Greg Cote

Greg Cote’s Week 7 NFL picks

One fact to summarize my luck last week: Dolphins were my Upset of the Week pick, and I fell three seconds short, thanks to a combination of Aaron Rodgers’ greatness and Joe Philbin’s boneheaded late treatment of the game clock. I did at least salvage another winning mark against the spread, thanks to four ’dogs-with-points hits: Jacksonville, Miami, Oakland and Dallas. Oddity: Entering NFL Week 7 there have been more outright ties (1) than pushes against the spread (0). (Note: Our Thursday-game pick was Patriots (-9 ½) over Jets, 37-16).



vs. spread


Last week











DOLPHINS (2-3) at BEARS (3-3)

Line: CHI by 3½

Cote’s pick: CHI 23-20

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

I laughed out loud that it was seen as news this week when ex-Dolphin Brandon Marshall criticized Chad Henne. Who didn’t!? Speaking of bad QBs, Joey Harrington pitched for Miami when last the Dolphins ventured into Soldier Field, in 2006. I’d fancy Jay Cutler over Ryan Tannehill here in the duel of present-day arms. That’s mostly because Cutler’s targets, Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, have a combined 11-inch height advantage over Dolphin mini-corners Brent Grimes and Cortland Finnegan. Also, Tannehill is 0-4 with six picks in career road games vs. NFC teams, and he could face a bunch of third-and-longs if Chitown’s run-D is as stout Sunday as it has been the past few weeks. I also wonder how Miami will respond after last week’s last-second, sort-of-blew-it heartbreak loss. (Here comes the “but.”) But the Soldier has hardly been magic lately for the Bears. Chicago is 0-2 at home this season, and is 1-10-1 against the spread in the past 12 home games. That suggests to me we take that dangling half-point on the betting line, put a small saddle on it, slap it with a riding crop and giddy-up.


49ERS (4-2) at BRONCOS (4-1)

Line: DEN by 6½

Cote’s pick: DEN 27-23

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

There was a smattering of GOTW committee support for Bengals-Colts and Giants-Cowboys this week, but no more. Peyton Manning going after the all-time touchdown-pass record in prime time vs. a really good defense – that dog will do more than hunt, it will bring home dinner, cook it, serve it and clean up afterward. Brett Favre had 508 scoring throws; Manning enters with 506. But PeyDay hasn’t faced the 49ers since 2009, and they bring a strong pass-D, so the coronation here is hardly a cinch. I always-always-always like Manning at Mile High outright, but I also like the Frans keeping it inside a betting line that feels like a little bit of a slap at the Niners.


BROWNS (3-2) at JAGUARS (0-6)

Line: CLE by 5½

Cote’s pick: JAC 20-17

TV: 1 p.m. Sunday, CBS

“AAAWWWK!” blurts the Upset Bird. “People have been certified insane and institutionalized for things less crazy than this pick. Jacksonvaaawwwk!” Cleveland has never been this big a road favorite since rejoining the NFL in 1999, and I see a team ready for a toe-stub. Browns coming off a big, emotional division win over Pittsburgh and thus in perfect letdown-mode against a winless foe. Also, QB Brian Hoyer will miss injured Pro Bowl center Alex Mack. That and a Jags pass rush that is second in NFL with 19 sacks could make it a tough day for Hoyer. “Somewhat logical hunch,” notes U-Bird. “If so, would be a first career victory for Jax rookie QB Blaaawwwk Bortles.”


TITANS (2-4) at REDSKINS (1-5)

Line: WAS by 5½

Cote’s pick: WAS 24-20

TV: 1 p.m. Sunday, CBS

Washington has lost three straight games by double-digit points and dropped 13 of the past 14 overall dating to last season. A Native American nickname curse, perhaps? Or maybe it’s the minus-9 on turnover differential including 10 giveaways just in the past three games. Skins, if a home game vs. lowly Tennessee can’t right the capsized canoe, there may be no hope and coach Jay Gruden might as well just quit now. The Titans (with or without iffy Jake Locker back at QB) are capable of winning here, but we’ll give the benefit of (extreme) doubt to D.C.

FALCONS (2-4) at RAVENS (4-2)

Line: BAL by 7

Cote’s pick: BAL 31-20

TV: 1 p.m. Sunday, Fox

The second career meeting between Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco 2008’s only first-round quarterbacks – finds their teams headed oppositely. Atlanta has lost three straight, is 0-3 on the road and 1-10 away from the Georgia Dome since the start of last season. Baltimore is coming off a big win in which Flacco tossed five TDs and was the first man to throw four in the first quarter since Tommy Kramer in 1986. Flacco should stay hot vs. a pretty dreadful Falcons defense.

VIKINGS (2-4) at BILLS (3-3)

Line: BUF by 5½

Cote’s pick: BUF 20-13

TV: 1 p.m. Sunday, Fox

Don’t trust anybody here. Don’t trust Teddy Bridgewater to be any good in his first career road start. Don’t trust recycled Kyle Orton to do much against a decent Vikes pass-D. Don’t trust either team to not self-destruct with mistakes. Not even sure I trust this pick, but we’ll make it a venue call.

SAINTS (2-3) at LIONS (4-2)

Line: DET by 3

Cote’s pick: NO 30-27

TV: 1 p.m. Sunday, Fox

I might pay to watch this: Drew Brees, a little bit desperate and on the road, where he isn’t as comfortable, vs. a top five defense. Saints have lost eight of past nine away from the Bayou but I still like ’em here in an upset. I like Sean Payton coming off a bye, and Lions expect to be missing Calvin Johnson again. And here’s Brees in his career against Detroit: 4-0, 14 TDs, one pick, 133.8 rating.

PANTHERS (3-2-1) at PACKERS (4-2)

Line: GB by 7

Cote’s pick: GB 34-23

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

Whose game was crazier last week: Panthers playing the highest-scoring tie game since 1964? Or Packers breaking Dolfan hearts with a last-second touchdown? Cam Newton has been good this season. Aaron Rodgers has been great. He’ll feast on a Cats secondary that already has allowed 12 TD passes, while Eddie Lacy should wake up vs. a CAR run-D giving up 5.5. yards per carry. Oh, and Gee Bees have won 30 of past 33 home games that Rodgers started.

BENGALS (3-1-1) at COLTS (4-2)

Line: IND by 3

Cote’s pick: IND 31-23

TV: 1 p.m. Sunday, CBS

Cincy has fallen off defensively the past couple games, and ’Gals likely will be missing WR A.J. Green to a toe injury again. Indy, on the other hand, sails in on a four-game winning streak and Andrew Luck has rolled 300s in all four games. Nags also rested after playing last Thursday. Bonus fact: Colt T.Y. Hilton (from FIU) is fourth in NFL with 604 catch yards. Coach Chuck Pagano calls him “a game-wrecker.”

SEAHAWKS (3-2) at RAMS (1-4)

Line: SEA by 6½

Cote’s pick: SEA 20-16

TV: 1 p.m. Sunday, Fox

Rams have lost three straight, are 0-3 at home and have picked a bad time to be playing Seattle. Seahawks are coming off a rare home defeat last week (to Dallas), and haven’t lost consecutive games since October 2012. This may be the week to get Marshawn Lynch more involved vs. a STL run-D giving up 140 yards a game. Feed the Beast! ’Hawks have owned this series but see this game points-shy and close.

CHIEFS (2-3) at CHARGERS (5-1)

Line: SD by 4

Cote’s pick: SD 27-20

TV: 4:05 p.m. Sunday, CBS

Diego has won five in a row, outscoring foes 147-73, and Philip Rivers has become first QB ever to top a 120 passer rating in five straight games. Bolts also have won four in a row in this division series, and 11 of the past 13. KC coming off a bye gives us pause, considering Andy Reid once won 13 straight games after a bye while with Philly, before losing the past two. But I’m sailing with Rivers as long as he’s scorching.

GIANTS (3-3) at COWBOYS (5-1)

Line: DAL by 6½

Cote’s pick: DAL 27-23

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

Dallas hit a high last week by winning at Seattle, while NYG hit a low with a shutout loss in which the line gave up eight sacks and top WR Victor Cruz was injured. Expect a leveling here, a meeting in the middle. Cowboys won’t be as good as last week, or Giants as bad. DAL is off to its best start since 2007 and swept this division series last year but both games were close, and I expect the same.

CARDINALS (4-1) at RAIDERS (0-5)

Line: ARI by 3½

Cote’s pick: ARI 28-17

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

Arizona is 9-2 in ex-Raider Carson Palmer’s past 11 starts, and he returned from injury last week. Meantime, inept Oakland has lost 11 in a row dating to last season. Neither pass defenses are lousy, but I’ll take Palmer over OAK rookie Derek Carr to better capitalize. A win would make ’Zona 5-1 for the first time since they were the St. Louis Cardinals in 1976. Holy Dan Dierdorf!

TEXANS (3-3) at STEELERS (3-3)

Line: PIT by 3½

Cote’s pick: PIT 24-21

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

Houston with a long time to prepare after playing last Thursday, and could get Jadeveon Clowney back from injury to aid and abet J.J. Watt. The good news for Pittsburgh? A Texans pass-D that has allowed 694 yards and five TDs the past two losses could be the answer for whatever ailed Ben Roethlisberger vs. Browns last week. Like Pitt with a home bounceback on Monday stage, but see it close.


▪ BUCCANEERS (1-5; next vs. Vikings): Tampa Bay is on pace to allow a record 544 points. Only defenses to allow 500-plus in 16-game era, since 1978: Colts, 533 in 1981; and Lions, 517 in 2008.

▪ EAGLES (5-1; next at Cardinals): Why are Birds tied for best record? You think offense first but special-teams have been great, and defense has at least one takeaway in NFL-best 18 straight games.

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