MDS is pulling away.
We disagreed on three games last week. And he was right on each of them. He went 11-4. I was 8-7.
For the year, I’m now at 109-70-1. MDS is 113-66-1.
This week, we disagree on only one game. So, basically, I will be five behind him next week.
Cowboys (-4.5) at Saints
MDS’s take: Taysom Hill is likely to start at quarterback for the Saints, but their problems go deeper than Trevor Siemian. The Cowboys will rebound from their tough Thanksgiving loss with a big win.
MDS’s pick: Cowboys 28, Saints 17.
Florio’s take: The Saints haven’t lost five in a row during Sean Payton’s entire tenure as coach. It’s hard to imagine it happening, but they’re currently overmatched due to injuries and the retirement of Drew Brees.
Florio’s pick: Cowboys 30, Saints 21.
Vikings (-7) at Lions
MDS’s take: The Lions nearly earned their first victory of the season the first time these teams met, but this time I’m not expecting them to put up much of a fight.
MDS’s pick: Vikings 30, Lions 20.
Florio’s take: The dream in Minnesota of 9-8 and a one-and-done playoff berth still lives, at least for another week.
Florio’s pick: Vikings 31, Lions 17.
Cardinals (-8) at Bears
MDS’s take: The Bears didn’t fire Matt Nagy, but they look like a team that is going to need some major changes. The Cardinals are vying for the No. 1 seed in the NFC, and they’ll take care of business in Chicago.
MDS’s pick: Cardinals 30, Bears 20.
Florio’s take: The Cardinals are getting their best players back, just in time to make a push for the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
Florio’s pick: Cardinals 34, Bears 20.
Buccaneers (-10.5) at Falcons
MDS’s take: The Falcons are worse than their 5-6 record would suggest. The Bucs won by 23 when these teams played earlier in the season, and I see a similar score this time.
MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 31, Falcons 10.
Florio’s take: The Bucs are a different team away from home. They’re good enough to win this one, however.
Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 27, Falcons 20.
Broncos (+9) at Chiefs
MDS’s take: This is the Broncos’ last, best chance to put themselves in position to win the AFC West. I think they’re going to fall short.
MDS’s pick: Chiefs 24, Broncos 21.
Florio’s take: The Chiefs have the division lead in hand, and the No. 1 seed within their grasp.
Florio’s pick: Chiefs 31, Broncos 21.
Colts (-9.5) at Texans
MDS’s take: The Texans’ defense is playing well enough that they’ll force Carson Wentz into some mistakes, but the Texans’ offense isn’t going to do much of anything.
MDS’s pick: Colts 14, Texans 10.
Florio’s take: The Colts are much better than the Texans right now. Sometimes, it’s that simple.
Florio’s pick: Colts 24, Texans 13.
Eagles (-6.5) at Jets
MDS’s take: The Eagles blew a huge opportunity against one New York team last week. They’ll do much better against the other New York team.
MDS’s pick: Eagles 27, Jets 10.
Florio’s take: The Eagles need to get back on track. Fortunately, they’re facing a team that will let them.
Florio’s pick: Eagles 27, Jets 17.
Chargers (+3) at Bengals
MDS’s take: The Bengals are heading in the right direction and going to be a dangerous team the rest of the season. Beating the Chargers represents a big step toward the playoffs.
MDS’s pick: Bengals 27, Chargers 20.
Florio’s take: Cincinnati is making a push to the postseason. The Chargers are too inconsistent to stand in their way.
Florio’s pick: Bengals 30, Chargers 23.
Giants (+5) at Dolphins
MDS’s take: The Dolphins have followed a seven-game losing streak with a four-game winning streak. I think it will prove to be too little, too late to make the playoffs, but they’ll keep the streak going against the Giants.
MDS’s pick: Dolphins 27, Giants 20.
Florio’s take: The Dolphins are soaring. The Giants, despite an unlikely win over the Eagles, are still reeling -- especially if Daniel Jones won’t be playing.
Florio’s pick: Dolphins 24, Giants 17.
Washington (+2) at Raiders
MDS’s take: Washington surprisingly finds itself in playoff contention after an ugly start to the season, but the Raiders’ passing game will be too much for Washington’s suspect defense.
MDS’s pick: Raiders 30, Washington 20.
Florio’s take: Former Raiders coach Jack Del Rio may know a thing or two about defending against Derek Carr. Del Rio also has plenty of reasons to get back at the team that cast aside the only coach who has taken the team to the playoffs since 2002 for a failed reunion with Jon Gruden.
Florio’s pick: Washington 23, Raiders 20.
Ravens (-4.5) at Steelers
MDS’s take: The Ravens are heading toward the No. 1 seed in the AFC and the Steelers are heading toward last place in the AFC North.
MDS’s pick: Ravens 27, Steelers 17.
Florio’s take: Mike Tomlin is trying to will maximum effort from his players. Will it be enough?
Florio’s pick: Ravens 24, Steelers 21.
Jaguars (+12.5) at Rams
MDS’s take: Matthew Stafford has been struggling for a month, but the Jaguars’ secondary stinks. The Rams will put plenty of points on the board and win easily.
MDS’s pick: Rams 33, Jaguars 13.
Florio’s take: If the Rams lose this one, maybe they should have kept Jared Goff.
Florio’s pick: Rams 38, Jaguars 17.
49ers (-3.5) at Seahawks
MDS’s take: The 49ers have come on strong of late while the Seahawks have stumbled. These teams are heading in opposite directions.
MDS’s pick: 49ers 27, Seahawks 21.
Florio’s take: Based on their recent performances, this one could be uglier than their recent performances.
Florio’s pick: 49ers 20, Seahawks 13.
Patriots (+3) at Bills
MDS’s take: The Patriots have been the best team in the NFL for the last six weeks, and I don’t see that changing in Buffalo. New England takes a major step toward winning the AFC East.
MDS’s pick: Patriots 24, Bills 20.
Florio’s take: It’s all falling together perfectly for the Patriots.
Florio’s pick: Patriots 27, Bills 23.