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PFT’s Week 17 2021 NFL picks

Mike Florio and Chris Simms play a round of “What’s more likely” in Week 17, debating if Joe Burrow lights up the Chiefs or if the Kansas City defense chews up and spits out another QB and more.

With two weeks to go, we’re all tied up.

A 12-4 mark for me in Week 16 combined with MDS going 11-5 has resulted in an exact match of 153-87-1 for both of us, through 16 weeks.

So the stretch run begins in a dead heat. Sixteen games this week, sixteen games next week.

This week, we disagree on one game. To see what it is, and to see what we think of all other games, keep scrolling.

Raiders (+6.5) at Colts

MDS’s take: This is a hard game to pick without knowing whether Colts quarterback Carson Wentz will clear COVID-19 protocols, but for now I’m going to say the Colts win a close one.

MDS’s pick: Colts 24, Raiders 21.

Florio’s take: With or without Carson Wentz, the Colts will find a way to get their tenth win, after starting 0-3.

Florio’s pick: Colts 20, Raiders 16.

Giants (+6) at Bears

MDS’s take: Both of these teams are mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, but the Bears looked last week like they’re still trying, while the Giants look like they’ve given up on the season.

MDS’s pick: Bears 28, Giants 20.

Florio’s take: Holders of Chicago’s first-round pick in 2022, the Giants win by winning. Or by losing.

Florio’s pick: Bears 24, Giants 14.

Buccaneers (-13) at Jets

MDS’s take: It’s hard to imagine the Jets even being competitive with the Bucs.

MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 35, Jets 14.

Florio’s take: The white towel will be flying early in this one.

Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 31, Jets 13.

Falcons (+14.5) at Bills

MDS’s take: It’s amazing that the Falcons are still in playoff contention this late in the season, but they won’t be after Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Bills 34, Falcons 14.

Florio’s take: When the Falcons lose, they lose convincingly.

Florio’s pick: Bills 35, Falcons 20.

Cardinals (+4.5) at Cowboys

MDS’s take: This is Sunday’s biggest game, between two teams right in the thick of the NFC playoff hunt. I think the Cowboys are playing their best football, while the Cardinals are reeling.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 28, Cardinals 20.

Florio’s take: This game has landed at a horrible time for the Cardinals, who have lost their edge at the same time the Cowboys have rediscovered theirs.

Florio’s pick: Cowboys 31, Cardinals 23.

Panthers (+7) at Saints

MDS’s take: The Saints’ playoff hopes took a hit when they were forced to start Ian Book at quarterback on Monday night, but they’ll remain in contention with Taysom Hill back on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Saints 24, Panthers 14.

Florio’s take: The Carolina quarterback carousel spins back to Sam Darnold. Good luck.

Florio’s pick: Saints 27, Panthers 17.

Eagles (-3.5) at Washington

MDS’s take: Washington coach Ron Rivera held his team together for most of a challenging season full of injuries and COVID concerns, but the Football Team appears to be just about done.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 30, Washington 17.

Florio’s take: Four straight losses, four straight wins, three straight losses. About to be four.

Florio’s pick: Eagles 24, Washington 20.

Chiefs (-5) at Bengals

MDS’s take: After a rough start to the season, the Chiefs look like the best team in the league right now.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 33, Bengals 21.

Florio’s take: It took a while, but the Chiefs have rediscovered their magic -- just in time to make some real noise in the postseason.

Florio’s pick: Chiefs 31, Bengals 24.

Jaguars (+15.5) at Patriots

MDS’s take: In a matchup of rookie quarterbacks, the advantage goes to Mac Jones because he gets to play the Jaguars’ terrible defense, while Trevor Lawrence has to face the Patriots’ excellent defense.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 21, Jaguars 0.

Florio’s take: Darrell Bevell won’t lose this one to Bill Belichick by calling a pass play with the game on the line. Hooray?

Florio’s pick: Patriots 30, Jaguars 13.

Dolphins (+3.5) at Titans

MDS’s take: The Dolphins followed a seven-game losing streak with a seven-game winning streak, but I think the winning streak comes to an end when they face their toughest opponent in months.

MDS’s pick: Titans 27, Dolphins 17.

Florio’s take: Miami will be a problem if they get to the playoffs. The Titans will make that an even bigger if.

Florio’s pick: Titans 24, Dolphins 20.

Broncos (+5.5) at Chargers

MDS’s take: The Chargers’ stunning loss to the Texans didn’t knock them out of the playoffs, but it did turn both of their remaining games into must-wins. I think they’ll take care of business on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 30, Broncos 17.

Florio’s take: It’s hard to trust the Chargers. It’s even harder to trust the Broncos.

Florio’s pick: Chargers 24, Broncos 20.

Texans (+12.5) at 49ers

MDS’s take: I give the Texans credit for playing hard down the stretch, and I question whether Jimmy Garoppolo is going to be able to pass effectively with his injured thumb. So while I’m picking the 49ers, I think this will be a nail-biter.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 20, Texans 17.

Florio’s take: The gang that couldn’t tank straight will get some help against a far superior foe.

Florio’s pick: 49ers 31, Texans 17.

Lions (+7) at Seahawks

MDS’s take: Neither of these teams is in playoff contention, but I think both Dan Campbell and Pete Carroll will have their teams playing hard in a competitive game.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 24, Lions 21.

Florio’s take: It’s unclear whether Pete Carroll’s job is in jeopardy. Lose to the Lions, and things could become more clear.

Florio’s pick: Seahawks 30, Lions 17.

Rams (-3.5) at Ravens

MDS’s take: This Ravens’ season that once looked so promising is now coming to a highly disappointing end.

MDS’s pick: Rams 28, Ravens 20.

Florio’s take: Two years after the Ravens dismantled the Rams in L.A., the road team gets a little taste of revenge.

Florio’s pick: Rams 30, Ravens 21.

Vikings (+6.5) at Packers

MDS’s take: The Packers are cruising toward the No. 1 seed in the NFC, and the Vikings are just about out of it.

MDS’s pick: Packers 30, Vikings 17.

Florio’s take: For the second straight week, the Vikings won’t have to worry about blowing a lead.

Florio’s pick: Packers 30, Vikings 17.

Browns (-3) at Steelers

MDS’s take: A frustrating Steelers season will end with them being eliminated from playoff contention on Monday Night Football.

MDS’s pick: Browns 27, Steelers 13.

Florio’s take: In Ben Roethlisberger’s final game in Pittsburgh, the home team finds a way.

Florio’s pick: Steelers 21, Browns 17.