The final week of the regular season is here. And it’s over.
It’s been over for a while, really. But with my 10-game lead intact after Week 17 (we split on four games) and without 10 disagreements this week, it’s formally a clinch.
We were both 11-4 last week. For the year, I’m 167-86-2. MDS is 157-96-2.
This week, we disagree on only one game. For all picks, keep scrolling.
Chiefs (-9.5) at Raiders
MDS’s take: The Chiefs will take care of business in a game they need to win to stay in the lead for the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
MDS’s pick: Chiefs 27, Raiders 20.
Florio’s take: The Chiefs have been sleepwalking of late, but they’ll stumble their way to the No. 1 seed and whatever that ultimately will entail.
Florio’s pick: Chiefs 30, Raiders 24.
Titans (+6.5) at Jaguars
MDS’s take: The Titans don’t look like anything remotely resembling a playoff team right now. The Jaguars will win the AFC South championship game.
MDS’s pick: Jaguars 28, Titans 13.
Florio’s take: A year ago, the Jaguars kept the Colts out in Week 18. Now, Jacksonville simply needs a victory in order to land in the playoffs.
Florio’s pick: Jaguars 24, Titans 16.
Buccaneers (+4) at Falcons
MDS’s take: I doubt the Buccaneers’ top players will play more than a series or two.
MDS’s pick: Falcons 20, Buccaneers 9.
Florio’s take: Tom Brady has never lost to the Falcons. And he wouldn’t lose to them this weekend, if his coach let him play the entire game.
Florio’s pick: Falcons 24, Buccaneers 21.
Patriots (+7) at Bills
MDS’s take: No one could possibly guess how the Bills will play after the week they’ve been through, but I suspect they’ll rally and play well.
MDS’s pick: Bills 28, Patriots 17.
Florio’s take: I feel sorry for anyone who will be facing the Bills for the rest of the season.
Florio’s pick: Bills 31, Patriots 20.
Vikings (-7) at Bears
MDS’s take: With Nathan Peterman as starting quarterback, the Bears’ offense is going to be ugly.
MDS’s pick: Vikings 21, Bears 3.
Florio’s take: The Vikings need a confidence builder as they prepare to inevitably lose by 30 or more points in the divisional round.
Florio’s pick: Vikings 24, Bears 13.
Ravens (+7) at Bengals
MDS’s take: With Lamar Jackson still injured, it’s tough to see the Ravens competing.
MDS’s pick: Bengals 28, Ravens 14.
Florio’s take: A coin flip won’t be needed.
Florio’s pick: Bengals 34, Ravens 20.
Texans (+2.5) at Colts
MDS’s take: The Texans just need to lose to earn the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft. Lovie Smith has faced this situation before as head coach of the Buccaneers, and he did what it took to lose that game. He’ll do it again.
MDS’s pick: Colts 23, Texans 16.
Florio’s take: Tanks for nothing? Tanks for everything.
Florio’s pick: Colts 9, Texans 6.
Jets (-1) at Dolphins
MDS’s take: The Dolphins may be down to their third-string quarterback, but with a playoff berth possibly on the line, they’ll take care of business.
MDS’s pick: Dolphins 20, Jets 17.
Florio’s take: The Dolphins should sign Joe Flacco next year as gratitude for delivering their playoff berth in 2022.
Florio’s pick: Dolphins 23, Jets 20.
Panthers (+3.5) at Saints
MDS’s take: Neither team has anything to play for, but the Saints looked last week like a team that wants to finish strong.
MDS’s pick: Saints 24, Panthers 14.
Florio’s take: In a game of two teams who have nothing to play for, take the home team.
Florio’s pick: Saints 27, Panthers 20.
Browns (+2.5) at Steelers
MDS’s take: After they were 2-6 at the bye, the Steelers will win this game to finish the season with a winning record, an impressive turnaround.
MDS’s pick: Steelers 20, Browns 10.
Florio’s take: There’s no way the Steelers won’t finish 9-8, now that they’ve scratched and clawed their way back to .500.
Florio’s pick: Steelers 17, Browns 14.
MDS’s take: I don’t think the Chargers will be playing to win, as they’d rather be healthy for the wild card round.
MDS’s pick: Broncos 16, Chargers 13.
Florio’s take: The Chargers likely will have nothing to play for by the time their game starts. Even then, the Broncos may not be able to cap another lost season with a win.
Florio’s pick: Broncos 20, Chargers 19.
Giants (+14) at Eagles
MDS’s take: The Eagles have the No. 1 seed to play for. The Giants, locked into the No. 6 seed, have nothing to play for.
MDS’s pick: Eagles 30, Giants 13.
Florio’s take: The 2007 Giants played hard in a meaningless final game. The 2022 Giants, given the spread, apparently won’t be.
Florio’s pick: Eagles 27, Giants 17.
Cardinals (+14) at 49ers
MDS’s take: The 49ers are heading into the postseason looking like a tough team to beat, and they’ll handle the Cardinals without much trouble.
MDS’s pick: 49ers 31, Cardinals 20.
Florio’s take: After nearly losing to the Raiders, the 49ers will want to re-establish themselves before the playoffs start.
Florio’s pick: 49ers 38, Cardinals 13.
Rams (+6) at Seahawks
MDS’s take: The Seahawks are still in wild card contention, and they’re going to handle their half of the job with a win over the Rams.
MDS’s pick: Seahawks 21, Rams 14.
Florio’s take: Between Bobby Wagner returning to Seattle, Baker Mayfield making a closing argument for a starting job, and Sean McVay possibly eyeing a ticket to TV, the Rams pull the upset against a Seattle team that seems miffed by not having Lions-Packers play at the same time.
Florio’s pick: Rams 24, Seahawks 20.
Cowboys (-7) at Commanders
MDS’s take: The Commanders are throwing rookie quarterback Sam Howell out there for the first time, and the result won’t be pretty.
MDS’s pick: Cowboys 24, Commanders 7.
Florio’s take: If Dallas can’t dominate the also-rans, what will the Cowboys do against the best teams?
Florio’s pick: Cowboys 27, Commanders 13.
Lions (+4.5) at Packers
MDS’s take: The Packers need to win to get into the playoffs. They’ll do it.
MDS’s pick: Packers 35, Lions 28.
Florio’s take: The Packers will be dangerous as a nothing-to-lose, no-pressure seventh seed. First, they have to withstand the everything-to-lose proposition of a win-and-in finale.
Florio’s pick: Packers 27, Lions 23.