Greg Cote

Greg Cote’s Week 3 NFL picks

I had a better week than Adrian Peterson, let’s leave it at that. Don’t like a 9-7 mark straight up, but I’ll grudgingly take 8-8 against the spread, all things considered. I bull’s-eyed Cowboys winning at Tennessee last week to make it 2-0 in Upset of the Week picks (“Aawwk!”), and also had three other ’dogs-with-points including Chargers vs. Seattle and Chiefs covering vs. Denver. The bad picks, we won’t get into here for space reasons (!) — also because, while I have mastered disappointment, the concept of masochism is still a bit out of reach. [Note: Thursday-game pick was Falcons (-61/2) over Buccaneers, 27-17].

Overall

Pct.

vs. spread

Pct.

Last week

9-7

.563

8-8

.500

Season

20-12

.625

16-16

.500

DOLPHINS THIS WEEK

CHIEFS (0-2) at DOLPHINS (1-1)

Line: MIA by 41/2.

Cote’s pick: MIA 20-17.

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

Parallel tracks here, with each team missing its top running back to injury (Chiefs’ Jamaal Charles, Fins’ Knowshon Moreno), and that heaping all the more pressure on a pair of embattled quarterbacks. You think Ryan Tannehill has been bad through two games? He hasn’t. He’s been mediocre, not good enough — but not bad. KC’s Alex Smith has been worse. I like Tanny’s attitude: “I haven’t been at my best,” he said this week. “That has got to change fast.” It has got to change fast for both the QB’s career arc, and for the season. Miami needs to recover the good feeling that came out of the opener, and Tannehill needs to win back trust because his support among Dolfans is eroding. He’s one bad loss or a couple of bad picks from booing and #MattMoore trending on Twitter. That makes this result essential. Playoff teams do not lose home games like this one. I give Dolphins the home edge, but little more against an opponent that played Denver very tough last week. The betting line feels a tad plump in a game that should find touchdowns hard to come by.

GAME OF THE WEEK

BRONCOS (2-0) at SEAHAWKS (1-1)

Line: SEA by 5.

Cote’s pick: SEA 27-23.

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

No-brainer for the GOTW committee, as Denver’s first trip to Seattle since 2002 presents a rare Super Bowl rematch — only the sixth time ever that SB opponents have met the following regular season. Broncos get Wes Welker back and will be hugely motivated to erase some of the stink of that 43-8 blowout loss last February. But motivation doesn’t erase the fact that the Seahawks, mortal on the road, are awesome at home. Russell Wilson is 18-1 in Coffeetown, and by an average margin of 16 points. Marshawn Lynch’s iffy status isn’t enough to make us think outright upset, but bet Peyton Manning keeps it inside the Vegas number.

UPSET OF THE WEEK

BEARS (1-1) at JETS (1-1)

Line: NYJ by 21/2.

Cote’s pick: CHI 24-20.

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

“AAWWK!” booms the Upset Bird. “Wait. This is an upset!? Upsaawwk!” Not sure that Planes should even be favored in this Monday nighter. I’m not counting on NYJ to blow another TD with another bonehead timeout, but I do see Rex Ryan’s secondary having problems with Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, et al. Cutler is 6-1 on MNF. Pandas need to get Matt Forte going, though. “Top-five NFL receiver. Too bad he wasn’t good enough for the Dolphins,” notes U-Bird, oozing sarcasm like the earthworm in his beak oozes entrails. “Brandon Marshaawwk!”

DOG OF THE WEEK

RAIDERS (0-2) at PATRIOTS (1-1)

Line: NE by 14.

Cote’s pick: NE 31-6.

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

Our Dog of the Week refers not to betting underdog but to Bad Game, and here’s the Week 3 offering least likely to be competitive. I’m no slave to trends but can’t ignore that Patriots were 9-0 at The Razor Blade last season and have the added juice of a home opener, while the Raiders have lost 12 of the past 13 road games dating to 2012. Big day for Stevan Ridley vs. the sieve of Oakland’s run-D, and the Pats will bury rookie QB Derek Carr under a blanket of blitzing.

CHARGERS (1-1) at BILLS (2-0)

Line: BUF by 2.

Cote’s pick: SD 28-24.

TV: 1 p.m., CBS.

Diego isn’t as good as it looked upsetting Seattle last week, nor is Buffalo as good as Miami made it seem. But give me Bolts over Bills for the better overall squad. Buffs can run and stop the run, making them a tempting home ’dog at The Ralph, but I see Philip Rivers putting up fantasy-pleasing numbers against the Williams’ shaky pass defense.

COWBOYS (1-1) at RAMS (1-1)

Line: DAL by 1.

Cote’s pick: DAL 27-17.

TV: 1 p.m., Fox.

Some sports books have STL favored by a point here, but our picks are based on lines in Thursday’s Miami Herald, which still had ’Boys the narrow pick. Whatever. Give me Dallas no matter the line. DeMarco Murray is hot and has a surreal 428 rushing yards vs. Rams in past two meetings. And if homies gird to stop the run, Tony Romo will outpitch either Shaun Hill or Austin Davis.

REDSKINS (1-1) at EAGLES (2-0)

Line: PHI by 61/2.

Cote’s pick: PHI 34-23.

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

Philly swept its NFC East rival last season and is headed to its first 3-0 breakout since 2004. Birds have too much firepower for the Unmentionable Nicknames to contain, or for Kirk Cousins to outscore. Skins fans who see Robert GriffinIII’s injury as a plus, be careful what you wish for. Washers have lost seven straight on road. Make it eight.

TEXANS (2-0) at GIANTS (0-2)

Line: HOU by 21/2.

Cote’s pick: HOU, 24-16.

TV: 1 p.m., CBS.

Remember a couple of years ago when everyone was asking if Eli Manning was “elite?” Now it’s reaching the point where people are asking if Eli is “any good.” Giants have four-plus turnovers in five straight games thanks largely to Other Brother’s mistakes. Biggies tempt as a home ’dog, but I’m tired of getting burned thinking bad teams somehow are “due” a turnaround.

VIKINGS (1-1) at SAINTS (0-2)

Line: NO by 101/2.

Cote’s pick: NO 34-20.

TV: 1 p.m., Fox.

Vikings subtract Adrian Peterson from their offense and add the major distraction his child-abuse indictment has caused. Meanwhile, Saints were unbeaten in their home-dome last season, average 35 points there, and can expect a huge home-opener lift after losing consecutive games on late field goals. No 0-3 team has made the playoffs since 1998. Betting N’Awlins knows that well.

TITANS (1-1) at BENGALS (2-0)

Line: CIN by 7.

Cote’s pick: CIN 27-17.

TV: 1 p.m., CBS.

Like Carolina, Cincy is one of those really solid teams I have a hard time thinking is that good. Must get over that. Bengals have won 10 straight home games and (even with A.J. Green iffy) should roll over Titans. Jake Locker is struggling, and Tenners run-D will struggle here, too.

RAVENS (1-1) at BROWNS (1-1)

Line: BAL by 11/2.

Cote’s pick: BAL 19-17.

TV: 1 p.m., CBS.

Here’s a grudge-game I’d pay to watch, actually. Browns are starting to feel a little muscle and have a great chance here in the Dawg Pound, especially if Brian Hoyer can keep avoiding INTs and holding the We-Want-Manziel crowd at bay. But Ravens are the all-round better squad and hardly missing Ray Rice, with a credible 251 rushing yards through two games.

PACKERS (1-1) at LIONS (1-1)

Line: DET by 2.

Cote’s pick: GB 31-24.

TV: 1 p.m., Fox.

Detroit won these rivals’ most recent meeting when Aaron Rodgers was out injured, but Packers have otherwise won 23 of past 26 in this series. When Rodgers starts, the Gee Bees are 9-1 vs. Motown and his passer rating is 111, while Matthew Stafford is 1-6 vs. Cheesers, with more picks than TDs. I just trust Rodgers against this opponent, no matter the locale.

COLTS (0-2) at JAGUARS (0-2)

Line: IND by 7.

Cote’s pick: IND 27-13.

TV: 1 p.m., CBS.

Week 3’s only battle of 0-2 teams finds Jags where they were expected to be, but Colts scrambling to catch up to expectations. Since 1990, only 12 percent of teams starting 0-2 made the playoffs, but Indy remains a good bet to join the list. Nags swept Jax by a combined 67-13 last year, and Jags have been outscored 75-10 since halftime of opener.

49ERS (1-1) at CARDINALS (2-0)

Line: SF by 3.

Cote’s pick: SF 21-17.

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

San Fran has won four straight and nine of past 10 in series, but expect a tight one here, even though Drew Stanton likely will pitch again for ’Zona in place of injured Carson Palmer. Cardbirds are on a 9-2 roll dating to last season, but, even home in the desert, it’s tough to envision a backup QB beating a strong Niners team that has dominated this division series.

STEELERS (1-1) at PANTHERS (2-0)

Line: CAR by 31/2.

Cote’s pick: CAR 23-20.

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

A matchup fit for prime time. Carolina has won 13 of past 14 regular-season games, including eight straight at home by an average margin of 17 points. And Pittsburgh has won the scoreboard by 50-9 over the past six quarters. Carolina was last 3-0 in 2003, its only Super Bowl season. Like Cats to get there here, but hedging with Pitt and that extra little half-point on the betting line.

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