The postseason is here. Which means that it’s time to throw out the regular-season records. Which is useful, because MDS kicked my ass in the regular season.
We finished the year 10-6 and 8-8, respectively, giving me a full-season record of 156-100. MDS won by a whopping 10 games, at 166-90.
We disagree on none of the games in the wild-card round. Check out our picks below.
Bills at Texans
MDS’s take: Deshaun Watson will be the difference in this game. The Bills have a good defense and an offense that can control the ball, and because of that I see them keeping it close for most of the day. But in the end, Watson will make some big plays that put the Texans over the top and send them on to the divisional round.
MDS’s pick: Texans 27, Bills 20.
Florio’s take: Deshaun Watson has playoff experience. Josh Allen doesn’t. Although the Bills arguably have the more talented team, Watson will use last year’s loss to help him understand what he needs to do to avoid falling to 0-2 at in the postseason, with both losses at home.
Florio’s pick: Texans 20, Bills 17.
Titans at Patriots
MDS’s take: Since benching Marcus Mariota for Ryan Tannehill, the Titans have become one of the best teams in football. In fact, the Titans are 7-3 since Tannehill became the starter -- better than the Patriots over the same time. New England is just 4-4 over the last eight games. So I’m strongly tempted to pick the Titans, but instead I just feel like I can’t pick against New England, at home, in the playoffs. The Patriots will take this one, but it won’t be easy.
MDS’s pick: Patriots 17, Titans 16.
Florio’s take: The Patriots are the Terminator; presume they’re dead at your own peril. And they’re not dead until the metal-skeleton corpse is dismembered, dissolved in acid, and the acid is burned until it fully evaporates. The Patriots know how to play single-elimination football; Tom Brady has 40 postseason starts. Ryan Tannehill? None. Yes, the Titans are the better team. But the better team doesn’t always win.
Florio’s pick: Patriots 23, Titans 20.
Vikings at Saints
MDS’s take: This is the easiest pick of the weekend. The Saints are one of the league’s elite teams -- good enough that in most years they would have earned a bye week -- and the Vikings just aren’t on their level. I like the Saints not just to win this one, but to win by a couple of touchdowns.
MDS’s pick: Saints 24, Vikings 10.
Florio’s take: It will take more than a miracle for the Vikings to upend one of the best teams in the league. Minnesota won’t even have a chance without a potent running game that makes it easier to move the ball through the air. Even though Dalvin Cook is healthy, the Saints’ defensive front should be able to bottle him up, and in turn to make the Vikings’ offense one-dimensional. The Saints, who shouldn’t even be playing in this round, advance to the next one easily.
Florio’s pick: Saints 27, Vikings 10.
Seahawks at Eagles
MDS’s take: I wouldn’t count the Eagles out. They’re playing at home, and they’re a team that has shown it can save its best for the postseason. But the Seahawks have the better roster, from top to bottom, and I expect them to emerge on top in a close and hard-fought game.
MDS’s pick: Seahawks 14, Eagles 10.
Florio’s take: It feels like Carson Wentz has spent 10 years in the NFL. (It’s actually his fourth season.) This will be his first playoff game. And while he’s been playing very well recently, the competition has been lackluster. The Seahawks are anything but. While not among the NFL’s elite teams, the Seahawks know how to win. And there’s something to be said for that during the win-or-go-home phase of the calendar.
Florio’s pick: Seahawks 27, Eagles 20.