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PFT’s Week Nine picks

Mike Florio and Chris Simms play "Fill in the Blank" to discuss players and coaches who have changed the perception around them, for better or worse.

A sluggish year of prognostication yielded last week to a 14-1 performance by me. The only problem? MDS also went 14-1.

So he still leads by eight games, after eight weeks.

For the year, he’s now 80-41. I’m at 72-49.

This week, we disagree on two games. For all picks, start scrolling.

49ers at Cardinals

MDS’s take: Kyler Murray is going to have a rough game against the great 49ers defense. I’ll be surprised if this one is close.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 24, Cardinals 6.

Florio’s take: The Cardinals are better than expected. The 49ers are dramatically better than expected.

Florio’s pick: 49ers 34, Cardinals 17.

Texans at Jaguars

MDS’s take: The AFC South race is wide open, with all four teams between 5-2 and 4-4. That makes every division game a big one, and I like the Jaguars here.

MDS’s pick: Jaguars 21, Texans 20.

Florio’s take: Deshaun Watson continues to prove that the gap between himself and Patrick Mahomes is narrower than anyone realizes.

Florio’s pick: Texans 27, Jaguars 23.

Colts at Steelers

MDS’s take: Call this a hunch more than anything else, but I see the Steelers turning things around over the second half of the season and getting into the playoff hunt.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 24, Colts 20.

Florio’s take: Here come the Steelers, a team that will keep finding a way despite any and all injuries that they may endure.

Florio’s pick: Steelers 27, Colts 24.

Bears at Eagles

MDS’s take: If the rematch of last year’s playoff game comes down to a last-second field goal, the entire city of Chicago may have a collective heart attack. I see the Bears losing this and falling deeper into last place in the NFC North.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 24, Bears 23.

Florio’s take: It won’t take a double doink this time around.

Florio’s pick: Eagles 27, Bears 20.

Jets at Dolphins

MDS’s take: What an ugly, awful game this should be.

MDS’s pick: Jets 13, Dolphins 12.

Florio’s take: The Jets aren’t good, but they’re better than the Dolphins. Not by much, however.

Florio’s pick: Jets 20, Dolphins 17.

Vikings at Chiefs

MDS’s take: Even without a healthy Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs are a pretty good team. I think they’re good enough to put a half to the Vikings’ impressive run.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 24, Vikings 21.

Florio’s take: If the Vikings are going to have a special season they need to win this game. Spoiler: The Vikings are not going to have a special season.

Florio’s pick: Chiefs 24, Vikings 20.

Titans at Panthers

MDS’s take: Ryan Tannehill has been better than Marcus Mariota this season, but either way I see the Panthers’ defense shutting down the Titans’ offense.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 17, Titans 13.

Florio’s take: The Panthers are reeling after getting blown out in San Francisco. The Titans are surging are stealing one from the Bucs. It’s a house money game for the road team, and the road team steals another.

Florio’s pick: Titans 23, Panthers 16.

Washington at Bills

MDS’s take: After an ugly loss to the Eagles, the Bills’ defense will bounce back against a much worse opponent.

MDS’s pick: Bills 13, Washington 6.

Florio’s take: It’s a Super Bowl XXVII rematch, and Thurman Thomas wouldn’t need a helmet to win this one.

Florio’s pick: Bills 24, Washington 14.

Buccaneers at Seahawks

MDS’s take: The Bucs are a better team than their 2-5 record suggests, but Russell Wilson will have a better game than Jameis Winston on Sunday and the Bucs will drop to 2-6.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 24, Buccaneers 14.

Florio’s take: The two teams that joined the NFL in 1976 renew acquaintances, as do Bruce Arians and Pete Carroll. Jameis Winston eventually will do Jameis Winston things, and Russell Wilson eventually will do Russell Wilson things.

Florio’s pick: Seahawks 28, Buccaneers 16.

Lions at Raiders

MDS’s take: The Raiders are a better team than people think, and they’re going to stay in playoff contention with a win on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Raiders 28, Lions 27.

Florio’s take: The Raiders return home for the first time in seven weeks, with only five more chances to win a game in Oakland.

Florio’s pick: Raiders 24, Lions 17.

Packers at Chargers

MDS’s take: Green Bay fans will fill the Chargers’ tiny stadium in Carson, and this will sound like a Packers home game as they cheer on another big win.

MDS’s pick: Packers 28, Chargers 17.

Florio’s take: Lambeau Field West will be a-rockin’ with Aaron Rodgers fans.

Florio’s pick: Packers 34, Chargers 20.

Browns at Broncos

MDS’s take: What better time for the Browns to right the ship than when they’re facing a bad Broncos team that’s starting someone named Brandon Allen at quarterback?

MDS’s pick: Browns 20, Broncos 17.

Florio’s take: Brandon Allen is the starting quarterback on Sunday. That’s all that needs to be said.

Florio’s pick: Browns 20, Broncos 13.

Patriots at Ravens

MDS’s take: Lamar Jackson and the Ravens will be the toughest opponent the Patriots have faced this season, but not tough enough to hand them their first loss.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 20, Ravens 14.

Florio’s take: The Patriots haven’t seen a quarterback like Lamar Jackson this year, but Jackson has never seen a defense like New England’s.

Florio’s pick: Patriots 23, Ravens 15.

Cowboys at Giants

MDS’s take: Dak Prescott will have a big day against a bad Giants pass defense. The Cowboys should win easily.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 31, Giants 20.

Florio’s take: The Cowboys get a chance to redeem themselves at MetLife Stadium, not long after losing to the Jets there. Look for Dallas to get an early lead and then suffocate the Giants.

Florio’s pick: Cowboys 31, Giants 17.