The last week of the regular season is here. MDS clinched our competition a while ago.
But at least I can say I won Week 16, with a 10-6 mark against his 9-7.
For the year, he’s at 158-82. I’m at 146-94. Which means that, yes, he’s 12 games ahead of me.
The good news, if there is any, is that I can narrow the gap to 10, based on two disagreements for the coming week. For the full slate of picks, keep scrolling.
Falcons at Buccaneers
MDS’s take: Both of these teams are playing hard despite being long since eliminated from playoff contention. I see the Bucs pulling out a victory in what should be an entertaining if meaningless game.
MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 31, Falcons 30.
Florio’s take: Jameis Winston needs two interceptions to become the NFL’s first 30 touchdown/30 pick player. And that’s really the only reason to pay attention to this one.
Florio’s pick: Falcons 27, Buccaneers 24.
Dolphins at Patriots
MDS’s take: The Patriots just need to win this game to get a bye week, and they’ll cruise to an easy win.
MDS’s pick: Patriots 27, Dolphins 7.
Florio’s take: The Patriots have every reason to not stumble toward the regular-season finish line, since a loss could relegate them to the wild-card round.
Florio’s pick: Patriots 24, Dolphins 13.
Bears at Vikings
MDS’s take: It’s a meaningless game for both teams, but I think the Vikings will be eager to turn in a good performance heading into the playoffs.
MDS’s pick: Vikings 24, Bears 10.
Florio’s take: The Bears packed it in last week. The Vikings have no reason to try to win this one. Flip a coin, and walk away before it lands.
Florio’s pick: Vikings 24, Bears 21.
Chargers at Chiefs
MDS’s take: The Chargers are limping toward the finish of a disappointing season, while the Chiefs are trying to peak at the right time.
MDS’s pick: Chiefs 30, Chargers 20.
Florio’s take: The Chiefs still have an outside shot at the No. 2 seed; more importantly, they could still slide to No. 3 and face a very good Bills team in the wild-card round. That’s reason enough to not falter at home to a hopeless Chargers team.
Florio’s pick: Chiefs 27, Chargers 17.
Packers at Lions
MDS’s take: There’s a part of me that thinks the Lions may just be primed to pull an upset here, but a bigger part of me that says they’re just too beaten up to win.
MDS’s pick: Packers 21, Lions 20.
Florio’s take: The Packers have a bye week, and possibly the No. 1 seed, in sight. The Lions don’t have much to put in their way.
Florio’s pick: Packers 24, Lions 10.
Browns at Bengals
MDS’s take: The Bengals have already clinched the first pick in the draft, but they’ll now clinch the worst season in franchise history.
MDS’s pick: Browns 28, Bengals 21.
Florio’s take: It’s a final exam for Freddie Kitchens, even if he already has failed the course.
Florio’s pick: Browns 24, Bengals 17.
Saints at Panthers
MDS’s take: The Panthers don’t have anything for the Saints, who will cruise in a game that they hope can help them earn a bye week.
MDS’s pick: Saints 34, Panthers 10.
Florio’s take: Will Grier is starting again, which means that the Panthers are (gladly) losing again, enhancing their draft status by finishing the full-blown plunge from 5-3 to 5-11.
Florio’s pick: Saints 31, Panthers 13.
Jets at Bills
MDS’s take: The Bills have nothing to play for, and the Jets have played hard over the second half of the season.
MDS’s pick: Jets 21, Bills 14.
Florio’s take: Adam Gase and company have whipped up an intriguing batch of chicken salad, and they’re motivated to finish the season at 7-9. The Bills have nothing to gain, and could mothball some of their key players for all or part of this one.
Florio’s pick: Jets 16, Bills 10.
Cardinals at Rams
MDS’s take: With a disappointing season coming to an end in Los Angeles, I think the Cardinals are going to make a statement that they plan a changing of the guard in the NFC West next year.
MDS’s pick: Cardinals 28, Rams 21.
Florio’s take: The Rams close out their latest run at the Coliseum with a meaningless game against an improving team. Pride will fuel the home team’s desire to avoid a three-game losing streak to end the season, and coach Sean McVay surely will be paying close attention to which Rams will, and won’t, step up when the stake are low.
Florio’s pick: Rams 27, Cardinals 20.
Raiders at Broncos
MDS’s take: The Raiders are still clinging to playoff contention, and they’ll take care of business against the Broncos.
MDS’s pick: Raiders 28, Broncos 17.
Florio’s take: The Oakland Raiders lost their last game in Oakland. If they win their last regular-season game as the Oakland Raiders, they may get to play for one more week.
Florio’s pick: Raiders 20, Broncos 17.
Eagles at Giants
MDS’s take: I think this is going to be a closer contest than expected, but the Eagles won’t choke away the division.
MDS’s pick: Eagles 21, Giants 20.
Florio’s take: The last time these two teams met, a switch flipped for the Eagles at halftime. With a division title hinging on a victory, the switch won’t be flipped back.
Florio’s pick: Eagles 23, Giants 17.
Colts at Jaguars
MDS’s take: It’s been a disappointing season for both teams, but the Colts look to me like they’re playing harder down the stretch.
MDS’s pick: Colts 24, Jaguars 20.
Florio’s take: Two teams who had plenty of promise end the season by playing a game that has meaning only for the Raiders, possibly.
Florio’s pick: Colts 27, Jaguars 16.
Titans at Texans
MDS’s take: Bill O’Brien says the Texans are playing to win, but I’m picking the team that has the playoffs to play for over the team that knows it’s hosting a playoff game next week regardless.
MDS’s pick: Titans 28, Texans 21.
Florio’s take: By the time this one starts, the Texans will know whether they can improve from the No. 4 seed to No. 3, avoiding the Bills in the wild-card round. Chances are the Patriots and Chiefs will win, keeping the Texans in their current spot on the AFC playoff tree.
Florio’s pick: Titans 24, Texans 14.
Washington at Cowboys
MDS’s take: Jason Garrett will win and then get fired in the locker room five minutes after the game is over.
MDS’s pick: Cowboys 30, Washington 10.
Florio’s take: Jason Garrett goes out with a win.
Florio’s pick: Cowboys 30, Washington 17.
Steelers at Ravens
MDS’s take: If the Ravens were playing to win, they’d win. But they’re resting their starters, so I like the Steelers.
MDS’s pick: Steelers 27, Ravens 14.
Florio’s take: The Ravens may regret not knocking the Steelers out when the Ravens had the chance to do it.
Florio’s pick: Steelers 20, Ravens 14.
49ers at Seahawks
MDS’s take: The regular-season game of the year will determine the NFC West champion, and I like the 49ers to go to Seattle and earn a hard-fought win. The road to the Super Bowl in the NFC will go through San Francisco.
MDS’s pick: 49ers 28, Seahawks 24.
Florio’s take: The NFL has saved the best for last, with a division title, the top seed in the NFC for the 49ers, and a bye (possibly) for the Seahawks riding on the outcome.
Florio’s pick: 49ers 27, Seahawks 24.