PFT’s Week 18 2021 NFL picks

Las Vegas Raiders v Los Angeles Chargers
Getty Images

It could be a photo finish.

Tied a week ago, we disagreed on one game. MDS took the Browns, I took the Steelers, and Big Ben Night ended up pushing me to 13-3. MDS was 12-4.

I’m 165-90-1, and he’s 164-91-1. With 16 regular-season games to go, we disagree on five the week.

For all picks in Week 18, scroll away.

Cowboys (-7) at Eagles

MDS’s take: Neither of these teams has much to play for, but it sounds like the Cowboys think it’s worth risking injuries to try to improve their playoff seed, and I think they’ll get the win.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 30, Eagles 20.

Florio’s take: In the last week of the season, the team with more to gain has the edge.

Florio’s pick: Cowboys 27, Eagles 17.

Chiefs (-10) at Broncos

MDS’s take: The Chiefs need a win to stay in contention for the AFC No. 1 seed. They’ll get it against a Broncos team that’s already eliminated.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 34, Broncos 21.

Florio’s take: The Chiefs need to regain their confidence after a horrible second half in Cincinnati.

Florio’s pick: Chiefs 35, Broncos 23.

Packers (-2.5) at Lions

MDS’s take: It’s hard to know how hard the Packers will be playing now that they’ve got the No. 1 seed locked up, but I expect them to beat the Lions even if Jordan Love is at quarterback.

MDS’s pick: Packers 28, Lions 21.

Florio’s take: The Packers need to learn from the example set by the Ravens in 2019 and not take a three-week break between meaningful games. Green Bay should keep the saw sharp, injury risks be damned.

Florio’s pick: Packers 31, Lions 24.

Bears (+2.5) at Vikings

MDS’s take: Both of these teams are out of contention, but the Bears look like they’re playing a little harder as they play out the string.

MDS’s pick: Bears 24, Vikings 21.

Florio’s take: Mike Zimmer gets a win in what could be his last game with the Vikings.

Florio’s pick: Vikings 24, Bears 21.

Patriots (-6.5) at Dolphins

MDS’s take: The Dolphins laid an egg in a big moment last week in their loss to the Titans, and now that they’re out of it I think they’ll fold up and lose big again.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 30, Dolphins 13.

Florio’s take: The Patriots have had issues in Miami, but New England needs to win and the Dolphins are headed to another non-playoff season after winning seven in a row.

Florio’s pick: Patriots 27, Dolphins 17.

Colts (-15.5) at Jaguars

MDS’s take: A Jaguars win would be the biggest upset of the season — and would cost the Jaguars the first overall pick in the draft, and likely cost the Colts a playoff berth. It’s not happening.

MDS’s pick: Colts 27, Jaguars 12.

Florio’s take: The Jaguars started the 2020 season with a win over the Colts at home, before losing 15 in a row. This time around, the stakes are much higher for the road team, with a playoff berth on the line.

Florio’s pick: Colts 31, Jaguars 3.

Jets (+16.5) at Bills

MDS’s take: The Jets have been playing more competitive football of late, and I think they’ll keep it close against the Bills for about a half before the Bills pull away.

MDS’s pick: Bills 27, Jets 17.

Florio’s take: The Bills are finding more offensive balance, but Josh Allen needs to iron out the turnovers. This is a good pre-playoffs tuneup.

Florio’s pick: Bills 34, Jets 13.

Panthers (+8) at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: The Bucs don’t have much to play for on Sunday, but Bruce Arians says they’re playing to win, and I think they will.

MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 34, Panthers 14.

Florio’s take: This a great pre-postseason opportunity for the Bucs to get Tom Brady more comfortable with his available offensive players.

Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 41, Panthers 21.

Titans (-10.5) at Texans

MDS’s take: With the No. 1 seed on the line, I can’t see the Titans stumbling.

MDS’s pick: Titans 24, Texans 13.

Florio’s take: The top seed plus the potential return of Derrick Henry will make the Titans a potential Super Bowl contender.

Florio’s pick: Titans 30, Texans 17.

Washington (-6.5) at Giants

MDS’s take: Neither of these teams is going anywhere, but Ron Rivera will have his team playing hard and Joe Judge won’t.

MDS’s pick: Washington 28, Giants 10.

Florio’s take: It’s way more fun to watch Joe Judge press conferences than it is to watch his team play.

Florio’s pick: Washington 27, Giants 17.

Saints (-4) at Falcons

MDS’s take: The Saints are still in contention heading into the final game of the season, which is impressive given their injury and COVID-19 situations this season. I think they’ll take care of business on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Saints 27, Falcons 17.

Florio’s take: The Saints still have a chance to get to the playoffs. If they make it, they could make things interesting. Especially for the Buccaneers.

Florio’s pick: Saints 24, Falcons 17.

Steelers (+5.5) at Ravens

MDS’s take: T.J. Watt will break the sack record, and the Ravens will send Ben Roethlisberger out with a loss.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 20, Steelers 17.

Florio’s take: Sunday’s experience in Baltimore for Big Ben will be the exact opposite of Monday’s experience in Pittsburgh.

Florio’s pick: Ravens 24, Steelers 14.

Bengals (+1.5) at Browns

MDS’s take: I don’t know if the Bengals are going to play to win or not, but I suspect they’re going to rest some key players, and yet I like them to win anyway against a Browns team that seems like it’s ready to pack it in this week.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 24, Browns 20.

Florio’s take: This one is impossible to pick, given that Joe Burrow (and presumably other starters for Cincinnati) won’t be playing. Give the edge to the home team.

Florio’s pick: Browns 23, Bengals 21.

Seahawks (+6.5) at Cardinals

MDS’s take: The Cardinals will win, forcing the Rams to win if they want to win the NFC West.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 24, Seahawks 20.

Florio’s take: In what could be the final game of the Pete Carroll/Russell Wilson relationship, they’ll send Arizona into the postseason with their fifth straight home loss.

Florio’s pick: Seahawks 27, Cardinals 20.

49ers (+4) at Rams

MDS’s take: The Rams will win, clinching the NFC West and sending the 49ers home.

MDS’s pick: Rams 23, 49ers 17.

Florio’s take: The 49ers continue their mastery of the Rams, and they set themselves up to become a disrupting force in the postseason.

Florio’s pick: 49ers 23, Rams 20.

Chargers (-3) at Raiders

MDS’s take: In the final game of the regular season, a big game from Justin Herbert will give the Chargers a big win.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 34, Raiders 24.

Florio’s take: With everything the Raiders have endured the year, a win-and-in opportunity won’t be squandered against a Chargers team that has been way too inconsistent.

Florio’s pick: Raiders 24, Chargers 21.

31 responses to “PFT’s Week 18 2021 NFL picks

  1. Jets (+16.5) at Bills
    Colts (-15.5) at Jaguars
    I hope both games backdoor cover just to laugh at the idea someone really would bet on these favorites laying that many points to an NFL team. 🙂

  2. Staley’s foolish 4th down calls will come back to bite him. Raiders by 10+ points, they are starting to look like the Old Raiders with all the character shown during the season of adversity. I like the dirty birds to be spoiler vs the Saints and McVay to FINALLY Beat Frisco. Steelers will probably win, I’m giving the Jags no chance to beat the Colts. Chiefs win, but Titans will clinch home field

  3. I got Herbert in his first “playoff” game. If the Raiders defense was a touch better I’d be tempted to pick them.

  4. The Packers are attempting to win a league best 14th – both in the regular season, and then again in the post season.

  5. Chargers over Raiders, Rams over 49’ers, Seahawks over Arizona, Saints over Atlanta.

  6. Niners are 5 – 0 in the last 5 matchups against the Rams and the Rams have to prepare for two very different QBs since the Niners will likely not announce the starter till last minute. I like our chances.

  7. The Bucs should rest Evans and Gronk, even if they could lose without them.

  8. I’m disagreeing with Florio on Rams/Niners. Granted I’m a Rams fan, but this is a must-win game for us. It has nothing to do with clinching the division title and the #2 seed. The Niners have owned us for the past few years. The Rams know we have to win this game to show everyone we’re legit contenders. This is a high-profile tune-up fight before the playoffs. We win this one.

    I really want the Chargers to beat the Raiders, but the Raiders are on a hot streak and the game is in Vegas. This game is a gutcheck for both teams. I’d pick the Raiders by a field goal, but I’m still rooting for the Chargers.

  9. The Bucs should rest Evans and Gronk, even if they could lose without them.
    Don’t forget AB…. Oh, wait…..

  10. Florio’s take: Mike Zimmer gets a win in what could be his last game with the Vikings.

    If Zimmer wins this meaningless game, it should be his last game with the Vikings.

  11. There is zero chance SEA beats Arizona with AZ finally getting healthy w/ DJ Humphries, Markus Golden, Marco Wilson, Rondale Moore , James Connor etc all coming back healthy. AZ is getting several starters back and they’ll only get healthier going forward with DHOP expected back for the post season. SEA just doesn’t have the defense to handle AZ’s offense and the Cardinals will be coming in hungry to put an emphasis on ending the season heading into the post season at 12-5 & they still have the NFC West on the line so they’ll be hungry. Russell Wilson is going to be under constant duress getting hit slash sacked often playing behind a banged up injury riddled OL, SEA coverage isn’t anywhere near good enough to contend with AZs WRs/TEs or pass catching backs in the pass game (With Wagner out or playing severely compromised I think Zac Ertz has a big day receiving) and with SEA losing Al Woods that is going to really hurt their run defense which really hurts the Hawks as when healthy AZ has one of the top run games in the league between the three headed monster that is James Connor, Chase Edmonds and Kyler Murray defenses have to worry about on any given play. My money is on AZ completing the sweep.

  12. The issue in the Ravens-Steelers game is not Ben. It is that the Steelers will be without CB Haden and WR Johnson. The Steelers have only won two games when Haden has not played since he became a Steeler.

  13. The Buccaneers don’t have much to play for? Just a potential second home game in the playoffs. If they win and the Rams lose — not at all unlikely against their nemesis 49ers — Tamps Bay gets the two seed and home field in the divisional round.

  14. Platinum Pick of the Week: 49ers (+4, down from +4.5) over the Rams. Both teams have something to play for, the 49ers more so. If they win they’re in the playoffs; if they lose, they’re likely out. But the Rams also have incentive … holding on to the second seed. This game between old and bitter rivals will be close. The spot is too big. Rams to win, but not cover, 30-28.

  15. I will literally cry if the Raiders win this game. Hoping Florio is right for once.

  16. Florio’s take: The Chiefs need to regain their confidence after a horrible second half in Cincinnati.

    This is comical.

  17. Bet the over on Evans H1 receiving yards. Brady will throw to him early and often to get him to 1,000 and keep the streak alive and then he’ll rest

  18. Bucs over Panthers – Bucs Are a top team and the Panthers the bottom…

    Saints over Falcons – both struggling… If it were mid season I would pick Falcons because the Saints have struggled to score last few games BUT Falcons want a better draft pick..

  19. The Packers are attempting to win a league best 14th – both in the regular season, and then again in the post season.

    Hard to believe, in 100 seasons, they’ve never finished a regular season with 14 wins.

  20. Missin’ Again Crosby says:

    Hard to believe, in 100 seasons, they’ve never finished a regular season with 14 wins.


    They’ve only been playing at least 14 games in an entire season since 1961, so it’s not that hard to believe.

  21. Ravens fan here. Since I can’t see Indy losing to Jacksonville I don’t know that I would be too upset if Ravens lost to Steelers (can’t believe I just wrote that) for two reasons:

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Ben win his last game
    I wouldn’t mind seeing the Ravens improve their draft position

  22. Just as the Rams always beat the Seahawks, the 49ers always beat the Rams. Nothing will change this weekend.

  23. Pats 21 Fins 13 A close game with red zone offense breaking through this time to get the Pats the win.

    Bills 31 Jets 20 Defense suffocates the Jets enough to give the Bills the division title.

    Chargers 40 Raiders 23 Herbert is going to destroy the Raiders.

  24. Missin’ Again Crosby says:
    Hard to believe, in 100 seasons, they’ve never finished a regular season with 14 wins.
    They were 15-1 in 2011. Have to win 14 to get to 15.

  25. Hope my Saints beat Atl. But at the same time, not sure I want them in the playoffs. They don’t seem ready for it.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.