TITANS (1-2) at TEXANS (3-0)
Line: HOU by 12.
Cotes pick: HOU 35-13.
TV: 1 p.m., CBS.
Houston, right now, is the best team in football. When the best team is home and has a back (Arian Foster) who has 258 rushing yards in past two games against this opponent, that team strikes me as a good bet. Titans are 7-3 all-time in Houston, but forget that. I prefer this trend: Matt Schaub has never lost a game following one in which part of his ear lobe was torn off.
RAIDERS (1-2) at BRONCOS (1-2)
Line: DEN by 6 1/2.
Cotes pick: DEN 27-24.
TV: 4:05 p.m., CBS.
If the betting number feels a tad plump it is because Oakland has a bad pass defense and bettors continue to romanticize the comeback year of Peyton Manning, whose 64th career 300 game last week bumped Dan Marino to second all-time. Give me Raiders with those points. Oaks have won four in a row at Mile High, and Darren McFadden has 438 ground yards in past three meetings.
GIANTS (2-1) at EAGLES (2-1)
Line: PHI by 2.
Cotes pick: NYG 31-28.
TV: 8:20 p.m., NBC (airing in South Florida).
This NFC East matchup looks marquee-ready for Sunday prime time. Phils have won six of past seven over Biggies, but give me NYG here in a small upset. They get Ahmad Bradshaw back but more importantly probably Hakeem Nicks, too. Theyve had extra time after playing last Thursday. And that Giants pass rush is no way for Mike Vick to get hit less or make fewer errors.
BEARS (2-1) at COWBOYS (2-1)
Line: DAL by 3 1/2.
Cotes pick: DAL 24-20.
TV: 8:30 Monday, ESPN (airing in South Florida).
Monday stage has itself a tasty duel, especially for those who like serious defense. Dallas D leads NFL with 250 average yards allowed. Chitowns D is coming off a six-sack, two-INT game. Matt Fortes expected return buoys Bears shot, but I like Boys for their first 3-1 start since 08.
OFF THIS WEEK
COLTS (1-2; next vs. Packers): Despite a disappointing home loss to Jaguars last week and a tough opponent on deck, rebuilding Indy and rookie QB Andrew Luck (846 passing yards) seem modestly ahead of schedule.
STEELERS (1-2; next vs. Eagles): Hard to read Pittsburgh as the Pennsylvania Bowl looms. Big Ben is doing his part, but a tepid ground game invites concern. So does an aging defense that has allowed 65 points in those two losses.