The first three games of Week 12 went better for MDS than for me. He swept the Thanksgiving games; my misplaced faith in Matthew Stafford left me at 2-1.
With 12 games to go in Week 12, I have a season-to-date record of 104-60 (63.4 percent). MDS is 101-63 (61.5 percent).
For the balance of the week, we disagree on two games. All picks appear below.
And stay tuned for this week’s official best bets, not to be confused with the Thanksgiving picks against the spread, in which we both stunk.
Browns at Bengals
MDS’s take: The Browns haven’t won a road game in more than three years. I don’t think they’ll win this one, either.
MDS’s pick: Bengals 20, Browns 17.
Florio’s take: The Browns are closing in on a record-tying 26th straight loss on the road. The Bengals are happy to oblige.
Florio’s pick: Bengals 27, Browns 20.
49ers at Buccaneers
MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 27, 49ers 24.
Florio’s take: Both teams have struggled this year, but the desperation factor could be the difference for the home team, with a quarterback playing his future and a coach coaching for his job.
Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 30, 49ers 21.
Jaguars at Bills
MDS’s take: Neither of these teams is going anywhere this season, but I think the Jaguars’ defense is still good enough to shut down the terrible Buffalo offense.
MDS’s pick: Jaguars 13, Bills 6.
Florio’s take: If Chiefs-Rams set back defense by 100 years, this one may set offense back by 1,000.
Florio’s pick: Bills 10, Jaguars 9.
Raiders at Ravens
MDS’s take: The Ravens are still fighting for a playoff berth, and the Raiders coming to town ought to help.
MDS’s pick: Ravens 24, Raiders 10.
Florio’s pick: Ravens 24, Raiders 10.
Seahawks at Panthers
MDS’s take: This is a big one in the NFC wild card race, with the winner in great shape but the loser in trouble. I expect the Panthers to bounce back from last week’s disappointing showing.
MDS’s pick: Panthers 27, Seahawks 20.
Florio’s take: Both teams need this one badly, but the Panthers are tough to beat at home.
Florio’s pick: Panthers 24, Seahawks 22.
Patriots at Jets
MDS’s take: The Patriots need to bounce back after an ugly showing in their loss to the Titans, and the Jets may be the best team for them to bounce back against.
MDS’s pick: Patriots 30, Jets 13.
Florio’s take: Both teams emerge from a bye, only weeks before the Jets say farewell to their coach.
Florio’s pick: Patriots 34, Jets 16.
Giants at Eagles
MDS’s take: At this point the Eagles are probably out of the playoff race, and the Giants are definitely out of the playoff race, so there’s nothing on the line but pride. In this old-school NFC East matchup pride should be enough to produce what I’m expecting to be a fairly entertaining game that the Eagles manage to win in the end.
MDS’s pick: Eagles 31, Giants 27.
Florio’s take: The Giants have won two in a row, against a pair of cupcakes. The Eagles aren’t quite at that level, but they’re getting close.
Florio’s pick: Eagles 24, Giants 21.
Cardinals at Chargers
MDS’s take: The Chargers dropped a game they should have won to the Broncos last week. This time they’ll win the game they should win, and win easily.
MDS’s pick: Chargers 28, Cardinals 10.
Florio’s take: Last week’s loss hurts the home team’s chances of winning division. Losing to the Cardinals would hurt the home team’s chances of making it as a wild card.
Florio’s pick: Chargers 35, Cardinals 17.
Dolphins at Colts
MDS’s take: The Colts just keep rolling along, with Frank Reich making a case for himself as coach of the year. This should be a big Indianapolis win.
MDS’s pick: Colts 28, Dolphins 17.
Florio’s take: Ryan Tannehill returns, and the Dolphins are good enough to keep it interesting. But the Colts are good enough to run their winning streak to five.
Florio’s pick: Colts 23 Dolphins 20,
Steelers at Broncos
MDS’s take: The Steelers showed last week that even when they don’t play their best game, they can pull out a win in the end. I won’t be surprised if this week’s game is similar, with the Broncos holding strong but the Steelers finally pulling out a win on the road.
MDS’s pick: Steelers 27, Broncos 24.
Florio’s take: Last week’s upset over the Chargers gives Denver a lift. But not enough of one to keep the Steelers from making a push toward a possible bye.
Florio’s pick: Steelers 30, Broncos 20.
Packers at Vikings
MDS’s take: I have a hard time seeing either of these teams catching the Bears in the NFC North, but the Vikings should be able to grab a wild card spot, whereas the Packers look like they’re heading toward an offseason in which they need to make major changes.
MDS’s pick: Vikings 23, Packers 17.
Florio’s take: Kirk Cousins is good not great. Aaron Rodgers is great, and he’ll be carrying extra incentive to beat Minnesota at the site of his broken collarbone from a year ago. Year One of the Cousins experiment moves closer to being an official failure, and Packers coach Mike McCarthy gets a reprieve, for now.
Florio’s pick: Packers 27, Vikings 24.
Titans at Texans
MDS’s take: This is a big game in the AFC South race, and one where I’m expecting Deshaun Watson to put on a show.
MDS’s pick: Texans 30, Titans 20.
Florio’s take: The up-and-down Titans are running out of chances to push their way into the playoff chase. The Texans keep finding ways to rack up wins.
Florio’s pick: Texans 23, Titans 20.