Finally figured out my purpose in life. It is apparently to raise the self-esteem of others by doing so poorly on my NFL predictions that readers making their own picks at home may say, Looky here. I know more about football than this so-called expert. I wont kill myself, after all. Thank you, Mr. Cote. You saved my life! Last week actually was a step up for me, which tells you how far the nadir of my recent slump had sunk. I called the Steelers upset at Jets, and rightly had dog Bills, Jaguars and Titans with the points. I see this as the start of a massive resurgence. I only hope the reader will forgive me. [Note: Thursday-game pick was Seahawks (-6 1/2) over Cardinals, 24-13].
AT DOLPHINS (3-2)
Line: MIA by 8 1/2.
Cotes pick: MIA 24-17.
TV: 1 p.m., CBS (airing in South Florida).
This feels like one of those intersection games for Miami, a point at which the season turns and heads in one direction or the other. Dolphins must shake two straight losses and win this AFC East opener to refuel the playoff bandwagon. It isnt a sexy game nationally CBS sends its D Team in Bill Macatee and Steve Tasker but its a big one here. I like Miami, home and healthier coming off a bye, over a Buffs squad bound to a six-game road losing streak, although the betting line seems way fat. Two keys for the Dolphins: 1). Block Mario Williams, please. Somebody. Anybody. Miamis sieve of an offensive line must man up against a Bison defense that pounds the pocket pretty good. 2). Limit C.J. Spiller, who is expected to play despite an ankle issue. Hes been a recent Dolphin-killer, with 320 yards rushing and a 5.7 average in past three meetings. Aside to Joe Philbin: Billies giving up the fifth-most ground yards in league. Radical idea, but it might be a good day to commit to the running game for a change. If you wouldnt mind, that is!
AT COLTS (4-2)
Line: DEN by 6 1/2.
Cotes pick: DEN 34-24.
TV: 8:30 p.m., NBC (airing in South Florida).
Such an easy call that the GOTW committeemen slammed the gavel after five minutes and repaired to the Quill & Swilll Pub to toast their decision. I mean, NFL Favorite Son Peyton Mannings first return to Indianapolis? Its a no-brainer! Its why prime time was invented. The stage was further decorated when Colts owner Jim Irsay this week lamented that Mannings 11 playoff appearances with Indy resulted in seven first-round ousters and only one Super Bowl win a vague slam that Denver coach John Fox called unprofessional. Manning stayed about the fray, but clearly has a frosty relationship with Irsay even though Indy will honor Manning in a pregame ceremony. Denvers awful pass defense should keep Andrew Lucks Colts in the game and make it a shootout. But give me Manning here. Hell want to plainly stick it to Irsay. Plus, his defense gets Von Miller back from suspension.
AT CHIEFS (6-0)
Line: KC by 6 1/2.
Cotes pick: HOU 21-20.
TV: 1 p.m., CBS.
AAAWWWK! bellows the Upset Bird (who has taken to calling himself the Upset Beard this week in honor of the Red Sox). Houstaawwk! I know. I get it. Am I crazy? Perfect Chiefs flying high and home. Texans reeling and socked by QB issues. This is a genius-or-idiot gamble, and Id admit the chances of a blowout by KC are probably as great as the likelihood of an upset by Houston. But, like the Black Eyed Peas, I got a feeling. Hometown hero Case Keenum from the U-Houston gets his first NFL start in search of a spark in place of injured (and struggling) Matt Schaub, but what matters most is turnovers. My upset recipe: Houston has zero of those (maybe one at most!) and leaves it to its very good defense to dominate an ordinary Chiefs offense. Sounds good in theory, notes U-Bird. But then, again, so did the fail-safe nature of the Watergate break-in. I am not a craaawwwk!