How the darts landed
Oh the drama in here is so thick you could cut it with a feather! Three weeks left in the regular season and me needing to make up 10 more games to climb to .500 against the spread. My chances? If I was that smart (or lucky) Id be having a better season against the spread. Gained back two games with a solid effort last week, including an Upset of the Week bulls-eye on Vikings over Bears, another outright upset hit with Cowboys over Bengals, and a pair of dogs -with-points in Rams and Eagles. Time is short, though. Must locate gas pedal. [Thursday pick: Bengals (-31/2) over Eagles, 27-23].
Line: MIA by 7.
Cotes pick: MIA 24-13.
TV: 1 p.m., CBS (airing in South Florida).
Its Chad Henne Week in South Florida! I know that qualifies as desperately manufactured excitement, but when the Dolphins with negligible playoff hopes hanging by a gossamer thread are hosting the awful Jaguars, you take anything you can find. So in the absence of a game that matters we have the subtext of Henne vs. Ryan Tannehill in a symbolic verdict on Miamis QB direction. Henne said he wants to show he belongs with the Jags, not prove anything to Miami. Tannehill needs to shake off some rookie torpor and start trending up again. A loss here would mark a season nadir for the Dolphins. Jax is that bad (especially with Maurice Jones-Drew out) and Henne has reverted to mediocrity the past two games after a brief, aberrant flare of apparent quality. Woe will be the Dolphins if they cannot beat this opponent with something approaching comfort or ease.
Line: NE by 51/2.
Cotes pick: NE 27-23.
TV: 8:20 p.m., NBC (airing in South Florida).
A handful of tasty games pulse on the NFL Week 15 menu, but Patriots-Niners as likely a Super Bowl preview as any made it easy on the Game of the Week committee. Talk about a made-for-prime-time matchup! Its the No. 1 defense (49ers, 14.2 points allowed) vs. the No.1 offense (Pats, 36.3 scored). Patriots already have clinched the AFC East, and San Fran can sew up a playoff pass with a win here. New England is coming off a short week after playing Monday but the Pats have only won 20 consecutive games at home in December. Is that even legal? I like Niners to keep this one close, but consider that NEs three losses are by a combined four points and appreciate that the Pats are the best team going right now. And pretty clearly so.
Line: DEN by 2 1/2.
Cotes pick: BAL 28-24.
TV: 1 p.m., CBS.
AAAWWWK! belts the Upset Bird. Ravens rarely a home dog. Rarely a home daaawwwk! The betting line reminds us that Joe Public swoons at the cleats of Peyton Manning, who can do no wrong especially when The Master played Thursday so has had extra prep time. Denver already has clinched the playoffs; Ravens clinch division title with a win. Flaccos offense should get a goose from the coordinator change with Cam Cameron dumped in favor of Jim Caldwell, Peytons old boss in Indy. True that on the OC change, notes U-Bird. Less Cam Cameron is almost always a good thing. Less Cam Cameraawwk!