It’s the first non-bye week since September, with a full slate of 16 games. And MDS and yours truly agree on the outcome of every game.
This means that a three-game spread will persist, with four weeks to go. After we each finished 8-4 on Sunday/Monday of Week 12, I’ve got a season-to-date record of 112-64 (63.6 percent). MDS is 109-67 (61.9 percent).
Also, check out the weekly “best bets” video. Last Sunday, MDS and I were each 2-1.
Saints at Cowboys
MDS’s take: The Cowboys could make a major statement in the NFC playoff race with a win here, but I just don’t see it happening. The Saints are too good.
MDS’s pick: Saints 27, Cowboys 20.
Florio’s take: Sean Payton reminds Jerry Jones why Jerry Jones may still eventually try to hire Sean Payton.
Florio’s pick: Saints 34, Cowboys 17.
Ravens at Falcons
MDS’s take: The Falcons’ defense isn’t very good, but I have a feeling the Ravens’ offense is going to fail to exploit it, as Lamar Jackson will struggle. Atlanta takes this one at home.
MDS’s pick: Falcons 23, Ravens 16.
Florio’s take: Lamar Jackson takes his starting show on the road, and he quickly realizes that the Falcons aren’t the Bengals or the Raiders.
Florio’s pick: Falcons 24, Ravens 14.
Panthers at Buccaneers
MDS’s pick: Panthers 31, Buccaneers 21.
Florio’s take: The Panthers get a good draw as they try to end a three-game losing streak.
Florio’s pick: Panthers 41, Buccaneers 30.
Bears at Giants
MDS’s pick: Bears 20, Giants 10.
Florio’s take: It’s a trap game for the Bears, who will be facing a feisty Giants team that doesn’t care about winning its way to lower draft slots.
Florio’s pick: Bears 23, Giants 20.
Bills at Dolphins
MDS’s take: The Bills look like they’re starting to get things going, but the Dolphins should be able to beat them at home.
MDS’s pick: Dolphins 20, Bills 17.
Florio’s take: Finally, a game the Dolphins should be able to win.
Florio’s pick: Dolphins 20, Bills 10.
Colts at Jaguars
MDS’s take: The Jaguars’ offseason decision to commit to Blake Bortles was unwise, but that doesn’t mean benching him for Cody Kessler will be the answer, especially not against a Colts team that is playing very well right now.
MDS’s pick: Colts 24, Jaguars 17.
Florio’s take: The Colts possibly are becoming what the Jaguars were supposed to be.
Florio’s pick: Colts 27, Jaguars 13.
Browns at Texans
MDS’s take: The Browns have definitely played better since firing Hue Jackson, but the Texans’ winning streak will keep going.
MDS’s pick: Texans 24, Browns 14.
Florio’s take: The Browns and Baker Mayfield could make this one interesting, but the Texans are simply too good.
Florio’s pick: Texans 30, Browns 23.
Broncos at Bengals
MDS’s take: It’s a tough spot for new Bengals starting quarterback Jeff Driskel, as the Broncos are getting things turned around and potentially marching toward the playoffs.
MDS’s pick: Broncos 28, Bengals 23.
Florio’s take: The Broncos are unexpectedly surging, the Bengals are expectedly falling apart.
Florio’s pick: Broncos 27, Bengals 17.
Rams at Lions
MDS’s take: Sean McVay has shown how quickly a good coach can turn around a bad team. Matt Patricia has shown how quickly a bad coach can make things worse.
MDS’s pick: Rams 30, Lions 20.
Florio’s take: The Rams keep pushing toward the playoffs, and the Lions keep pushing toward the NFC North basement.
Florio’s pick: Rams 34, Lions 20.
Cardinals at Packers
MDS’s take: I don’t think the Packers are going anywhere this season, but they’re at least playing well enough that beating the Cardinals at home shouldn’t be a problem.
MDS’s pick: Packers 24, Cardinals 10.
Florio’s take: Poor Cardinals.
Florio’s pick: Packers 38, Cardinals 13.
Chiefs at Raiders
MDS’s take: The Chiefs are the best team in the AFC and the Raiders are the worst team in the AFC. Enough said.
MDS’s pick: Chiefs 31, Raiders 13.
Florio’s take: One of the NFL’s best rivalries won’t be on Sunday.
Florio’s pick: Chiefs 37, Raiders 16.
Jets at Titans
MDS’s take: It’s getting rough for Todd Bowles as he heads into what looks like his last month as the Jets’ head coach. Another loss should just about seal it.
MDS’s pick: Titans 28, Jets 14.
Florio’s take: The Titans face an uphill climb to get to the playoffs, but they’ll hold serve against an inferior team.
Florio’s pick: Titans 27, Jets 17.
49ers at Seahawks
MDS’s take: The Seahawks are playing hard and appear to be heading toward the playoffs in what easily could have been a rebuilding year. That’s a credit to Pete Carroll.
MDS’s pick: Seahawks 34, 49ers 20.
Florio’s take: Richard Sherman returns home with a chance to spoil a Seattle playoff run. Unfortunately for Sherman, there aren’t enough players as talented as Sherman around him.
Florio’s pick: Seahawks 24, 49ers 13.
Vikings at Patriots
MDS’s take: One of the best games of the day feels like it could go either way, but I like the Patriots to pull it out late.
MDS’s pick: Patriots 24, Vikings 21.
Florio’s take: Vikings simply don’t match up well with a Patriots team that matches up well with pretty much everyone. This could get ugly.
Florio’s pick: Patriots 31, Vikings 20.
Chargers at Steelers
MDS’s take: This is a very big one in the AFC playoff race, perhaps a must-win for the Chargers if they have any hope of catching the Chiefs in the AFC West. I don’t think it’s going to happen.
MDS’s pick: Steelers 21, Chargers 20.
Florio’s take: Austin Ekeler will need to step up if the Chargers will have a chance to win this one. Even if he does, the Steelers are still good enough to get their act together after an unexpected loss in Denver.
Florio’s pick: Steelers 27, Chargers 23.
Washington at Eagles
MDS’s take: I was ready to write off the Eagles a couple weeks ago. I’m not anymore. I’m expecting a three-way tie atop the NFC East after Week 13.
MDS’s pick: Eagles 20, Washington 17.
Florio’s take: Every week it seems there’s another NFC East favorite, with Dallas losing to the Saints, the Eagles can make it a three-day tie for now, setting up for another showdown in Dallas next weekend.
Florio’s pick: Eagles 31, Washington 17.