS’s pick: Jaguars 20, 49ers 13.
Florio’s take: The 49ers are on a hot streak, but they haven’t faced anyone like the Jaguars. They’ll find out the difference, the hard way.
Florio’s pick: Jaguars 31, 49ers 16.
Seahawks at Cowboys
MDS’s take: This is a must-win game, as the team that loses will be eliminated. I think that’s going to be the Seahawks, who just haven’t been playing well of late.
MDS’s pick: Cowboys 24, Seahawks 14.
Florio’s take: This would have been a great game if the Seahawks hadn’t fallen apart in recent weeks.
Florio’s pick: Cowboys 35, Seahawks 14.
Giants at Cardinals
MDS’s take: Drew Stanton is back in as the Cardinals’ starting quarterback, and Arizona should move the ball just enough to win a close and probably boring game.
MDS’s pick: Cardinals 17, Giants 16.
Florio’s take: We’re gonna need a bigger carton of egg nog to get through this one.
Florio’s pick: Cardinals 20, Giants 17.
Steelers at Texans
MDS’s take: The Steelers are still in contention for home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, but they could also still drop behind the Jaguars for the No. 3 seed. Pittsburgh will be motivated and will play well.
MDS’s pick: Steelers 30, Texans 17.
Florio’s take: This one went from being an official Red Ryder, carbine-action 200-shot, range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time to a pile of reindeer pellets the moment Deshaun Watson’s ACL popped.
Florio’s pick: Steelers 27, Texans 10.
Raiders at Eagles
MDS’s take: This one is hard to pick in advance because we don’t know if either team will have anything to play for: The Raiders might be mathematically eliminated from the playoffs before this game, and the Eagles might have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs wrapped up before this game. With that caveat aside, I like the better team to win at home.
MDS’s pick: Eagles 30, Raiders 20.
Florio’s take: Four years after Nick Foles threw seven touchdown passes and no interceptions against the Raiders, he gets a chance to do it again. He won’t need to do quite that much to nail down the win and the No. 1 seed.
Florio’s pick: Eagles 27, Raiders 23.