BUCCANEERS (3-4) at RAIDERS (3-4)
Line: OAK by 1 1/2.
Cotes pick: OAK 27-24.
TV: 4:05 p.m., Fox.
Here is the closest Week 9 has to a pick-em game. Tampa has won three in a row and scored at least 28 in each, but Bucs will really miss injured left tackle Carl Nicks, and Oakland is 5-0 at home in this occasional series. More than a venue pick, though, I think Carson Palmer could put up big numbers against a weak, depleted Bucs secondary.
COWBOYS (3-4) at FALCONS (7-0)
Line: ATL 4.
Cotes pick: ATL 27-24.
TV: 8:20 p.m. NBC (airing in South Florida).
Prime-time gets a good one Sunday, and an outright upset of the unbeaten Falcons would not surprise. Might have picked it, in fact, except that it looked like RB DeMarco Murray wouldnt play for Dallas, and with backup Felix Jones also hurting, thats a big chunk of offense missing. I still take the Birds with hesitation, and like Boys to keep it very close.
EAGLES (3-4) at SAINTS (2-5)
Line: NO 3.
Cotes pick: NO 37-31.
TV: 8:30 p.m. Monday, ESPN (airing in South Florida).
Two disappointing, desperate teams are a combined 5-9, each coming off a loss, but count on the Monday audience being entertained by a pointfest. NAwlins should be good for what ails Mike Vick; Saints defense is first since 1950 to allow 400-plus yards each of its first seven games. And you know Drew Brees will get his stats, no matter the calamity around him. Nothing but a low-scoring game would surprise me.
OFF THIS WEEK
49ERS (6-2; next vs. Rams): Four NFC teams stand apart and Niners are one of them in wake of Mondays rout of Arizona. San Frans plus-86 is best point differential in the conference.
JETS (3-5; next at Seahawks): NYJs 30-9 beat-down loss to Dolphins left Stinkin Jets in last place in the AFC East. Hey, that a has ring to it. Help me out, Fireman Ed. L-A-S-T, Last!
PATRIOTS (5-3; next vs. Bills): Three losses at midseason is a lot for New England by Belichick/Brady standards, but look across the AFC today and see that only Houston is unarguably better.
RAMS (3-5; next at 49ers): Loss to Patriots in London last week was third in row for St. Lou and the foe on deck suggests itll soon be four. Jeff Fishers genius card has temporarily been suspended.