Greg Cote

Greg Cote’s Thursday night NFL pick

This begins the 95th season for the NFL, the 49th for the Dolphins and (hard to believe) the 24th year for me predicting games every week in the Miami Herald. But here’s the real milestone, and here comes the wave of time-flies sadness: this is also the 30th season since Miami last appeared in a Super Bowl. Hallmark should make a specialty card for that kind of anniversary. Suggested verse: “Miami has the Dolphins, the greatest football team but that was so long ago it makes me weep and scream.” Dan Marino was a young man back then, now he’s a spokesman for AARP. Seriously. But enough of that sober reality. On to happier stuff, please. Football is back and it is Kickoff Weekend launching with a marquee Thursday night game so let the predicting begin. Ready set guess!

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

Line: SEA by 5 ½

Cote’s pick: GB, 24-20

TV: 8:30 p.m., NBC

“Aaawwwk!” heralds the Upset Bird. “Wait. Sorry. Forgot. I’m only supposed to appear on The Friday Page. See y’all tomorraawwk!” Seattle is not only the defending Super Bowl champion but also renowned for its home-field advantage. Yeah, I get that. You say the Seabirds are 17-1 at home (including playoffs) the past two seasons? Well aware, thank you. I also know this: The team I most like to solve Seattle at home is one that brings both a very good defense and a veteran quarterback capable of finding ways around the ‘Hawks’ terrific secondary. That would be Green Bay and uber-accurate Aaron Rodgers, who happens to be 4-0 with a 115.6 rating on Thursdays. Is this a safe pick? Oh heck no. A smart pick? We’ll see. Meantime call it a strong hunch as NFL ’14 sets sail.

Note: Greg Cote and the Upset Bird (“Aawwk!”) will unveil their 2014 season of Friday NFL predictions pages tomorrow. Consider yourself warned.