The Miami Dolphins have what is tantamount to a Week 1 bye thanks to the bad timing and mean spirit of Hurricane Irma, but the NFL plows forth, and there is still something for Dolfans to root for this week besides the safety of loved ones. That would be a loss by the New England Patriots -- which for many probably is the next-best thing to the safety of loved ones.
This is the 98th season for King Sport and (believe it or not) the 27th year in the Miami Herald for my weekly predictions, which roll out every Thursday online and Friday in print starting this week. For now, our pick for Thursday night's start of it all:
CHIEFS (0-0) at PATRIOTS (0-0)
Line: NE by 9.
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Cote's pick: NE, 27-23.
TV: 8:30 p.m., NBC.
Patriots have won eight straight home openers and 12 of past 13 overall on Kickoff Weekend. Tom Brady, 40, will continue to defy Papi Time until there are contrary indications, and he's doubly difficult to defeat at home, where he is 101-17 all-time. But Chieftains played NE tough in last meeting, in 2105 playoffs, losing 27-20, and this too should be closer than the fat betting line, which disrespects how good KC is more than it flatters the defending champion Pats. Chiefs led all NFL defenses with 33 takeaways last year and have the playmakers to make Brady feel suddenly old. An outright upset here would not shock, but we'll hedge and make KC-plus-points the play. By the way, you will hear booing by Pats fans Thursday night. Why? NFL commish Roger Goodell, a villain, in Foxborough, will attend the game.