Three weeks remain. Not nearly enough for MDS to catch me.
But he’s trying.
With three disagreements in Week 15, MDS was right on two of them. He’s picked up a game, cutting the margin back to 10.
For the year. I’m 145-77-1. MDS is 135-87-1.
This week, we differ on only two games. For all picks, scroll, scroll, scroll.
Jaguars (+1.5) at Jets
MDS’s take: When the schedule was released, this looked like a terrible Thursday night game. In reality, both teams are still in the playoff hunt. I think Trevor Lawrence outplays Zach Wilson in the matchup of the top two picks in last year’s draft, and the Jaguars win.
MDS’s pick: Jaguars 24, Jets 17.
Florio’s take: The Jaguars haven’t won three in a row since December 2017. That season nearly ended with the team’s first ever Super Bowl berth. This year, they could end up back in the playoffs for the first time since then. Still, the Jets need this one just a little bit more.
Florio’s pick: Jets 20, Jaguars 17.
Bills (-9) at Bears
MDS’s take: Justin Fields will make some big plays with his legs to keep the Bears competitive, but Josh Allen will make plays with both his arm and his legs to win it for the Bills.
MDS’s pick: Bills 27, Bears 20.
Florio’s take: The weather could make things interesting in Chicago, but Josh Allen can still sling it in any conditions. Still, nine points is a lot to give, given the conditions. And given the ability of Justin Fields to run circles around anyone and everyone.
Florio’s pick: Bills 30, Bears 24.
Saints (+2.5) at Browns
MDS’s take: The Saints are actually not out of the playoff picture in the terrible NFC South, but they will be after losing to the Browns.
MDS’s pick: Browns 24, Saints 20.
Florio’s take: The Browns are improving. While it may be too late for 2022, it could serve them well in 2023.
Florio’s pick: Browns 20, Saints 17.
Texans (+3) at Titans
MDS’s take: The Titans are slouching towards the AFC South title and will win an ugly game over the worst team in the league.
MDS’s pick: Titans 17, Texans 10.
Florio’s take: The Texans have been playing well lately, but the Titans should be sufficiently desperate to find a way to get a long-overdue win against a one-win team.
Florio’s pick: Titans 20, Texans 16.
Seahawks (+10) at Chiefs
MDS’s pick: Chiefs 34, Seahawks 21.
Florio’s take: It’s another AFC West reunion, and the team that owns the AFC West should remind Seattle why they should be glad that they got out when they did.
Florio’s pick: Chiefs 30, Seahawks 21.
Giants (+4) at Vikings
MDS’s take: This could be a playoff preview, as it is possible that these teams could meet again in the wild-card round. I think the Vikings win and keep their slim hopes of a first-round bye alive.
MDS’s pick: Vikings 17, Giants 14.
Florio’s take: The last time the Vikings had an exhausting, emotional win, they fell apart the next week. Assuming they learned from that and they don’t want to have to go to San Francisco in the playoffs, it’s time to turn the White Out into a win.
Florio’s pick: Vikings 27, Giants 24.
Bengals (-3) at Patriots
MDS’s take: The Patriots still control their playoff destiny, just needing to win out to earn a wild card. But that will no longer be the case after they lose to the Bengals on Sunday.
MDS’s pick: Bengals 28, Patriots 27.
Florio’s take: Ding dong, the witch is dead.
Florio’s pick: Bengals 30, Patriots 23.
Lions (-2.5) at Panthers
MDS’s take: The Lions are making their way up the standings after a 1-6 start, and they’re going to win at Carolina and establish themselves as a real threat in the NFC playoffs.
MDS’s pick: Lions 20, Panthers 14.
Florio’s take: In a battle of big cats, the Lions roar their way above .500.
Florio’s pick: Lions 23, Panthers 20.
Falcons (+7) at Ravens
MDS’s take: The Ravens are struggling after a hot start, but I think if they make the playoffs they can be dangerous. They’ll take care of business at home against the Falcons.
MDS’s pick: Ravens 16, Falcons 10.
Florio’s take: The Falcons are still alive, but not for much longer. The Ravens need to stay within a game of the Bengals, in order to make Week 18 an AFC North championship game.
Florio’s pick: Ravens 21, Falcons 10.
Commanders (+7) at 49ers
MDS’s take: The 49ers may be playing the best football in the NFL over the last couple of months. They should stomp the struggling Commanders.
MDS’s pick: 49ers 27, Commanders 13.
Florio’s take: The 49ers have the No. 2 seed within reach. The Commanders are teetering on the brink of missing the playoffs.
Florio’s pick: 49ers 24, Commanders 10.
Eagles (+5) at Cowboys
MDS’s take: I was going to pick the Cowboys even before that Jalen Hurts injury news broke, so I’m definitely picking the Cowboys now.
MDS’s pick: Cowboys 28, Eagles 21.
Florio’s take: Gardner Minshew is good enough to elevate the Eagles, if they weren’t playing a team like the Cowboys.
Florio’s pick: Cowboys 24, Eagles 20.
Raiders (+2.5) at Steelers
MDS’s take: The NFL was hoping these two teams would be in playoff contention for the Christmas Eve Immaculate Reception anniversary game, but we’ll settle for the Steelers winning a low-scoring battle of playoff long shots.
MDS’s pick: Steelers 17, Raiders 14.
Florio’s take: The Steelers will dig deep to properly honor the memory of Franco Harris.
Florio’s pick: Steelers 24, Raiders 17.
Packers (+4) at Dolphins
MDS’s take: Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ offense have been coming on strong in recent weeks, but it’s going to be too little, too late, and the Dolphins will change the Packers’ playoff hopes from “slim” to “none.”
MDS’s pick: Dolphins 31, Packers 28.
Florio’s take: The Packers have won two straight games, but they haven’t really faced a playoff-caliber team. They will on Sunday in Miami. And Green Bay’s playoff chances will diminish.
Florio’s pick: Dolphins 34, Packers 27.
Broncos (-2.5) at Rams
MDS’s take: The NFL was expecting this one to be a marquee Christmas Day game. Instead it’s probably the worst game of the week.
MDS’s pick: Broncos 12, Rams 9.
Florio’s take: A year after losing on Christmas Day, Baker Mayfield evens his December 25 record in a game that will be watched only because it’s on TV.
Florio’s pick: Rams 24, Broncos 20.
Buccaneers (-7.5) at Cardinals
MDS’s take: Tom Brady and the Buccaneers are not playing well, but they’ll play well enough to beat the Cardinals and continue their march towards the playoffs in the terrible NFC South.
MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 17, Cardinals 7.
Florio’s take: If you’re naughty, you get coal. If you’re really naughty, you have to watch this game.
Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 20, Cardinals 10.
Chargers (-4.5) at Colts
MDS’s take: With the Chargers in the wild card race, there would be no excuse for losing to Jeff Saturday’s Colts. The Chargers will take care of business.
MDS’s pick: Chargers 30, Colts 20.
Florio’s take: Nick Foles gets his chance to help Jeff Saturday secure a job that he’s proving every week he’s not really ready to hold.
Florio’s pick: Chargers 28, Colts 21.