Greg Cote

Dolphins should keep right on rolling over 49ers

The struggling San Francisco 49ers, who are 0-4 on the road this season, are led by quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7), who says he is leading a protest for change but then doesn’t bother to even vote.
The struggling San Francisco 49ers, who are 0-4 on the road this season, are led by quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7), who says he is leading a protest for change but then doesn’t bother to even vote. AP

Like medicine to the ill or a drink to a drunk came last week for us. We needed it. We burst from a few weeks’ lull to go a knife-sharp 12-2 overall and a nifty 9-4-1 against the spread, with the Patriots win the tie, pushing at 13 points. We bull’s-eyed our Upset of the Week (“Aawwk!”) on Bills winning at Bengals, also had ’dog Saints-with-points, and nailed a rare exact score with Cowboys’ 27-17 win right on the nose. Nothing to do now but keep honkin’ like a big rig! [Note: Thanksgiving Day picks, not included below, were: Vikings (+ 2 1/2) over Lions, 23-20; Cowboys (-7) over Redskins, 30-24; and Steelers (-8) over Colts, 28-16].



Vs. spread


Last week











49ERS (1-9) at DOLPHINS (6-4)

Line: MIA by  7 1/2.

Cote’s pick: MIA 31-16.

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

Doomsaying Dolfans are forever waiting for the fist around the blind corner — the next loss to prove the whole damned thing was a house of cards in a rising wind. Well, take this week off from the angst as San Fran makes its first SoFla visit since 2008. Miami has seldom, in a lot of years, been a bigger favorite. And with such abundant reason. The Dolphins are percolating at five consecutive wins. The 49ers are terrible. The Fins are 4-1 at home. The Niners are 0-4 on the road. Miami is led by a quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, who has been really solid lately. San Fran is led by a quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, who says he is leading a protest for change but then doesn’t bother to even vote. Did I mention that Jay Ajayi might roll another 200 against the NFL’s worst (by far) run defense? That’s not to say South Florida should be overconfident; that right hasn’t been earned. SF is way overdue to surprise somebody, anybody, and it took a late miracle for MIA to edge the punchless Rams last week. By the way, the 49ers tried to hire Adam Gase in 2015 but he slipped from their grasp, and now he’s climbing up on to the coach-of-the-year radar for Miami. This result should give Niners more cause to lament that “almost.”


CHIEFS (7-3) at BRONCOS (7-3)

Line: DEN by 3 1/2.

Cote’s pick: DEN 20-17.

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

Sunday night gets a good one, an AFC West grudge-rivalry that will have the winner keeping the heat on upstart Oakland. Also a huge game in the wild-card chase. The loser here will break up a logjam and give chasing teams like Miami added hope. The case for a KC upset is solid: Its defense had five INTs and five sacks to win most recent meeting in ’15, Chiefs have won seven straight division games, and Alex Smith has not thrown a pick in an incredible 14 division games in a row. But I still like Denver, which is coming off a bye, is 4-1 at home, 4-0 at home under Trevor Siemian and had beaten KC seven consecutive games before the last one. Broncos D will end that no-pick division streak by Smith. Give us visitors with that half point on the bet line, though.


BENGALS (3-6-1) at RAVENS (5-5)

Line: BAL by 4.

Cote’s pick: CIN 24-23.

TV: 1 p.m., CBS.

AAAWWWK!” bellows the Upset Bird. “Happy Thanksgivaaawwwk!” Cincy is among league’s most disappointing teams, has won only once (with one tie) since beating Miami in Week 4, and is 1-4 on the road. So what’s up with this pick, you ask? Some of it is just pure hunch and feel. But there’s this, too: Baltimore ain’t much better, and this is a division rivalry the Bengals know how to win — with six W’s over Ravens in past seven meetings. “Ray Lewis said Joe Flacco lacks passion,” notes U-Bird. “Sunday, Joe’s also going to lack a win. Lack a waawwk!”


TITANS (5-6) at BEARS (2-8)

Line: TEN by 4 1/2.

Cote’s pick: TEN 24-17.

TV: 1 p.m., CBS.

With Jay Cutler out injured (again) and Brian Hoyer unavailable, the Bears turn to raw Matt Barkley, who was awful in the preseason, for his first career start. The Titans have the sack attack to trouble Barkley, and Tenners bring a rolling Marcus Mariota, who has a 116.8 rating over his past seven games. Part of me still likes Chitown as a home ’dog, but we’re going logic over gut.

JAGUARS (2-8) at BILLS (5-5)

Line: BUF by 7 1/2.

Cote’s pick: BUF 27-16.

TV: 1 p.m., CBS.

Jax was supposed to be an AFC “it” team on the sudden rise (like Oakland), but has fizzled majorly, especially on the defensive side. Buffalo, home and still wild-card dreaming, should not have a problem here. Especially if, as hoped, the Buffs get RB LeSean McCoy back to offset an injury-depleted receiving corps.

CARDINALS (4-5-1) at FALCONS (6-4)

Line: ATL by 4.

Cote’s pick: ATL 31-24.

TV: 1 p.m., Fox.

With some apprehension, I like Falcons at home, coming off a bye, to handle a visiting team that brings a 1-3 road record. The apprehension? That team is Arizona, which has the best points plus/minus of any losing-record team and is dangerous, record aside. I’ll take Matt Ryan to outpitch Carson Palmer, but an outright upset would not surprise much.

GIANTS (7-3) at BROWNS (0-11)

Line: NYG by 7.

Cote’s pick: NYG 27-17.

TV: 1 p.m., Fox.

Thanksgiving Week: A time when Cleveland fans give thanks for the Cavaliers and Indians. There will be an “any given Sunday” for the Browns; betting odds of them going 0-16 are still a long-shot 1-5 against. But it won’t be this Sunday. NYG, despite five consecutive wins, isn’t good enough to be overconfident, but Earthtones invent ways to lose.

RAMS (4-6) at SAINTS (4-6)

Line: NO by 7.

Cote’s pick: NO 27-13.

TV: 1 p.m., Fox.

In his past 12 home games, Drew Brees has averaged 369 passing yards and thrown 37 touchdowns. The Rams have the lowest-scoring offense in the league. No matter the defensive disparity favoring L.A., I’d need to ingest hallucinogens to conjure the imagination necessary to see the Rams outscoring Brees in N’Awlins.

CHARGERS (4-6) at TEXANS (6-4)

Line: SD by 1 1/2.

Cote’s pick: HOU 24-23.

TV: 1 p.m., CBS.

San Diego is coming off a bye and Houston off a short week after playing Monday night in Mexico City. That largely explains the Bolts, with a worst record, being road favorites. Explains, but does not justify. Chargers are 1-4 on the road. Texans are 5-0 at home. Brock Osweiler is 2-0 vs. SD. Make it three on a venue call. Upset!

SEAHAWKS (7-2-1) at BUCCANEERS (5-5)

Line: SEA by 6.

Cote’s pick: SEA 24-20.

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

Tampa shows signs of being credible, including last week’s big win at KC. Now Jameis Winston, with a pair of 300 games in a row, faces a depleted Seattle secondary. Yeah, but: Russell Wilson has been great the past three games, Seahawks D is solid even when not at full strength, and Bucs are only 1-4 at home. No upset, but closer than the spread.

PANTHERS (4-6) at RAIDERS (8-2)

Line: OAK by 3.

Cote’s pick: OAK 27-23.

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

A matchup I’d watch because A) Oakland is entertaining and B) Carolina, despite its snoozy record, is dangerous and coming around at 3-1 the past month. Raiders have won four in a row and are prime for a stumble here — XXL upset shot — but Cats are 1-3 on the road so we’re going to keep riding Jack Del Rio’s guys until they give us reason to pull in the reins.

PATRIOTS (8-2) at JETS (3-7)

Line: NE by 8.

Cote’s pick: NE 28-24.

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

This is beyond just a division rivalry. These teams don’t like each other. I’m not a slave to trends but I pay attention to this one: All six Pats-Jets games since 2013 have been decided by seven points or fewer. So, yeah. Give me the Planes getting eight. NYJ is coming off a bye and Ryan Fitzpatrick gives ’em a better shot than Bryce Petty right now. Rob Gronkowski sidelined again and Tom Brady nursing a sore knee underlines the expectation of a tight game.

PACKERS (4-6) at EAGLES (5-5)

Line: PHI by 4.

Cote’s pick: PHI 27-20.

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

You know how this goes. I keep sticking with Aaron Rodgers and his Pack keep letting me down. So the week I finally abandon them as a lost cause is the game they roar back, right? That’s the fear. So now we see. Ex-Seahawk Christine Michael makes his RB debut for Gee Bees, but Cheesers issues are mostly on defense, not O. Until they start stopping somebody, I’m out.

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