Greg Cote

Greg Cote’s Week 2 NFL picks

The Dolphins will face New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 2.
The Dolphins will face New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 2. AP

Confetti, please. And a brass band. OK maybe Week 1 of our 26th season of picks didn’t merit a parade for the decent 10-6 mark overall, but I’ll celebrate a shiny 11-5 against the spread anytime, anywhere, anyhow. We narrowly missed our Upset of the Week call outright (Jets over Bengals) but had NYJ with the points. We did foresee outright upsets with Broncos over Panthers and Raiders over Saints, and also had the underdog Patriots, Lions and Jaguars with the points. Oh, and we nailed a rare exact-score bull’s-eye on Packers winning 27-23. I don’t normally brag this much —owing not to humility, but to a general lack of opportunity. Feels good, though. So let’s keep it going! (Note: Thursday night pick was Jets (even) over Bills 24-20).

Cote’s Record

Overall

Pct.

Vs. spread

Pct.

Last week

10-6

.625

11-5

.688

Season

10-6

.625

11-5

.688

DOLPHINS THIS WEEK

DOLPHINS (0-1)

at PATRIOTS (1-0)

Line: NE by  6 1/2.

Cote’s pick: NE 23-20.

TV: 1 p.m., CBS (airing in South Florida).

It was amusing this week seeing Bill Belichick heap praise on the Dolphins and wring hands over how dangerous Miami is. That would be the same Dolphins his Patriots have mostly owned for most of this century. The Dolphins he has beaten seven games in a row and 13 of the past 15 in Foxborough. Did I mention that Ryan Tannehill is 0-4 at New England and been sacked 22 times in the process? OK, that’s the glass half empty, Dolfans. But Belichick has a point, too. Here’s the glass half full: Belichick’s career record vs. Miami is a modest 20-14. Tannehill has pitched for 996 yards in the past three meetings. Jimmy Garoppolo is not Tom Brady. And Rob Gronkowski (hamstring) is iffy to play. [Bonus fact: Jarvis Landry reached 200 catches in his 33rd NFL game, fastest ever]. Do I sense a major upset here? Nope. But neither would it shock me. I think Adam Gase is the smartest Dolphins coach that Belichick has faced in a long time. Fins beat the point spread in Seattle and should do it again Sunday versus the rival and nemesis that plays Lord Voldemort in the AFC East.

GAME OF THE WEEK

BENGALS (1-0)

at STEELERS (1-0)

Line: PIT by  3 1/2.

Cote’s pick: PIT 28-24.

TV: 1 p.m., CBS.

Why our Game of the Week? This division grudge between quality teams percolates with healthy animosity that makes it maybe the fiercest rivalry NFL has. That only turned up a notch last year when the Steelers ended Andy Dalton’s season with a broken thumb and then bounced the ’Gals from the playoffs. This also is one of only three Week 2 matchups between 1-0 teams. The series has been a bit lopsided — Mike Tomlin is 13-5 vs. Cincy and Marvin Lewis 8-18 vs. Pitt — but tight games always are likely. Pitt’s D-line needs to pressure Dalton, but I like Big Ben’s Steelers at home.

UPSET OF THE WEEK

PACKERS (1-0)

at VIKINGS (1-0)

Line: GB by  2 1/2.

Cote’s pick: MIN 23-20.

TV: 8:30 p.m., NBC (airing in South Florida).

“Aaawwwk!” croons the Upset Bird. “Sorry, Paawwkers. It’s Minnesaawwk!” This could have been our Game of the Week, too. Gee Bees have owned Vikings under Mike McCarthy (14-5-1), but Minny’s first game in its new stadium on a Sunday night stage should make for electric ambiance that helps lift the Purples. Whether Shaun Hill or Sam Bradford QBs for ’Sota (big secret by Mike Zimmer; I’d hunch Bradford), Vikes will get Adrian Peterson going and show again they can survive without Teddy Bridgewater. “Bridge over troubled water,” nods U-Bird. “Simon and Garfaaawwwk!”

DOG OF THE WEEK

RAVENS (1-0)

at BROWNS (0-1)

Line: BAL by  6 1/2.

Cote’s pick: BAL 19-16.

TV: 1 p.m., CBS.

When there isn’t a clear-cut worst Game of the Week, it’s always a safe bet to imagine the Browns will be involved. Journeyman Josh McCown starting for injured Robert Griffin III makes this the NFL-record 15th season in a row Cleveland has started more than one quarterback. John Harbaugh is 14-2 vs. Earthtones, a healthy-again Terrell Suggs gives BAL defense its bite back, and Crows have won seven of past eight trips to the Dawg Pound. Doubt that changes, though the bet-line feels a tad fat.

TITANS (0-1)

at LIONS (1-0)

Line: DET by 6.

Cote’s pick: DET 31-17.

TV: 1 p.m., CBS.

Hot Seat Bowl finds two guys coaching for their jobs this season in Tenners’ Mike Mularkey and Motown’s Jim Caldwell. Caldwell is off to the better start after last week’s 39-35 shootout win over Indy, and he’s 5-1 all-time vs. Titans. Mularkey better dial up a way to bring some pressure to the pocket, or Matthew Stafford might just throw for about five or six miles.

COWBOYS (0-1)

at REDSKINS (0-1)

Line: WAS by  2 1/2.

Cote’s pick: DAL 27-23.

TV: 1 p.m., Fox.

Cowboys and Indians is one of King Sport’s better rivalries but, the way Washers looked last week and with Dallas minus Tony Romo, it feels shrunken. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott are ’Boys’ first rookie QB/RB to start season since Roger Staubach and Calvin Hill in 1969. Josh Norman on Dez Bryant might make it a thorny day for Prescott, but I like Elliott for a breakout game. Upset!

SAINTS (0-1)

at GIANTS (1-0)

Line: NYG by  4 1/2.

Cote’s pick: NYG 41-35.

TV: 1 p.m., Fox.

When is a high over/under not high enough? Here. It’s 52.5 points. That could be a halftime total with these two. Winning team in past four meetings has averaged 50.3 points. When last they met, Drew Brees threw for 505 yards and seven TDsm and Eli Manning parried with 350 and six. Insane. Defensive backs in this game don’t need a coach, they need a therapist. Like Biggies in their home opener, because I trust Nawlins’ defense even less than I trust NYG’s.

49ERS (1-0)

at PANTHERS (0-1)

Line: CAR by  13 1/2.

Cote’s pick: CAR 30-17.

TV: 1 p.m., Fox.

San Fran was one of pleasant surprises of Kickoff Weekend while Carolina was an upset loser, but there is every reason to see a return to form for both here. Can’t fathom Cats, in home opener, falling to 0-2 — especially with the added rest/preparation edge of having played last Thursday vs. SF going Monday night. This team was 10-0 at home last year including playoffs. Like Frans hanging close getting all those points, though.

CHIEFS (1-0)

at TEXANS (1-0)

Line: HOU by  2 1/2.

Cote’s pick: HOU 24-21.

TV: 1 p.m., CBS.

Kansas City beat Houston twice last season, including a 30-0 wipeout in the playoffs, but all that does is give the home team added incentive here, and Houston’s offense is substantially retooled with Brock Osweiler and Lamar Miller augmenting DeAndre Hopkins. Still see KC as slightly better squad, but make it a venue pick. (Note: Initially my gut said Chiefs but I talked my way out of the pick, which I rarely if ever do. Uh, oh?)

SEAHAWKS (1-0)

at RAMS (0-1)

Line: SEA by  3 1/2.

Cote’s pick: SEA 27-13.

TV: 4:05 p.m., Fox (airing in South Florida).

Rams return home to Los Angeles on Sunday for first time since 1994, but after last week’s embarrassing 28-0 road crash against San Fran, how excited can L.A. possibly be? Case Keenum was abysmal Monday night but gets the start again. I know the Rams (as St. Louis) beat Seattle twice last year and that Russell Wilson has a tender ankle, but I still can’t see the possible upset some are envisioning.

BUCCANEERS (1-0)

at CARDINALS (0-1)

Line: ARI by 7.

Cote’s pick: ARI 30-20.

TV: 4:05 p.m., Fox.

I’ve said Tampa will be better than most think and they showed it last week. Jameis Winston is the real deal. But Arizona hasn’t started 0-2 since 2002, and it won’t happen here. Winston, by the way, as a ninth-grader, attended a Bruce Arians football camp. On Sunday, Arians will dial up enough defense to hector and harry his former camper.

JAGUARS (0-1)

at CHARGERS (0-1)

Line: SD by 3.

Cote’s pick: SD 24-20.

TV: 4:25 p.m., CBS.

Jax is one of my 2016 “it” teams and showed it by giving Aaron Rodgers’ Packers a tough time last week before falling 27-23. Now here’s another chance to gauge Jags’ improvement, because Philip Rivers is on a 5-0 run against them with 14 TDs and a 128.1 rating. SD blew a 27-3 lead vs. KC last week and lost Keenan Allen to injury but still like Rivers and Bolts at home.

FALCONS (0-1)

at RAIDERS (1-0)

Line: OAK by 5.

Cote’s pick: OAK 27-24.

TV: 4:25 p.m., CBS.

Another “it” team on the rise: Oakland. Raiders beat Saints last week 35-34 on Jack Del Rio’s daring winner-take-all, two-point call. But I’d also remind that Drew Brees strafed OAK’s pass D for 423 yards. I like Raiders for their 2-0 start since 2002, but closer than the line. And the upset alert will be on high if Matt Ryan enjoys the stress-free pocket Brees did.

COLTS (0-1)

at BRONCOS (1-0)

Line: DEN by 6.

Cote’s pick: DEN 23-16.

TV: 4:25 p.m., CBS (airing in South Florida).

Indy’s defensive backfield is depleted, which explains why Matthew Stafford threw for about a billion yards in a Detroit win last week. Well, that secondary is still depleted. And now, unlike last week, Andrew Luck is facing a quality defense on the road — the one that lacerated his kidney last year in fact. Colts have won eight of past nine vs. Broncos, but it’s time for that trend to hit the brakes.

EAGLES (1-0)

at BEARS (0-1)

Line: CHI by 3.

Cote’s pick: CHI 28-21.

TV: 8:30 p.m. Monday, ESPN (airing in South Florida).

Birds soared out the gate last week behind rookie Carson Wentz, whose jersey topped NFL online sales this week. Bears started with a stumble. But see a reversal of fortunes here. Solider Field and Monday stage make it a tougher circumstance for Wentz. And Jay Cutler and crew should go big against a dreadful and now depleted Philly secondary.

  Comments