Happy to put last week in the past. (If only.) Had nice outright-upset picks with Redskins over Cowboys and Jaguars over Titans but still was an embarrassing 8-8 overall, on the wrong side of too many either/or calls. Those freaky six ties against the spread were from two winners that pushed (Texans, Falcons) and four games that were off the board when I picked em. Know how Rex Ryan still thinks he can make the playoffs? I still think I can catch .500 against the spread. [Thursday pick was Falcons (-4) over Saints, 34-31].
Line: NE by 7 1/2.
Cotes pick: NE 30-24.
TV: 1 p.m., CBS (airing in South Florida).
As Week 13 unfurls, I have to believe my struggle forecasting Dolphins games this year is rooted in over-analysis, too much thinking. Or am I over-analyzing in thinking that? Anyway, lets keep this one simple. Tom Bradys TD/INT ratio (24-3) is so good it should be illegal, and the Patriots offense is so good it normally is approaching 30 points by pregame warmups. Englands defense is better than advertised, too, its 32 takeaways ranking second in the league. Oh, did I mention that Bill Belichick is a pretty good coach even when he hasnt had extra time to prepare after playing on Thanksgiving? Pats clinch AFC East title with a win here, and have swept this series the past two seasons and won eight of past 10 vs. Miami. But I still like the home dog getting a touchdown-plus in a physical division rivalry. A bigger and louder than typical home crowd also should give Miami some tailwind. Who cares if a bunch of the crowd is Pats fans? Dolphins will keep it close.
Line: NYG by 2 1/2.
Cotes pick: WAS 28-27.
TV: 8:30 p.m. Monday, ESPN (airing in South Florida).
AAAWWWK! serenades the Upset Bird. Robert Griffin the thaawwk! Five games were on the Game of the Week radar but since none stood out, a plurality of support went to red-hot RG3 vs. the defending champions on the Monday stage in a fierce division rivalry. Not bad, right? Giants have won 10 of past 13 vs. D.C. but the rookie Griffin changes the dynamic. Skins thought they should have won Round 1 in October, but a late defensive lapse gave Biggies a long TD pass with 1:13 left and a 27-23 final that felt like a gift. Now Washers are home with extra time to prepare and something to prove. Tom Coughlin vs. Mike Shanahan in a battle of the two coaches voted mostly likely to look at any given time as if theyve just bitten a lemon, notes U-Bird. Bitten a laaawwwk!
Line: CAR by 3.
Cotes pick: KC 20-17.
TV: 1 p.m., Fox.
I know the Panthers won last week and that the Chiefs gave Denver a good game which, if youre the Chiefs, is almost like winning. But, cmon. The scent of a combined record of 4-18 is going to attract the worst-game-seeking Dog panel every time. Chiefs are 0-6 at home and have lost eight in a row, which is partly why I give them an XXL-sized upset shot here. Cats will arrive cocky, even though they havent earned the right. Every Dog has its day, and nobody is due like Kansas City. (Maybe this should have been our Upset of the Week, come to think of it.)