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PFT’s Week 12 picks

Matthew Stafford


The good news? After a crappy Week 10 performance, I finished about .500 in Week 11. The bad news? Not by much.

It was 8-6 for me, 9-5 for MDS, and now we’re tied with six weeks to go.

With six disagreements this week (the most of the year, by far), this is the weekend when separation could happen. If definitely will begin on Thursday, where we disagree on one of the three Thanksgiving Day games.

For the year, we’re both 101-59, a success rate of 63.12 percent.

Eagles at Lions

MDS’s take: The Eagles looked terrible on Sunday and the Lions looked pretty good, but Detroit’s offense still isn’t making many big plays, and I think Philly can win a close, low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 17, Lions 14.

Florio’s take: The Lions are hot, and the Eagles are on the verge of an implosion. With Jim Caldwell earning a chance to keep his job (and possibly to emerge with power over personnel) and Mark Sanchez likely starting again for Philly, Detroit could be halfway to .500 after a 1-7 disaster.

Florio’s pick: Lions 24, Eagles 17.

Panthers at Cowboys

MDS’s take: In their last 28 games, the Cowboys are 16-3 when Tony Romo starts and 0-9 when he doesn’t. Unfortunately for Dallas, Romo now has to face perhaps the best defense in the NFL in the Panthers, and a loss on Thanksgiving will seal the Cowboys’ fate.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 20, Cowboys 13.

Florio’s take: The playoffs start for the Cowboys on Thursday. If so, they’ll be one and done. The Panthers are better than most will realize or admit, and Cam Newton will relish the opportunity to dance for a national audience that is dabbing the gravy from its collective chin.

Florio’s pick: Panthers 30, Cowboys 27.

Bears at Packers

MDS’s take: Green Bay’s offense does miss receiver Jordy Nelson, but Aaron Rodgers should be able to get back on track against a weak Bears defense. The Packers will cruise.

MDS’s pick: Packers 34, Bears 17.

Florio’s take: They’re retiring Brett Favre’s number, which will give his successor (and one-time in-house rival) extra motivation to avoid losing a second straight home game to a division rival.

Florio’s pick: Packers 31, Bears 21.

Vikings at Falcons

MDS’s take: This is a huge game in the NFC wild card race, as the Vikings and Falcons would currently be the No. 5 and No. 6 seeds in the conference. I like Matt Ryan and Julio Jones to have a big day in what should be an exciting game.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 28, Vikings 27.

Florio’s take: The Vikings had one bad game in their last six. The Falcons have had one good game in their last six. The Vikings have the better team on both sides of the ball, and (most importantly) it’s not really a big game for Minnesota. Which means they won’t stain their purple pants yellow.

Florio’s pick: Vikings 26, Falcons 18.

Rams at Bengals

MDS’s take: The Bengals went through a tough stretch the last couple weeks, but the Rams have been a brutally bad team on offense recently, and that should be just what Cincinnati needs to win a low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 13, Rams 6.

Florio’s take: After two straight losses, the Bengals are close to reacquiring the same, old “same old” prefix. Fortunately for Cincinnati, the Rams are falling apart at a much more dramatic and profound rate.

Florio’s pick: Bengals 31, Rams 15.

Saints at Texans

MDS’s take: When they’re not starting Ryan Mallett, the Texans are a pretty good team: They went 1-3 with Mallett starting, but they’re 4-2 in their other six games. Brian Hoyer should have a big game against the Saints’ bad defense, and the Texans will move to 6-5.

MDS’s pick: Texans 24, Saints 20.

Florio’s take: After two straight wins, it’s time to believe in the Texans. After two ugly losses, it’s time to not believe in the Saints. Which probably means the Saints will find a way to surprise us. Nevertheless, if the Texans are going to be a factor in the AFC South, they need to win this one.

Florio’s pick: Texans 24, Saints 20.

Buccaneers at Colts

MDS’s take: Both of these teams are coming off road wins last week and fighting for playoff berths, which makes this a pretty good game. I think the Colts will improve to 4-0 in games Matt Hasselbeck starts.

MDS’s pick: Colts 24, Buccaneers 17.

Florio’s take: The Colts are shaky and the Bucs are gaining confidence by the week. If Jameis Winston can stay healthy (which given his style of play could be a big if), Tampa Bay could find itself in the postseason.

Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 26, Colts 23.

Chargers at Jaguars

MDS’s take: The Jaguars remain right in the thick of things in the AFC South, while the Chargers are so beaten up that they’re just struggling to find 46 healthy bodies to throw out there on Sunday. Jacksonville should take this one and improve to 5-6.

MDS’s pick: Jaguars 30, Chargers 13.

Florio’s take: The Chargers are falling apart. The Jaguars are surprisingly competitive. Advantage: Team that is still playing for a playoff berth.

Florio’s pick: Jaguars 23, Chargers 13.

Bills at Chiefs

MDS’s take: The Chiefs are on a four-game winning streak and have won all four games handily. Despite a slow start, Kansas City has a good chance of making the playoffs, and they’ll knock off a potential wild-card rival with a win over the Bills.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 21, Bills 20.

Florio’s take: The Bills have a short-week trip to a hostile environment, against one of the hottest teams in the league. Kansas City has come too far after a 1-5 start to stumble now.

Florio’s pick: Chiefs 27, Bills 17.

Dolphins at Jets

MDS’s take: Remember when Dan Campbell had turned the Dolphins around? That feels like a long time ago. The truth is, the Campbell Dolphins aren’t much different from the Joe Philbin Dolphins.

MDS’s pick: Jets 21, Dolphins 17.

Florio’s take: Previously, the Jets got Joe Philbin fired. New Dolphins coach Dan Campbell will show his appreciation by beating the Jets, who have fallen apart after a 4-1 start.

Florio’s pick: Dolphins 20, Jets 17.

Raiders at Titans

MDS’s take: The Raiders have taken a step backward after looking like playoff contenders early in the season, but they should still be good enough to win at Tennessee, where the Titans are the NFL’s only winless home team.

MDS’s pick: Raiders 38, Titans 24.

Florio’s take: The Titans aren’t as bad as their record indicates, and the Raiders have suddenly lost their way. It’s time for Marcus Mariota to pick up his third win.

Florio’s pick: Titans 27, Raiders 20.

Giants at Washington

MDS’s take: The winner of this game is in first place in the NFC East. It’s going to be a close, tough game that the Giants will pull out in the fourth quarter.

MDS’s pick: Giants 24, Washington 23.

Florio’s take: New York makes its final push to win the division, and to hold off the Cowboys. Washington will have little or no chance to capture the title with a loss.

Florio’s pick: Giants 23, Washington 17.

Cardinals at 49ers

MDS’s take: The Cardinals are closing in on the NFC West crown and will take another step in that direction with another division road win.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 28, 49ers 17.

Florio’s take: Arizona beat Colin Kaepernick by 40 points. Blaine Gabbert will fare better, but not much.

Florio’s pick: Cardinals 40, 49ers 17.

Steelers at Seahawks

MDS’s take: This is close to a must-win game for the Seahawks for an NFC wild card berth, and it’s a big game for the Steelers for an AFC wild card berth as well. I think Seattle, playing at home, will turn in a good defensive effort and win a close one.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 20, Steelers 17.

Florio’s take: Seattle needs another win, badly. Thomas Rawls has given the offense a huge boost, and the bye week gave them more time to figure out how to use Jimmy Graham. The Steelers remain viable contenders in the AFC, but it won’t be easy to pull out this one.

Florio’s pick: Seahawks 27, Steelers 24.

Patriots at Broncos

MDS’s take: The Broncos made the right call by replacing Peyton Manning with Brock Osweiler, but neither quarterback would lead Denver to a win over New England.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 24, Broncos 14.

Florio’s take: Gary Kubiak struggled against the Patriots during his time with the Texans, but he had the Patriots on the ropes in January as the offensive coordinator of the Ravens. Based on how well the Broncos played last time they hosted an unbeaten team on Sunday Night Football, and given how well Brock Osweiler fits the Kubiak offense, it could be time for New England’s run of perfection to end.

Florio’s pick: Broncos 27, Patriots 23.

Ravens at Browns

MDS’s take: The late-season Monday night slate has a lot of ugly games, and this is the ugliest. I like the Johnny Manziel-led Browns to beat the Matt Schaub-led Ravens.

MDS’s pick: Browns 20, Ravens 16.

Florio’s take: The King of the Pick Six is back, leading a team with seven losses in 10 games. It gives the Browns a rare chance to get a win in an even rarer Monday night appearance.

Florio’s pick: Browns 13, Ravens 10.