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PFT’s NFL Week 15 2021 picks

Mike Florio and Chris Simms assess the recent surge of COVID-19 cases throughout the NFL, but agree that the league is starting to come around on allowing positive, vaccinated, asymptomatic players to play.

It’s getting closer and closer. I went 3-1 last week in our disagreements and 11-3 overall, cut the gap to one game with four weeks to go.

For the year, I’m now at 130-77-1. MDS is 131-76-1. His lead is down to one game.

We disagree on a pair of games this week. For all picks, scroll away.

Chiefs (-3) at Chargers

MDS’s take: The Chiefs’ defense has had an incredible turnaround this season, and the matchup with Justin Herbert should be a great one. I like Kansas City to go on the road and establish AFC West dominance.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 28, Chargers 21.

Florio’s take: Three years ago, the Chargers shocked the AFC West with a late-season win on a Thursday night in Kansas City. This time around, it shouldn’t be quite as shocking.

Florio’s pick: Chargers 24, Chiefs 21.

Raiders (-1.5) at Browns

MDS’s take: I have no faith at all in the Raiders anymore. Even depleted by a COVID-19 outbreak, I like the Browns to win this one.

MDS’s pick: Browns 21, Raiders 10.

Florio’s take: The Raiders apparently are more interested in building character. The Browns are trying to do more than that.

Florio’s pick: Browns 28, Raiders 20.

Patriots (+2.5) at Colts

MDS’s take: I was surprised to see the Colts are favored in this one. I like Bill Belichick’s defense to shut down Carson Wentz and win a low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 13, Colts 10.

Florio’s pick: The Patriots continue to roll, and they continue to relish any win they can get over the team that sparked #Deflategate.

Florio’s take: Patriots 20, Colts 14.

Washington (+7) at Eagles

MDS’s take: Ron Rivera has done a good job holding his injury-plagued team together, but I see Washington fading down the stretch and falling to third in the NFC East.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 28, Washington 27.

Florio’s take: Washington’s bubble seems to have burst.

Florio’s pick: Eagles 24, Washington 20.

Panthers (+10.5) at Bills

MDS’s take: The Bills either win blowouts or lose close games. This week they’ll win a blowout.

MDS’s pick: Bills 30, Panthers 10.

Florio’s take: A much-needed get-right game is coming for the Bills. The Panthers are in full get-wrong mode.

Florio’s pick: Bills 27, Panther 13.

Jets (+10) at Dolphins

MDS’s take: The Dolphins are making a nice little run here late in the season, and the Jets should hand them an easy win.

MDS’s pick: Dolphins 24, Jets 13.

Florio’s take: Miami finishes its unlikely climb to .500. The Jets continue their expected slide to irrelevance.

Florio’s pick: Dolphins 24, Jets 13.

Cowboys (-10.5) at Giants

MDS’s take: Dak Prescott has really fallen off this year, but against the Giants he won’t have to do much to win.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 20, Giants 13.

Florio’s take: The Cowboys rebuild some confidence, with the postseason looming.

Florio’s pick: Cowboys 28, Giants 17.

Packers (-5.5) at Ravens

MDS’s take: They’re in first place in the AFC North, but the Ravens have not looked good this year, even in most of their wins. The Packers take another big step toward the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

MDS’s pick: Packers 28, Ravens 17.

Florio’s take: The Packers are the better team. The Ravens have overachieved, and injuries are catching up to them.

Florio’s pick: Packers 30, Ravens 20.

Titans (-2) at Steelers

MDS’s take: I’ve been impressed with the job Mike Vrabel has done holding the Titans together through a string of injuries. Tennessee is going to be a tough team to beat down the stretch.

MDS’s pick: Titans 23, Steelers 16.

Florio’s take: This is a gut-feeling game, with the Steelers finding a way to get a win and to keep themselves in the playoff conversation -- where that tie against the Lions could become relevant to just missing it, or to just making it.

Florio’s pick: Steelers 23, Titans 20.

Texans (+4) at Jaguars

MDS’s take: This is a terrible game, but someone has to win, and I think the Jaguars are a little less terrible than the Texans.

MDS’s pick: Jaguars 17, Texans 14.

Florio’s take: The Texans are tanking, and Darrell Bevell is auditioning.

Florio’s pick: Jaguars 13, Texans 7.

Cardinals (-13) at Lions

MDS’s take: The Cardinals have blown out everyone they’ve faced on the road this season and that won’t change on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 30, Lions 10.

Florio’s take: Arizona gets back on the right track after their third straight home loss.

Florio’s pick: Cardinals 31, Lions 17.

Falcons (+9) at 49ers

MDS’s take: The Falcons either lose blowouts or win close games. They’ll lose a blowout on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 31, Falcons 14.

Florio’s take: San Francisco keeps making what was once an unlikely push to the postseason. The Falcons come closer to having their pipe dream end.

Florio’s pick: 49ers 31, Falcons 20.

Bengals (+3) at Broncos

MDS’s take: This is a big one in what promises to be a very competitive AFC playoff race. I like the Bengals to pull out a close win.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 20, Broncos 17.

Florio’s take: It’s now or never for the Bengals.

Florio’s pick: Bengals 24, Broncos 20.

Seahawks (+4.5) at Rams

MDS’s take: If there’s any lingering hope in Seattle of a playoff run, it comes to an end on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Rams 27, Seahawks 16.

Florio’s take: It was fun while it lasted for Seattle.

Florio’s pick: Rams 24, Seahawks 20.

Saints (+11) at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: The Buccaneers’ defense played its worst game of the season on Halloween against the Saints. In the rematch, I think the Bucs dominate.

MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 28, Saints 7.

Florio’s take: The Bucs have consistently struggled with the Saints. They’ll stuggle again, but Tom Brady and the Bucs will finally get a regular-season win over New Orleans.

Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 27, Saints 20.

Vikings (-4.5) at Bears

MDS’s take: Not the most attractive Monday night matchup, but the Vikings are still fighting for their playoff life while the Bears are finished.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 28, Bears 14.

Florio’s take: Minnesota once again finds a way to build a lead and to hold it, somehow.

Florio’s pick: Vikings 30, Bears 23.