With 64 regular-season games left, one race remains tight. The other? Not.
MDS and I each went 11-4 in straight-up picks for Week 13. This has allowed him to hold a two-game lead, 122-72 to 120-74.
Against the spread, I went 8-7 to his 7-8. I now lead, 89-95-5 to 76-112-3.
For this week’s picks, scroll away.
Patriots (+5) at Rams
MDS’s take: The Patriots would be a scary team to face if they manage to sneak into the playoffs, but I see them losing in Los Angeles on Thursday night and ending any realistic playoff hopes.
MDS’s pick: Rams 24, Patriots 20.
Florio’s take: Bil Belichick knows how to slow down the Rams’ offense. The real question is whether the New England offense can outscore it.
Florio’s pick: Patriots 20, Rams 17.
Texans (-1) at Bears
MDS’s take: It’s hard to believe how far the Bears have fallen, that they’re now home underdogs against the lowly Texans. Deshaun Watson will remind the Bears they could have drafted him, and General Manager Ryan Pace’s seat will grow hotter.
MDS’s pick: Texans 24, Bears 14.
Florio’s take: If the Bears didn’t already completely regret taking Mitch Trubisky over Deshaun Watson (and they do), they will on Sunday.
Florio’s pick: Texans 24, Bears 20.
Cowboys (-3.5) at Bengals
MDS’s take: Neither of these teams is going anywhere, but I’ll take the Cowboys as the team that still technically has something to play for.
MDS’s pick: Cowboys 24, Bengals 17.
Florio’s take: Like last year, Andy Dalton will be playing in Cincinnati. Unlike last year, he’ll emerge from the experience with a win.
Florio’s pick: Cowboys 23, Bengals 16.
Chiefs (-7.5) at Dolphins
MDS’s take: If the Dolphins could pull an upset here, it would be a huge statement in the AFC playoff race. I don’t think they’re ready to compete with the elite teams like the Chiefs.
MDS’s pick: Chiefs 30, Dolphins 20.
Florio’s take: The Chiefs can’t afford to peek ahead to the looming showdown with the Saints.
Florio’s pick: Chiefs 31, Dolphins 21.
Cardinals (-2.5) at Giants
MDS’s take: The Giants are playing good football at the right time and the Cardinals are floundering, but this feels like a week for a course correction.
MDS’s pick: Cardinals 27, Giants 20.
Florio’s take: It’s now or never for the Cardinals to salvage their thinning playoff hopes.
Florio’s pick: Cardinals 24, Giants 21.
Vikings (+6.5) at Buccaneers
MDS’s take: The Vikings are still right in the thick of things in the NFC wild card race, and a win over the Buccaneers would be huge. But I just can’t trust this Minnesota team, which has narrowly escaped against bad opponents in recent weeks, against a good opponent like Tampa Bay.
MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 28, Vikings 20.
Florio’s take: The Vikings have been barely beating not-good teams. This one could go not too good for them.
Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 28, Vikings 20.
Broncos (+3.5) at Panthers
MDS’s take: They’re still a year away from contention, but Panthers coach Matt Rhule has his team playing better than most expected, and I think they’re going to keep playing well down the stretch.
MDS’s pick: Panthers 24, Broncos 13.
Florio’s take: Christian McCaffrey is back, and that should be more than enough help his team beat his dad’s team.
Florio’s pick: Panthers 27, Broncos 20.
Titans (-7.5) at Jaguars
MDS’s take: The AFC South race is going down to the wire, and the Titans need to take care of business in the easiest game remaining on their schedule. They will.
MDS’s pick: Titans 35, Jaguars 14.
Florio’s take: The Titans need to get back on track quickly, and the Jaguars have been the ultimate get-back-on-track facilitator this season.
Florio’s pick: Titans 28, Jaguars 20.
Colts (-2.5) at Raiders
MDS’s take: A big one in the AFC playoff race will see the Colts’ defense shutting down Derek Carr.
MDS’s pick: Colts 17, Raiders 10.
Florio’s take: The Raiders have beaten the Chiefs and the Saints, but they haven’t been nearly consistent enough this season.
Florio’s pick: Colts 30, Raiders 21.
Jets (+13.5) at Seahawks
MDS’s take: The Seahawks are coming off their worst performance of the season and the Jets are coming off their best, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Seahawks are easily the better team.
MDS’s pick: Seahawks 20, Jets 10.
Florio’s take: This could get ugly in Seattle. It’ll be even uglier in Seattle if the Jets somehow win.
Florio’s pick: Seahawks 34, Jets 17.
Packers (-7.5) at Lions
MDS’s take: The Lions looked like they were playing harder for interim head coach Darrell Bevell last week, but they just don’t have the personnel to beat the Packers.
MDS’s pick: Packers 24, Lions 21.
Florio’s take: Last week’s win gives the Lions slim hopes for the postseason. Those hopes will be dashed by Aaron Rodgers.
Florio’s pick: Packers 31, Lions 17.
Saints (-7) at Eagles
MDS’s pick: Saints 24, Eagles 20.
Florio’s take: Different quarterback for the Eagles, same result.
Florio’s pick: Saints 30, Eagles 20.
Falcons (-2.5) at Chargers
MDS’s take: Not a lot of reason to watch this game between two teams that are out of it, except that it’s a solid matchup of a good young quarterback in Justin Herbert and a good old quarterback in Matt Ryan. Ryan’s Falcons will take care of business.
MDS’s pick: Falcons 28, Chargers 20.
Florio’s take: The Falcons are Bruce Willis in Pulp Fiction. The Chargers are Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense.
Florio’s pick: Falcons 24, Chargers 17.
Washington (+3) at 49ers
MDS’s take: Washington is continuing to play hard down the stretch, and the NFC East is within their grasp. The 49ers have been decimated by injuries and are now a full-time road team, and I think they’re going to struggle down the stretch.
MDS’s pick: Washington 28, 49ers 14.
Florio’s take: The Niners have been resilient this year, following deflating losses with impressive wins. Next up, an impressive win.
Florio’s pick: 49ers 27, Washington 21.
Steelers (+3) at Bills
MDS’s take: This is one of the biggest games of the year in the AFC playoff race, and I think Josh Allen is going to play well against a good Steelers Defense.
MDS’s pick: Bills 27, Steelers 21.
Florio’s take: Washington exposed Pittsburgh’s imperfections; the Bills will exploit them.
Florio’s pick: Bills 27, Steelers 23.
Ravens (even) at Browns
MDS’s take: It’s a must-win game for the Ravens with the Browns surprisingly ahead of them in the AFC wild card race. I see the Ravens pulling out a close one.
MDS’s pick: Ravens 35, Browns 31.
Florio’s take: The Browns have improved significantly since losing to Baltimore in blowout fashion 13 weeks ago. But the Ravens are desperate.
Florio’s pick: Ravens 23, Browns 17.