Five weeks left. Ten games back. Five disagreements.
It’s either going to get interesting or get over with soon.
Sooner than that, you can scroll through the PFT picks for Week 13. No byes, 16 games, increasing stakes, and a few teams tanking.
Maybe I should start tanking, too.
Washington at Cowboys
MDS’s take: The Cowboys’ offense has been terrible the last three games, but I think they’ll manage to put just enough points on the board to win a close one at home on Thursday night.
MDS’s pick: Cowboys 14, Washington 13.
Florio’s take: The Cowboys like to talk about all the reasons for hope, but until Ezekiel Elliott returns, there is none.
Florio’s pick: Washington 27, Cowboys 13.
Vikings at Falcons
MDS’s take: This is a big one in the NFC playoff race, where the Falcons are fighting for a wild card berth and the Vikings are fighting for a first-round bye. I like Atlanta to win at home in what should be a very good game.
MDS’s pick: Falcons 23, Vikings 20.
Florio’s pick: Vikings 30, Falcons 27.
Texans at Titans
MDS’s pick: Titans 27, Texans 20.
Florio’s take: The Titans have come a long way since the Texans blew them off the field. So have the Texans.
Florio’s pick: Titans 33, Texans 16.
Chiefs at Jets
MDS’s take: The Chiefs’ slide has to end somewhere, doesn’t it? I think it ends on Sunday in New Jersey.
MDS’s pick: Chiefs 27, Jets 13.
Florio’s take: Two weeks after scoring nine points in 68 minutes at MetLife Stadium, the Chiefs return to face the better team that plays there.
Florio’s pick: Jets 21, Chiefs 13.
Broncos at Dolphins
MDS’s take: Trevor Siemian is the best of the Broncos’ three quarterbacks, which isn’t saying much, but should be enough to help Denver get a win against a bad Dolphins team.
MDS’s pick: Broncos 21, Dolphins 20.
Florio’s take: It’s the Something’s Gotta Give Bowl. No one’s gotta care.
Florio’s pick: Dolphins 13, Broncos 10.
Colts at Jaguars
MDS’s take: Jacoby Brissett is going to have a rough game against a good Jacksonville pass defense.
MDS’s pick: Jaguars 10, Colts 7.
Florio’s take: If the Jags follow a loss to Blaine Gabbert with a loss to Jacoby Brissett, they don’t deserve to lose in the playoffs, which is pretty much the best outcome they could hope for at that point.
Florio’s pick: Jaguars 27, Colts 17.
Buccaneers at Packers
MDS’s take: Brett Hundley is starting to play better, and while I don’t think the Packers are going to get to the playoffs, I do think they’re going to beat the Buccaneers at home.
MDS’s pick: Packers 21, Buccaneers 14.
Florio’s take: It’s the Bay of Pigs revisited, with every team in the NFC playoff field pulling for the Bucs to ensure that the Packers won’t be able to make a late dive in to the slop with a healthy Aaron Rodgers.
Florio’s pick: Packers 23, Buccaneers 20.
Lions at Ravens
MDS’s take: The Lions have the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL, while the Vikings, Packers and Bears have all replaced their quarterbacks this season. If there was ever a year that was set up for Detroit to win the NFC North, this is the year. But it’s not going to happen, and the Lions are going to fall further down in the playoff race when they drop another game on Sunday.
MDS’s pick: Ravens 21, Lions 20.
Florio’s take: The Lions last won in Baltimore 40 years ago, when they beat the Colts. Detroit will need to end that streak if they hope to end their other streak of 26 years without a playoff win.
Florio’s pick: Ravens 20, Lions 17.
Patriots at Bills
MDS’s take: The Patriots are cruising toward another AFC East title, and this is the victory that will put the division out of reach.
MDS’s pick: Patriots 35, Bills 21.
Florio’s take: The Patriots are back in Buffalo, and the only real drama relates to whether anything else with Tom Brady’s name on it will be thrown on the field.
Florio’s pick: Patriots 27, Bills 14.
49ers at Bears
MDS’s take: I think quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is going to show that he’s the real deal in his first start as a 49er. San Francisco will win — which isn’t necessarily a good thing for the franchise, as these two teams are competing for nothing more than a high draft pick.
MDS’s pick: 49ers 27, Bears 17.
Florio’s take: Jimmy G takes on Mitchell T and the loser will be in better position to get him some help in the draft. The 49ers lose by winning.
Florio’s pick: 49ers 17, Bears 13.
Browns at Chargers
MDS’s take: The Chargers started 0-4 and are now surging toward the playoffs. The Browns started 0-4 and are now surging toward 0-16.
MDS’s pick: Chargers 24, Browns 10.
Florio’s take: The Chargers claim they’re the hunters, not the hunted. The Browns are still the gopher that gets trampled by the hunting party.
Florio’s pick: Chargers 30, Browns 13.
Giants at Raiders
MDS’s take: Geno Smith‘s first start as a Giant comes against a weak Raiders pass defense, but I don’t see him doing much anyway.
MDS’s pick: Raiders 24, Giants 13.
Florio’s take: Tanks for everything, Giants.
Florio’s pick: Raiders 30, Giants 9.
Panthers at Saints
MDS’s take: Another big game in the NFC playoff race, and I think the Saints will complete a season sweep of the Panthers.
MDS’s pick: Saints 27, Panthers 21.
Florio’s take: It’s the de facto NFC South championship game, unless the Falcons keep gaining ground. By completing the sweep, the Saints relegate the Panthers to the wild-card chase.
Florio’s pick: Saints 27, Panthers 23.
Rams at Cardinals
MDS’s take: Blaine Gabbert has played surprisingly well as the Cardinals’ quarterback, just not well enough to help a bad team like the Cardinals beat a good team like the Rams.
MDS’s pick: Rams 30, Cardinals 20.
Florio’s take: Bruce Arians can’t chide the Rams about being 8-8 anymore.
Florio’s pick: Rams 27, Cardinals 13.
Eagles at Seahawks
MDS’s take: Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is playing sensational football, but Seattle’s injuries across the roster are too much for them to beat an Eagles team that looks like the favorite to win the NFC.
MDS’s pick: Eagles 28, Seahawks 21.
Florio’s take: Russell Wilson would like to remind everyone that he was winning a Super Bowl while Carson Wentz was playing I-AA football.
Florio’s pick: Seahawks 24, Eagles 23.
Steelers at Bengals
MDS’s take: Cincinnati has played better of late and could fight its way back into the playoff race, but I think Pittsburgh is poised to put together a very good game on Monday night and keep marching toward the top seed in the AFC.
MDS’s pick: Steelers 31, Bengals 17.
Florio’s take: The Steelers continue their run of play-down-to-the-level-of-the-competition prime-time games.
Florio’s pick: Steelers 33, Bengals 31.