Thanksgiving week gave us something to be thankful about: A decent performance picking the games.
I hit 12 of 16 straight up; MDS went 11-5. Against the spread, I pulled my head above water at 8-7-1. MDS went 5-10-1.
For the year, MDS still leads in the straight-up contest, 111-68 to 109-70. Against the spread, I’m at 81-88-5. MDS is 69-104-3.
This week, we disagree on only two games. Which gives me a chance to catch him in the straight-up category. For all Week 13 picks, scroll away.
Saints (-3) at Falcons
MDS’s take: This is the third consecutive year that the Falcons have started playing good football down the stretch, but only after they had fallen out of contention. I see them giving the Saints a tough game but falling just short.
MDS’s pick: Saints 20, Falcons 16.
Florio’s take: The Saints are developing a pick-your-poison offense. Their defense arguably is even more potent.
Florio’s pick: Saints 23, Falcons 14.
Lions (+3) at Bears
MDS’s take: The Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn era has ended, but what’s left behind is a very bad football team that’s going to take time to rebuild. At this point, the Lions will be doing the next coach and GM a favor by losing.
MDS’s pick: Bears 27, Lions 14.
Florio’s take: The interim coach artificial head coach bump is real, especially when coupled with a dash of ding dong the witch is dead.
Florio’s pick: Lions 20, Bears 17.
Browns (+5.5) at Titans
MDS’s take: The Browns are playoff contenders because they’ve taken care of business against bad teams. But against a good team like the Titans, they’ll fall short.
MDS’s pick: Titans 30, Browns 20.
Florio’s take: It’s impossible to pick the Browns to beat a great team until they show that they can beat a great team.
Florio’s pick: Titans 34, Browns 20.
Bengals (+11.5) at Dolphins
MDS’s take: What matters is not whether Tua Tagovailoa or Ryan Fitzpatrick is at quarterback for the Dolphins. What matters is that Brandon Allen is at quarterback for the Bengals.
MDS’s pick: Dolphins 24, Bengals 7.
Florio’s take: Even if FitzMagic can’t avoid FitzTragic, the Dolphins should be able to make quick work of the overmatched Bengals.
Florio’s pick: Dolphins 30, Bengals 17.
Jaguars (+10) at Vikings
MDS’s take: The Vikings are clinging to slim playoff hopes, while the Jaguars are just getting ready for next year’s draft. This should be an easy win for Minnesota.
MDS’s pick: Vikings 31, Jaguars 10.
Florio’s take: The postseason continues to be a longshot for the Vikings, and it drops to an impossibility if they stumble against the Jaguars.
Florio’s pick: Vikings 31, Jaguars 23.
Raiders (-8) at Jets
MDS’s take: The Raiders are clinging to slim playoff hopes, while the Jets are just getting ready for next year’s draft. This should be an easy win for Las Vegas.
MDS’s pick: Raiders 28, Jets 14.
Florio’s take: Which Raiders team will show up? It won’t matter against the only team the Jets have.
Florio’s pick: Raiders 34, Jets 13.
Colts (-3.5) at Texans
MDS’s take: The Texans are playing good football down the stretch, and I think they’ll give the Colts a tough fight but not quite pull off the upset.
MDS’s pick: Colts 21, Texans 20.
Florio’s take: The Colts can’t afford to drop another one, even though this one won’t be easy.
Florio’s pick: Colts 27, Texans 20.
Rams (-3) at Cardinals
MDS’s take: This looks like a matchup of likely playoff teams, but if the Cardinals lose they’re at real risk of falling out of the last wild card spot. And I think that’s going to happen.
MDS’s pick: Rams 24, Cardinals 23.
Florio’s take: Hail Murray ended up being the high point of the season for Arizona.
Florio’s pick: Rams 24, Cardinals 20.
Giants (+10) at Seahawks
MDS’s take: The Giants may still win the NFC East, but they’ll do so with a losing record.
MDS’s pick: Seahawks 24, Giants 13.
Florio’s take: Daniel Jones, Colt McCoy, Eli Manning, Phil Simms, Y.A. Tittle, it won’t matter.
Florio’s pick: Seahawks 35, Giants 24.
Eagles (+9) at Packers
MDS’s take: The Eagles are an absolute mess, and there’s little reason to think they’re going to get any better.
MDS’s pick: Packers 35, Eagles 17.
Florio’s take: Philly found a way to win at Lambeau Field a year ago. It feels like a decade ago.
Florio’s pick: Packers 34, Eagles 21.
Patriots (even) at Chargers
MDS’s take: The Patriots aren’t done fighting for a playoff spot just yet. I think Bill Belichick is going to have something in store for Justin Herbert.
MDS’s pick: Patriots 17, Chargers 10.
Florio’s take: The Patriots have a chance to return from their two-game L.A. swing on the right side of .500. Every other AFC contender should be praying that doesn’t happen.
Florio’s pick: Patriots 23, Chargers 17.
Broncos (+14) at Chiefs
MDS’s take: The Broncos won’t be playing without a quarterback this week, but the Chiefs should blow them out anyway.
MDS’s pick: Chiefs 31, Broncos 20.
Florio’s take: The Broncos won’t be able to blame this one on having no quarterbacks.
Florio’s pick: Chiefs 42, Broncos 21.
Washington (+7) at Steelers
MDS’s take: It’s been a roller coaster ride for the Steelers with their game against the Ravens repeatedly delayed, but they should still beat Washington comfortably.
MDS’s pick: Steelers 24, Washington 14.
Florio’s take: The coach of an 11-0 team sounded like the coach of an 0-11 team after Wednesday’s win over the Ravens. The players likely won’t return to the locker room on Monday night if they don’t blow out Washington.
Florio’s pick: Steelers 27, Washington 16.
Bills (-1.5) at 49ers
MDS’s take: I admire how hard the 49ers are playing in tough circumstances, but the Bills won’t have much trouble beating this injury-plagued roster.
MDS’s pick: Bills 23, 49ers 10.
Florio’s take: The 49ers have a complex and diverse running game. The Bills have a hard time stopping the run. San Francisco continues its unlikely run to a playoff berth, where the 49ers will be very dangerous if they make it.
Florio’s pick: 49ers 21, Bills 20.
Cowboys (+8.5) at Ravens
MDS’s take: Even in the terrible NFC East, I can’t see the Cowboys making a playoff run. Even after all the Ravens went through over the last couple weeks, they’ll handle the Cowboys.
MDS’s pick: Ravens 27, Cowboys 17.
Florio’s take: Dez Bryant finally gets to play his former team. Although statistically he may not have a huge game, his emotion could him fuel a much-needed win for a struggling Ravens franchise.
Florio’s pick: Ravens 28, Cowboys 20.