I could sugarcoat or equivocate, but what would be the point. I had another lousy week, OK? Had the Saints-Dolphins game pegged and had Browns-with-points over Bengals, but not a lot else went right. I did get unlucky, with at least four teams Id picked blowing late leads. (Thanks for that, choking Texans and miserable Matt Schaub! Not that Im bitter). Now hopefully some of that luck will turn. The past two weeks have been a freefall, but I trust the bungee cord is about to kick in. Optimism: The Last Resort of the Hopeless. (Note: Thursday-game pick was Bills (+4) over Browns, 23-20).
Line: MIA by 3.
Cotes pick: MIA 24-20.
TV: 1 p.m., CBS (televised in South Florida).
Super Bowl-winning coaches all get a Genius Card but there is an expiration date, and well have to take John Harbaughs away if he continues with last weeks lunatic idea to have error-prone Joe Flacco throw 50 passes and have Ray Rice run five times. Ravens will surely try to get their ground game untracked here. Trouble is, Miamis defense, healthier than last week, is stout against the run. This presents a problem for Harbaugh, although his offense could get a boost from the return of WR Jacoby Jones, who might play unless another stripper clocks him with another champagne bottle. These are two pretty even teams but Miami has won three in a row at home, during which Ryan Tannehill has a 103.7 passer rating. These are also two pretty bad offensive lines, but Miamis pass rush is better able to take advantage, presuming Cam Wake plays as I expect he will. Ill admit I sort of talked myself into this pick. I give the visiting Crows a major upset shot, especially with Miami on a short week. But I also believe the Dolphins are motivated for a big home showing after embarrassing themselves in New Orleans Monday night.
Line: DEN by 7.5.
Cotes pick: DEN 34-31.
TV: 4:25 p.m., CBS (televised in South Florida).
If the Game of the Week committee had a head it would be spinning by Week 5s giddy options. At least four games are GOTW-worthy, but how can you miss with a Cowboys home game vs. Peyton Manning and an over/under approaching 60 points? I mean, Manning and Tony Romo might combine for 900 yards passing. Seriously. Manning had a one-for-the-ages September in which Denvers 179 points were the best season-opening four-game total since Dallas put up 183 in 1966. And Romo has a 14-1 TD/pick ratio in his past five home games. But heres the thing: Cowboys pass defense isnt very good. Has already allowed 10 scoring throws. Ranks 27th. That adds up to Denver staying unbeaten, although I do like Dallas to end Stallions 15-game streak of regular season wins by at least seven points. Manning was intercepted four times when last he faced Cowboys, in 2010. We know he can win easily. Lets see him work for one.
Line: SEA by 2.5.
Cotes pick: IND 26-23.
TV: 1 p.m., FOX.
AAWWK! cries the Upset Bird, soaring, old-time-y aviator goggles fixed atop a jet-black beak. Andrew Laaawwwk! Seattle has won nine straight regular-season games by an average score of 33.6 to 11.9 and is 4-0 for the first time ever. Something gotta give. It almost did last week when Hawks needed the gift of Matt Schaubs awfulness to beat Houston. Seattle is simply due a stumble, and Indy is well-positioned, having won its past two games by 64-10 and on a 7-1 run at home. Andrew Luck vs. Russell Wilson is a big-time QB duel in the Kids Division. Give me the kid in his own crib. Lets continue the crib metaphor by suggesting Colts defense will rattle Wilson, suggests U-Bird. Baby! Baaawwwk!