I figured the law of gravity might bring us down after that 13-1 week, and was unfortunately right. Damn you, Isaac Newton! I can abide the 9-4-1 mark straight up, but not the 6-8 against the point spread. Nailed another Upset of the Week with Saints over Falcons (Aawwk!) but had too many misfires, and that included a blindside hit on the Dolphins home-field disappearing act against the Titans. Didnt see that one coming those five words a lament too descriptive of our season thus far against the betting number. [Thursday pick: Bills (-1) over Dolphins, 24-20].
Line: BAL by 3 1/2.
Cotes pick: PIT 20-17.
TV: 8:20 p.m., NBC (airing in South Florida).
Close call on which game would grand-marshal the Week 11 parade. Game of the Week committee grappled mostly with this one and Bears-Niners, but since both games are affected by quarterback issues, we went with the division grudge match and one of the best rivalries in the NFL. Shoulder and rib issues will shelve Ben Roethlisberger and foist veteran Byron Leftwich into his first start since 2009. This is one of three games this week affected by new QB injuries, and this one must fill a Steelers fan with dread considering Pitt needed overtime with Leftwich steering just to survive the lowly Chiefs last week. And Crows have won past two at the Ketchup Bottle even when Ben was pitching. Nevertheless! Im still feeling a prime-time upset maybe by hunch more than logic, Id admit. Steelers are on a nice roll, are 4-0 at home, and will rise up with a big defensive effort.
Line: WAS by 3 1/2.
Cotes pick: PHI 24-20.
TV: 1 p.m., Fox .
AAAWWWK! screams the Upset Bird, skittish as always as the calendar approaches the holiday that celebrates decapitating birds. Speaking of birds: The Eagles live! Eagles laaawwwk! I know, I know. Philly has lost five in a row, Andy Reids seat is so hot his a-- is on fire, and now rookie QB Nick Foles is all but certain to make his maiden start because of Mike Vicks concussion. The thing is, Washington isnt in much better shape, with three consecutive Ls, a 1-3 home record and a near-putrid pass defense. Birds need a spark, and it says here Foles could be it. Know when to hold em, know when to Foles em, croons U-Bird, looking silly in a cowboy hat. The Gambler, 1978. Nineteenseventyaaawwwk!
Line: HOU 15 1/2.
Cotes pick: HOU 24-10.
TV: 1 p.m., CBS.
Dog honors go to the worst matchup of the week, and normally we target two bad teams jousting, but in this case we opt for sheer lopsidedness. The very bad Jaguars Baguars to their sack-over-head fans and the very good Texans present an extreme talent contrast seldom witnessed. Houston beat Jax 27-7 in September and will dominate again, although I think Ill accept the offer of those two-TD-plus dog points, thanks. Texans are coming off that big, emotional showdown win at Chicago, face a natural letdown and will be on autopilot in this one.