MDS has tripled his lead in the season picks contest, moving from a one-game lead to a three-game lead.
In the final week of the season, we coincidentally disagree on three games. A sweep for me results in a tie. Which would sort of stink. But not as bad as losing would.
Last week, MDS got 10 games right and six wrong. I was a pathetic 8-8.
For all of the picks for the final week of the regular season, you should know what to do by now.
Ravens at Bengals
MDS’s take: With both teams eliminated from playoff contention it’s hard to know how hard either team will be playing, but I’ll pick Cincinnati to win at home in a close one.
MDS’s pick: Bengals 23, Ravens 21.
Florio’s take: A meaningless game has extra meaning for Steve Smith, who’ll “probably” be retiring. That will probably be enough to deliver victory for the Ravens.
Florio’s pick: Ravens 27, Bengals 20.
Jaguars at Colts
MDS’s take: The Jags surprisingly came out strong last week after the firing of Gus Bradley, but this week I think it’s the Colts who will turn in a strong effort and win going away.
MDS’s pick: Colts 24, Jaguars 13.
Florio’s take: The Doug Marrone bump lasts only one week, as the Colts try to ensure that Chuck Pagano will return for another non-winning season.
Florio’s pick: Colts 28, Jaguars 20.
Patriots at Dolphins
MDS’s take: The Patriots are playing to clinch home-field advantage while the Dolphins, with a wild card berth locked up, don’t have a lot to play for. That’s a recipe for New England to win easily.
MDS’s pick: Patriots 28, Dolphins 14.
Florio’s take: Losing at Miami in Week 17 a year ago cost the Patriots the No. 1 seed and, eventually, a Super Bowl berth. Bill Belichick won’t let that happen again.
Florio’s pick: Patriots 31, Dolphins 23.
Bears at Vikings
MDS’s take: The Vikings have been a major disappointment down the stretch after starting 5-0, but they’ll close with a win against an overmatched Bears team.
MDS’s pick: Vikings 28, Bears 17.
Florio’s take: Has-Beens versus Never-Weres in a game that will determine only whether the Vikings finish with a losing record.
Florio’s pick: Vikings 17, Bears 14.
Bills at Jets
MDS’s take: It’s EJ Manuel vs. Ryan Fitzpatrick. Are you excited? I’m not, but I think the Bills can move the ball on the ground enough to win this one.
MDS’s pick: Bills 20, Jets 17.
Florio’s take: Even if the Jets don’t try (again), they should beat a Buffalo franchise that suddenly is one of the NFL’s most dysfunctional.
Florio’s pick: Jets 24, Bills 16.
Cowboys at Eagles
MDS’s take: The Cowboys insist they’re playing to win even though they don’t have to, with home-field advantage wrapped up. They should handle the Eagles.
MDS’s pick: Cowboys 30, Eagles 20.
Florio’s take: The only question in this one is whether any Cowboys players will get injured. The Cowboys, too good to have a lapse and too loose to worry about what could go wrong, finish their perfect record against all teams not named the Giants.
Florio’s pick: Cowboys 30, Eagles 24.
Browns at Steelers
MDS’s take: Even resting their starters, the Steelers should have enough to beat the Browns.
MDS’s pick: Steelers 17, Browns 13.
Florio’s take: The Browns got their one win of the year. Even without Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, and Antonio Brown, the Steelers should be able to keep Cleveland from doubling its win total.
Florio’s pick: Steelers 27, Browns 20.
Panthers at Buccaneers
MDS’s take: The Bucs are effectively eliminated from the playoffs, but they are at least mathematically still alive and will, I think, play hard to finish the season strong.
MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 27, Panthers 20.
Florio’s take: The Bucs hope to finish a season of overachievement on a high note. The Panthers simply hope to finish the season.
Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 23, Panthers 17.
Texans at Titans
MDS’s take: The Texans may rest some players to get ready to host a playoff game next week, but even when doing that they should be able to beat a Matt Cassel-led Titans team.
MDS’s pick: Texans 17, Titans 14.
Florio’s take: The Titans are 1-4 in the division, 7-3 outside of it. Make that 1-5.
Florio’s pick: Texans 23, Titans 20.
Saints at Falcons
MDS’s take: The Falcons’ offense is rolling and the Saints’ defense is struggling. This one should be a beatdown.
MDS’s pick: Falcons 35, Saints 21.
Florio’s take: The Saints kept the Buccaneers out of the playoffs. The Saints won’t keep the Falcons out of the No. 2 seed.
Florio’s pick: Falcons 34, Saints 24.
Raiders at Broncos
MDS’s take: The Raiders are playing without Derek Carr, which is a huge blow, but with the Broncos alternating quarterbacks between Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian, I’m not optimistic about their offense. Oakland wins a close one to clinch the AFC West.
MDS’s pick: Raiders 17, Broncos 10.
Florio’s take: The Broncos could screw the Chiefs by laying down for the Raiders. Even if Denver doesn’t try, they’re good enough to overcome Matt McGloin.
Florio’s pick: Broncos 22, Raiders 17.
Cardinals at Rams
MDS’s take: Both of these teams are just playing out the string, but the Cardinals have at least looked like a competent team at times. Arizona shouldn’t have too much trouble here.
MDS’s pick: Cardinals 30, Rams 12.
Florio’s take: Two teams that used to be in St. Louis play before an L.A. crowd that would prefer to see neither.
Florio’s pick: Cardinals 30, Rams 23.
Chiefs at Chargers
MDS’s take: The Chiefs need to win and have the Raiders lose in order to win the AFC West. Kansas City will hold up its end of the bargain.
MDS’s pick: Chiefs 24, Chargers 10.
Florio’s take: San Diego says good riddance to the Chargers.
Florio’s pick: Chiefs 27, Chargers 20.
Seahawks at 49ers
MDS’s take: The Seahawks have been struggling of late, but even a struggling Seattle team shouldn’t have too hard a time with the 49ers.
MDS’s pick: Seahawks 31, 49ers 13.
Florio’s take: One last afternoon of Santa Clara traffic problems. That somehow won’t keep Seahawks fans from getting to the stadium.
Florio’s pick: Seahawks 34, 49ers 17.
Giants at Washington
MDS’s take: The Giants say they’re playing to win, but Washington has so much more to play for that I see this one going Washington’s way.
MDS’s pick: Washington 24, Giants 20.
Florio’s take: It’s win and in for Washington. For the Giants, the game means nothing. And while coach Ben McAdoo is trying to create the impression that the Giants will play to win, their best play would be to play to get no one injured.
Florio’s pick: Washington 26, Giants 20.
Packers at Lions
MDS’s take: With the NFC North on the line, Aaron Rodgers will have a big game while Matthew Stafford will struggle.
MDS’s pick: Packers 34, Lions 17.
Florio’s take: The Lions, who have beaten one team that currently has a winning record, realized on Monday night that they don’t belong in the playoff field. Sunday night confirms it.
Florio’s pick: Packers 34, Lions 21.