NFL WEEK 3
GREG COTE'S NFL PICKS OF THE WEEK
DOLPHINS THIS WEEK
DOLPHINS (1-0) at JETS (0-2)
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LINE: MIA by 6.
COTE'S PICK: MIA 34-13.
TV: 1 p.m., CBS.
I've loved the easy narrative by Your Friend the Media the past week that the Dolphins' road win last week mirrors a resilient, tough team that overcame the distraction and unpheaval of Hurricane Irma and can overcome anything. Um, quick reminder: Miami beat the mediocre Chargers 19-17 only because of the plain luck of L.A.'s rookie kicker missing a very makeable field goal in the last seconds. Kid makes kick and the whole narrative flips? Keep proving how good you are, Fins, because we don't know yet, and that process continues Sunday with what should be a low-stress win over the abysmal Jets. NYJ toyed with signing Jay Cutler but settled to recycle Josh McCown because Cutler saw a TV booth as a better situation than the woebegone Planes. Now we find out why, although Cutler may be a supporting weapon here. Jay Ajayi fantasy owners who have seen the Jets' run defense are looking at this game the way a fat man eyes an all-you-can-eat buffet.
GAME OF THE WEEK
FALCONS (2-0) at LIONS (2-0)
LINE: ATL by 3.
COTE'S PICK: DET 28-27.
TV: 1 p.m., Fox.
Detroit … in a Game of the Week? Hey why not! There isn't a no-doubt, standout GOTW on the NFL W3 slate, so why not go with the week's only battle of 2-0 teams in what should be a pointfest. Oh, and an upset, too. Even on a short week I like Motown at home. Matthew Stafford now enjoys offensive balance rare for him, and this has become a defense that can cause Matt Ryan problems. Also, Falcs will be without top edge rusher Vic Beasley.
UPSET OF THE WEEK
SEAHAWKS (1-1) at TITANS (1-1)
LINE: TEN by 3.
COTE'S PICK: SEA 24-20.
TV: 4:05 p.m., Fox.
“AAAWWWK!” trills the Upset Bird. “Seahaaawwwk!” This isn't hating on the Titans, who have turned a corner and look playoff-good to me. But my fundamental trust in Seattle's defense is unshaken, and Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson are going to find a way to get that offense back on the rails. “Two more seconds in the pocket is all Russ needs,” notes U-Bird. “Twomoresecondsinthepaaawwwk!”
Ravens (2-0, - 3 ½) over Jaguars (1-1), 23-13: Breakfast at Wembley with 9:30 a.m. kickoff in first of a record four London games. Ravens defense will dominate Blake Bortles.
Broncos (2-0, -3) over @Bills (1-1), 21-17: Denver is among league's most solid, balanced teams, with the defense to limit LeSean McCoy and heap too much burden on Tyrod Taylor.
Steelers (2-0, -7 ½) over @Bears (0-2), 30-16: Chitown has won past two meetings, but this time Pitt pushes Mike Glennon closer to the bench as Mitch Trubisky era looms closer.
@Colts (0-2, +1 ½) over Browns (0-2), 23-20: “Aawwk!” Upset! Yes, the Browns are favored. On the road. But take home Nags as Jacoby Brissett bests DeShone Kizer in epic (!) duel.
@Vikings (1-1, off board) over Buccaneers (1-0), 24-20: Off board because Vikes QB Sam Bradford (knee) is iffy and it's steep drop to Case Keenum. Still, make it venue call.
@Patriots (1-1, -13 ½) over Texans (1-1), 31-17: Rookie Qbs starting in Foxborough in Belichick era are 0-8 with five TDs, 16 interceptions, 50.7 rating. Good luck, Deshaun Watson!
@Eagles (1-1, -6) over Giants (0-2), 23-20: Birds' home opener, after Phils wre 6-2 at home last year. Biggies continue to struggle but stay inside bet-line in division rivalry.
@Panthers (2-0, -6) over Saints (0-2), 27-24: Upset Alert. N'Awlins shaky D could be salve for Cats' O-woes. Then again, Drew Brees will be first real test for Panthers' defense.
@Packers (1-1, -8 ½) over Bengals (0-2), 27-16: 'Gals have yet to score a TD and fired their offensive coordinator. Not picturing this bunch outscoring Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau.
Chiefs (2-0, -3) over @Chargers (0-2), 30-20: KC fantasy darling Kareem Hunt is first rookie with five TDs in first two games since 1920. Chokin' Bolts are 9-25 since start of 2015.
Raiders (2-0, -3) at @Redskins (1-1), 34-24: Upset alert. Big shot for Sunday night home 'dogs in prime-time shootout, but still can't trust that 'Skins D vs. what Derek Carr has going.
@Cardinals (1-1, +3) over Cowboys (1-1), 25-20: “Aawwk!” Upset! Cards in home opener on Monday stage, with Patrick Peterson erasing Dez Bryant and Dallas secondary injuries making Carson Palmer feel young again.
HOW THE DARTS LANDED
Went a solid 11-5 straight-up in Week 2 but slipped to 7-9 vs. the evil betting line, misfiring on our Upset of the Week call when Aaron Rodgers let us down in Atlanta. We did bull's-eye another outright upset in Broncos over Cowboys, and also had a trio of 'dogs-with-points in Bills, Dolphins and Lions. [Note: Thursday night pick was Rams (-2) over 49ers, 20-17].
Overall Pct. Vs. Spread Pct.
Week 1 11-5 .688 7-9 .438
Season 19-12 .613 15-16 .484
Final 2016 159-95-2 .626 139-109-8 .560e