Greg Cote

Greg Cote’s NFL picks for Week 7

Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan, center, stands with defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman, left, and outside linebacker Lorenzo Alexander (57) during the second half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers on Sun., Oct. 16, 2016, in Orchard Park, N.Y.
Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan, center, stands with defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman, left, and outside linebacker Lorenzo Alexander (57) during the second half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers on Sun., Oct. 16, 2016, in Orchard Park, N.Y. AP

Stars have aligned, cows fly and a glacier of ice has frozen Hades. I don’t know how else to explain my surreal .656 winning percentage against the point spread (including winning marks all six weeks), because it defies reason. My previous best full-season ATS mark in 26 years of doing this has been .574. Again last week, I sailed. Bull’s-eyed yet another Upset of the Week with Redskins over Eagles (“Aawwk!”), hit on two other outright upsets with Chargers over Broncos and Saints over Panthers, and had an additional trio of ’dogs-with-points in Browns, Falcons and Cowboys. (The ATS tie last week was a push on Houston’s three-point win.) Can we continue to slay the evil betting line? Logic suggests a leveling off, but screw logic. Let’s enjoy the ride! [Note: Thursday night pick was Packers (-7 1/2) over Bears, 31-17].

Overall

Pct.

Vs. Spread

Pct.

Last week

12-3

.800

10-4-1

.714

Season

60-32

.652

59-31-2

.656

DOLPHINS THIS WEEK UPSET OF THE WEEK

BILLS (4-2)

AT DOLPHINS (2-4)

Line: BUF by 3.

Cote’s pick: MIA 24-20.

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

AAAWWWK!” trumpets the Upset Bird. “Buffalose. Buffalaawwk!” Well, the bully returns to Miami. What? Oh you thought I meant Richie Incognito? Him, too. But I meant Rex Ryan. Blowhard Rex has won his past four trips to the 305 (Jets included), but that run hits a wall on Sunday. No, I’m not entirely buying what we saw of Miami in that 30-15 beatdown of Pittsburgh last week. Fins still must prove that was no mirage. But a healthy offensive line, the Jay Ajayi we saw last week and a sack-free Ryan Tannehill makes a huge difference. (Tanny, by the way, has thrown for 300-plus yards in five consecutive division games.) Mostly, I pin this upset on the Buffs swaggering in overconfident off four wins in a row by a combined 124-53, and having swept the Fins last season by a combined 74-31. Buffalo is pretty good; it isn’t that good. The Bills’ big edge would be its top-ranked ground game vs. what has been a shaky Miami run-D, but LeSean McCoy (hamstring) will be less than himself if he plays at all, which also factors in this pick. Buffs are plus-8 on turnovers to Fins’ minus-5, so a clean game by Miami will be the key. Buffalo has lost the past four times it came here with a winning record. Make it five. “Is there a more delicious sight in all of sports than a crestfallen Rex Ryan?” muses U-Bird. “Rex Raawwk!”

GAME OF THE WEEK

SEAHAWKS (4-1)

AT CARDINALS (3-3)

Line: ARI by  1 1/2.

Cote’s pick: ARI 21-17.

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

Contentious debate among the GOTW panel. Pats-Steelers faded with Big Ben’s injury, but lots of support this week for Vikes-Eagles. Can’t miss, though, with this Sunday prime-timer between rivals who’ve won 10 of past 12 NFC West crowns. ’Hawks run defense vs. fantasy stud David Johnson is alone worth the price of admission. Seattle has won three trips in a row to the desert, but I like the Cacti to end that run and defend the fort here. ’Zona’s pass rush should have the better of SEA’s less-than-solid offensive line. Seattle embarrassed Arizona at home 36-6 to end last season. The Cardinals rememeber and will respond.

DOG OF THE WEEK

BROWNS (0-6)

AT BENGALS (2-4)

Line: CIN by 10.

Cote’s pick: CIN 28-20.

TV: 1 p.m., CBS.

Oh no, Ohio. We’re so sorry for your losses. Cleveland is NFL’s last winless team (the penance for the Cavs’ and Indians’ success), while Cincy is among league’s most major disappointments thus far. ’Gals swept Earthtones by a combined 68-13 in 2015, and Andy Dalton should be big here against depleted Brownies secondary, especially with TE Tyler Eiert likely to make season debut.

GIANTS (3-3)

VS. RAMS (3-3), IN LONDON

Line: NYG by 3.

Cote’s pick: NYG 27-13.

TV: 9:30 a.m., NFLN (airing in South Florida).

Second of season’s three London games, but no Wembley this time. The stage is Twickenham Stadium, home of England’s national rugby team. Ever notice how we keep sending bad games to London? L.A.’s pass defense stunk vs. Detroit last week, and now gets the scorching combo of Eli Manning and Odell Beckham — the greatest Beckham since David. Cheerio!

SAINTS (2-3)

AT CHIEFS (3-2)

Line: KC by  6 1/2.

Cote’s pick: KC 27-23.

TV: 1 p.m., Fox.

KC is erratic but tends to find comfort at home, where Chiefs have won eight in a row. Team will be missing three defensive starters but will still be better than N’Awlins’ godawful defense. Poor Drew Brees must overcome not only the opponent but also his own D’s ineptitude each week. Make this a venue call, but closer than the betting line.

COLTS (2-4)

AT TITANS (3-3)

Line: TEN by  2 1/2.

Cote’s pick: IND 28-24.

TV: 1 p.m., CBS.

I sort of get why Tenners are a small home favorite, “sort of” being the key phrase. Indy has owned this series, winning nine in a row and 14 of the past 15. Andrew Luck personally is 7-0 vs. the Titans — including 4-0 in Nashville. I get that these trends put the law of averages on TEN’s side, but I’m-a ride Luck and this series trend until Marcus Mariota can prove me wrong. Upset!

VIKINGS (5-0)

AT EAGLES (3-2)

Line: MIN by  2 1/2.

Cote’s pick: MIN 19-16.

TV: 1 p.m., Fox.

Do I think the NFL’s last unbeaten team will threaten to make the Dolphins’ 1972 Perfectos nervous? No. But I do think they’ll get to 6-0 in Philly, in Sam Bradfcord’s first game back since being traded to Vikes seven weeks ago. Minny, coming off a bye, brings a really superb defense that will attack a depleted Philly O-line and bedevil young Carson Wentz.

REDSKINS (4-2)

AT LIONS (3-3)

Line: DET by  1 1/2.

Cote’s pick: WAS 27-23.

TV: 1 p.m., Fox.

Washington, in search of its first five-game win streak since 2012, brings to Motown a defense that has not allowed an offensive TD in seven quarters in a row. Skins also have won five road games in a row dating to last year. Matthew Stafford will test Washers’ D, but Theo Riddick is iffy (ankle), which is partly why I like road ’dog here in a small upset.

RAIDERS (4-2)

AT JAGUARS (2-3)

Line: JAC by 1.

Cote’s pick: JAC 23-21.

TV: 1 p.m., CBS.

Third-year QBs Derek Carr and Blake Bortles are natural rivals from same draft class, and their teams both are trying to make that move from AFC doormats to winners. Oakies are 3-0 on road, but Jags have won past two games, and I like ’em to make it three at home. Raiders are the better offensive team, but Jax’s rising, superior defense should carry the day.

RAVENS (3-3)

AT JETS (1-5)

Line: Even.

Cote’s pick: NYJ 19-17.

TV: 1 p.m., CBS.

Geno Smith takes the snaps for benched Ryan Fitzpatrick, while on the other side, Joe Flacco’s sore throwing shoulder kept him from Wednesday and Thursday practices and put backup Ryan Mallett on call. So two QB wild cards make this one as tough a call as the even betting line would suggest. So, for me, when in doubt, go with the quiniela of desperation and home field.

BUCCANEERS (2-3)

AT 49ERS (1-5)

Line: TB by 2.

Cote’s pick: SF 21-19.

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

Tampa Bay is coming off a bye and San Fran got hammered by Bills last week, but, admittedly based more on hunch than logic, I like Niners as home ’dogs. Both teams will be without injured top running backs (Doug Martin, Carlos Hyde), but T-Bay’s weaker offense might be the needed antidote for SF’s bad D. Also sensing a big game from Kneelin’ Colin Kaepernick. Upset!

CHARGERS (2-4)

AT FALCONS (4-2)

Line: ATL by  6 1/2.

Cote’s pick: ATL 34-24.

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

Well, this could be entertaining. Philip Rivers and Matt Ryan both should hoist fantasy-pleasing numbers vs. a pair of bad pass defenses. Tempted to like Bolts getting this many points, but SD (which beat Denver last Thursday) hasn’t won consecutive games since 2014 and is a bad traveling squad — 1-11 in its past dozen away from home.

PATRIOTS (5-1)

AT STEELERS (4-2)

Line: NE by  7 1/2.

Cote’s pick: NE 27-23.

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

Ben Roethlisberger’s injury (out at least a month) robs some shine from what might otherwise have been our Game of the Week. Tom Brady is 8-2 in his career vs. Pitt with 24 TDs, three picks and a 113 rating. Still, as bad as Steelers were in Miami last week, and even with raw Landry Jones pitching in place of Big Ben, I still like the Curtains (who’ve won seven in a row at home) to at least cover the bulging point spread.

TEXANS (4-2)

AT BRONCOS (4-2)

Line: DEN by  7 1/2.

Cote’s pick: DEN 20-10.

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

The Monday night onus is squarely on Brock Osweiler, who left Denver in free agency for big bucks in Houston and has been an early disappointment. Then again, Broncos have lost two in a row, so there’s ample pressure to go around in this one. But give me Denver’s defense and some Mile High magic here. Also, Broncos should be able to get their ground game unstuck vs. Texans’ 29th-ranked run defense.

OFF THIS WEEK

▪ Cowboys (5-1; next vs. Eagles) – Good news: Bye gives Dez Bryant more time to mend the fingers he cut while slicing carrots for soup. More good news: Jerry Jones is partying like it’s 1994, his team one of league’s pleasant surprises and coming off huge win at Lambeau.

▪ Panthers (1-5; next vs. Cardinals)Oy vey. Carolina is NFL’s biggest disappointment, coming off a loss in New Orleans that leaves Cam Newton and last season’s 15-1 marvels scrambling as a long shot to even make the playoffs.

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