MDS has clinched one season-long competition, and I’ve cliched the other.
As a result, he would say straight up is better, and I would say against the spread is better.
Last week, I had a 9-7 record straight up, and MDS was 8-8. For the year, he’s at 154-88, and I’m at 150-92. He’s up by four games, we disagree on only two games this week, and so (math whiz alert) I can’t catch him.
Against the spread, I went 6-9-1 and MDS was 4-11-1. For the year, I’m at 111-120-9 and he’s at 96-135-9.
All picks for the final week of the 2020 regular season appear below.
Dolphins (+3) at Bills
MDS’s take: The Dolphins have more to play for than the Bills, and in Week 17, that makes a big difference. I’ll pick Miami.
MDS’s pick: Dolphins 20, Bills 13.
Florio’s take: Without knowing whether the Bills will play to win, it’s impossible to pick this one with any certainty. I’ll guess that the Bills try to maintain their momentum, and in the process to knock a division rival out of the playoffs.
Florio’s pick: Bills 27, Dolphins 23.
Ravens (-13) at Bengals
MDS’s take: The Ravens are peaking at the right time, and they’ll beat a Bengals team that has looked better in recent weeks.
MDS’s pick: Ravens 34, Bengals 20.
Florio’s take: Three years after the Bengals kept the Ravens out of the playoffs with a Week 17 upset, it won’t be happening again.
Florio’s pick: Ravens 34, Bengals 20.
Steelers (+9) at Browns
MDS’s take: The Steelers are resting their starters and handing the Browns a playoff berth.
MDS’s pick: Browns 27, Steelers 20.
Florio’s take: COVID-19 is wreaking potential havoc on this one for the Browns, but with Pittsburgh resting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and other starters, if the Browns can’t win this one with a playoff berth on the line, they don’t deserve to play in the postseason. Ever.
Florio’s pick: Browns 24, Steelers 20.
Vikings (-7) at Lions
MDS’s take: The Lions look like they’ve totally quit on the season. The Vikings win a meaningless game.
MDS’s pick: Vikings 31, Lions 14.
Florio’s take: Neither team should want to win this game, since winning means a lower draft pick. The Vikings are more in need of an ego boost heading into the postseason, if only to make the inevitable 2021 hot seats a little less toasty.
Florio’s pick: Vikings 27, Lions 17.
Jets (+3) at Patriots
MDS’s take: Can the Jets finish 3-13 after starting 0-13? I think they can.
MDS’s pick: Jets 24, Patriots 21.
Florio’s take: The biggest indictment of New England’s 2020 season? They’re only favored by three points to beat the lowly Jets.
Florio’s pick: Patriots 23, Jets 16.
Cowboys (-2.5) at Giants
MDS’s take: The winner of this one will be a very interested viewer of Sunday Night Football. I like the Cowboys, who are playing better recently with Andy Dalton rounding into form.
MDS’s pick: Cowboys 24, Giants 17.
Florio’s take: If Dallas had played all year the way it’s been playing recently, it would have clinched the division on Thanksgiving Day.
Florio’s pick: Cowboys 27, Giants 20.
Falcons (+7) at Buccaneers
MDS’s take: The Buccaneers are playing for the NFC No. 5 seed and the right to play the NFC East winner in the first round of the playoffs, and that will motivate them to win big.
MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 30, Falcons 17.
Florio’s take: The Bucs are going for the win, because the win delivers a playoff game against the NFC East champion.
Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 34, Falcons 20.
Packers (-5.5) at Bears
MDS’s take: The Bears have made a dramatic improvement since going back to Mitchell Trubisky, but it may be too little, too late, as they’re going to fall just short against a Packers team that is fighting for home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
MDS’s pick: Packers 34, Bears 27.
Florio’s take: The Bears have improved significantly, but they’re not ready to beat a Packers team that has the No. 1 seed within its grasp.
Florio’s pick: Packers 30, Bears 23.
Raiders (-2.5) at Broncos
MDS’s take: Jon Gruden will win a meaningless game to wrap up his disappointing third year at the helm.
MDS’s pick: Raiders 23, Broncos 17.
Florio’s take: A coach who’s currently untouchable faces a G.M. who’s currently untouchable. The game could be unwatchable.
Florio’s pick: Raiders 24, Broncos 17.
Jaguars (+14) at Colts
MDS’s take: The Colts will cruise against a Jaguars team that has clinched the first pick in the draft.
MDS’s pick: Colts 27, Jaguars 17.
Florio’s take: Colts players won’t be aware of the scores of other games. Jaguars players would prefer to not be aware of the score of their game.
Florio’s pick: Colts 31, Jaguars 14.
Chargers (-3.5) at Chiefs
MDS’s take: The Chiefs are resting their starters, and Justin Herbert will get his 2021 started right.
MDS’s pick: Chargers 24, Chiefs 14.
Florio’s take: No Patrick Mahomes opens the door for Anthony Lynn to make a solid closing argument for returning in 2021. It could be too late.
Florio’s pick: Chargers 27, Chiefs 23.
Cardinals (-3) at Rams
MDS’s take: The Rams won’t have Jared Goff, so it’s hard to know what to expect, but I have a hunch the Rams are going to take it.
MDS’s pick: Rams 24, Cardinals 23.
Florio’s take: Sean McVay’s genius as a coach will help John Wolford play well enough to make people ask, Who’s the idiot who paid Jared Goff?
Florio’s pick: Rams 27, Cardinals 20.
Seahawks (-6.5) at 49ers
MDS’s take: The Seahawks still have a chance at home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, and they’ll take care of their end.
MDS’s pick: Seahawks 24, 49ers 14.
Florio’s take: The 49ers aren’t close to what they were when these two teams met to cap the 2019 season. The Seahawks are as good as they were, if not better.
Florio’s pick: Seahawks 31, 49ers 20.
Saints (-6.5) at Panthers
MDS’s take: The Saints still have a chance at home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, and they’ll take care of their end.
MDS’s pick: Saints 28, Panthers 17.
Florio’s take: The top seed remains a possibility, enough of one to get the Saints to go all out in an effort to capture it.
Florio’s pick: Saints 31, Panthers 17.
Titans (-7.5) at Texans
MDS’s take: The Titans shouldn’t have much trouble against a Texans team that is going nowhere.
MDS’s pick: Titans 30, Texans 13.
Florio’s take: Tennessee won’t blow its chance to get to the playoffs and potentially disrupt the field, like it did a year ago.
Florio’s pick: Titans 34, Texans 21.
Washington (-2) at Eagles
MDS’s take: Washington wraps up a wacky season in the NFC East by winning the division in the last game of the regular season.
MDS’s pick: Washington 20, Eagles 17.
Florio’s take: It’s win and in for Washington, but Washington is too banged up — and Eagles, who have absolutely nothing to lose, will be loose and dangerous.
Florio’s pick: Eagles 24, Washington 21.