Greg Cote

NFL picks return for 27th season. Not even Hurricane Irma can stop the Upset Bird!

Green Bay Packers' Brett Hundley celebrates his touchdown run during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams.
Green Bay Packers' Brett Hundley celebrates his touchdown run during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams. AP

NFL WEEK 1

GREG COTE'S NFL PICKS OF THE WEEK

King Sport devotees, Dolfans and Upset Bird flock, welcome back as we begin our 27th season of Friday NFL predictions in the Miami Herald. It was 1991 when we began this thing on a whim and prayer, and some 7,000 picks later, against odds, they haven't fired us yet. We're coming off a pretty average season straight-up but a really strong one against the spread, where it counts. No guarantee you’ll get rich following our picks, but hopefully you'll have a little fun. So let's go! [Note: Thursday-game pick was Patriots (-9) over Chiefs, 27-23].

Overall Pct. Vs. Spread Pct.

Final 2016 159-95-2 .626 139-109-8 .560

DOLPHINS THIS WEEK

OFF/BYE THANKS TO IRMA

Instead of preparing for Jameis Winston, Miami is preparing for Hurricane Irma. If only devising a defense to stop Irma was as easy. The Dolphins' postponed home opener vs. Tampa Bay will be played in Week 11 instead. Miami's new season opener will be next Sunday at the Los Angeles Chargers, with Fins rested and Bolts coming off Monday night game. Neither Dolphins nor Bucs like or wanted a Week 1 bye, but this isn't the week to complain about inconveniences, is it? In South Florida, football can wait. Be safe, all.

With Hurricane Irma approaching Florida, the NFL decided to move the Dolphins-Buccaneers game to Week 11, meaning the teams will have to play 16 games in a row.

GAME OF THE WEEK

SEAHAWKS (0-0) at PACKERS (0-0)

LINE: GB by 3

COTE'S PICK: GB 27-23

TV: 4:25 p.m. Sunday, Fox

Kickoff Weekend matchups get no better than Aaron Rodgers and that Pack attack vs. Seattle's awesome defense, and the venue here tips it. Both teams have flaws (Gee Bees' suspect D, 'Hawks' shaky O-line), but these are still two faves to reach NFC title game. Emotional sidelight: Brother vs. brother in Pack TE Martellus Bennett vs. Seattle DE Michael Bennett, the week Michael revealed he'd been victim of what he described as police brutality.

UPSET OF THE WEEK

PANTHERS (0-0) at 49ERS (0-0)

LINE: CAR by 5 ½

COTE'S PICK: SF 24-21

TV: 4:25 p.m. Sunday, Fox

“Aaawwwk!” heralds the Upset Bird. “We're baaawwwk!” Admittedly it's dicey counting on a Niners squad that was 2-14 last season, but call this one a home hunch. Brian Hoyer isn't bad, as stopgap QBs go, and new Frans coach Kyle Shanahan, in his previous incarnation as Atlanta's offensive chief, had a knack for figuring out Carolina pretty well. “Too bad he couldn't bring Matt Ryan with him, but still,” notes U-Bird. “Shanahaaawwwk!”

OTHER GAMES

@Bills (-8 ½) over Jets, 24-10: NYJ has nada on O; at least Buffs have LeSean McCoy.

Falcons (-7) over @Bears, 28-17: Matt Ryan over Mike Glennon, please.

@Bengals (-3) over Ravens, 24-20: Joe Flacco struggles; 'Gals won 5 straight home vs. BAL.

Steelers (-8 ½) over @Browns, 31-16: Big Ben (20-2 against CLE) vs. rook DeShone Kizer.

Cardinals (-2) over @Lions, 30-17: Birds defense will give Matthew Stafford fits.

@Texans (-5) over Jaguars, 19-16: A win to help community heal after Hurricane Harvey.

Raiders (+2 ½) over @Titans, 28-27: Derek Carr, Marcus Mariota deliver a good one.

@Redskins (+1) over Eagles, 24-20: 'Skins at home in mini-upset for 6th straight series win.

@Rams (-3 ½) over Colts, 24-17: Because no Andrew Luck outweighs no Aaron Donald.

@Cowboys (-4) over Giants, 28-23: Ezekiel Elliott will play in our Game of Week runnerup.

Saints (+3 ½) over @Vikings, 30-27: Early Monday game stars Adrian Peterson vs. ex-team.

@Broncos (-3 ½) over Chargers, 23-20: Like Denver's D in Monday nightcap, but close.

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