Greg Cote

Greg Cote’s Week 2 NFL picks

Buffalo coach Rex Ryan hugs defensive back Nickell Robey after an the Bills beat the Colts on Sunday. Next up for the Bills at home is quarterback Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Buffalo coach Rex Ryan hugs defensive back Nickell Robey after an the Bills beat the Colts on Sunday. Next up for the Bills at home is quarterback Tom Brady and the Patriots. AP

We enjoyed a big launch last week to our 25th season of Friday Page NFL predictions, going 11-5 overall and 10-5-1 against the spread. (Steelers-Patriots pushed at seven). Nailed outright mini-upset picks with Chiefs over Texans and 49ers over Vikes, and had Giants-with-points vs. Cowboys. Had a real shot with our Upset of the Week call, too (“Aawwk!”) until Raven Joe Flacco lapsed into late self-destruct mode in Denver. Thanks, Joe. (Note: Thursday-game pick was Broncos (+3) over Chiefs, 23-20).

Cote’s record

Overall

Pct.

Vs. spread

Pct.

Last week

11-5

.688

10-5-1

.667

Season

11-5

.688

10-5-1

.667

Final 2014

167-88-1

.655

129-125-2

.508

Dolphins this week

Dolphins (1-0) at Jaguars (0-1)

Line: MIA by 6.

Cote’s pick: MIA 30-10.

TV: 4:05 p.m., CBS (airing in South Florida).

The schedule gods smile again upon Miami, which didn’t play that well in Week 1 but prevailed because Jarvis Landry returned a punt and mostly because Washington stinks. Now the Dolphins visit a Jacksonville team that stinks even worse. Quick fact: Historically, teams are more than twice as likely to make the playoffs if they win their opener. It’s 52.2 percent likelihood at 1-0 versus 23.9 percent at 0-1. Quick fact II: This would be only the fourth time Miami has begun a season 2-0 with successive road wins, along with 1977, 2010 and 2013. It’s hard for me to drum up much fake drama for this game. Fins have beaten Jax three straight and will play better than last week, so I’m seeing a rout win by Miami as much more likely than an upset loss.

Game of the week

Patriots (1-0) at Bills (1-0)

Line: NE by 1.

Cote’s pick: NE 24-20.

TV: 1 p.m., CBS

It got contentious for the Game of the Week committee, with loud and perhaps liquor-fueled factions pushing for Seahawks-Packers and for Cowboys-Eagles. But it is this AFC East grudge that certainly will have South Florida’s attention, with Bill Belichick’s always-strong Patriots visiting Rex Ryan’s resurgent Bills (whom the Dolphins host in Week 3). The matchup of Buffs’ mighty front seven against a Pats O-line with three rookies in its protection rotation could have Tom Brady under siege. Still, I’m going to trust Brady, who is 23-2 in career vs. the Williams, and I’m also going to trust Belichick with extra time to prepare after playing last Thursday.

Upset of the week

Lions (0-1) at Vikings (0-1)

Line: MIN by 3.

Cote’s pick: DET 27-23.

TV: 1 p.m., Fox.

“AAAWWWK!” bellows the Upset Bird, stitching a figure-eight overhead. “Still can’t quite trust Minnesaaawwwk!” Vikings have lost four of their past five home openers and are coming off a short week after performing miserably late Monday. Detroit swept this division series last year and intercepted Teddy Bridgewater five times in those two games. Minny had better get the ball to Adrian Peterson more than his 10 carries in Week 1, but Motown’s run-D was pretty stout last week. “Motown was the star-maker, no doubt, but I always preferred the grittier, funkier soul of Stax Records and the Memphis sound,” notes U-Bird, lapsing into a quick Sam & Dave foot shuffle. “Staaawwwx!”

Dog of the week

Buccaneers (0-1) at Saints (0-1)

Line: NO by 10.

Cote’s pick: NO 31-16.

TV: 1 p.m., Fox.

Our Dog pick refers not t

o underdogs and betting lines but to the schedule’s worst matchup, and this gets the Week 2 nod for the expected lopsidedness. N’Awlins is on a 6-1 run in home openers and has beaten Tampa seven times in a row. Did I mention that the Bucs have been 2-18 overall since late 2013? Jameis Winston might be pretty good someday, but Drew Brees is still pretty great today. Brees should get the three TD passes he needs Sunday to join Peyton Manning, Brett Favre and Dan Marino in the career 400 club.

Texans (0-1) at Panthers (1-0)

Line: CAR by 3.

Cote’s pick: CAR 19-17.

TV: 1 p.m., CBS.

Houston QB Ryan Mallett makes his third career start. Not sure if that fills Texans fans with confidence. Arian Foster still being out doesn’t help. Carolina could be missing tackle-machine Luke Kuechly (concussion), but I still like defense to carry Cats in home opener.

49ers (1-0) at Steelers (0-1)

Line: PIT by 6.

Cote’s pick: PIT 27-17.

TV: 1 p.m., Fox.

Two titan franchises of the Super Bowl era go at it, and teams having not met since 2011 adds a layer of unpredictability. I think Niners will be decent this year and called their Week 1 Monday upset. Adding RB Carlos Hyde and getting back LB NaVorro Bowman is huge. At Pitt when Steelers have extra time to prepare is a tough nut to crack, though. Mike Tomlin is 8-1 in home openers.

Cardinals (1-0) at Bears (0-1)

Line: ARI by 2.

Cote’s pick: CHI 23-20.

TV: 1 p.m., Fox.

Upset! It’s risky, yes (because who trusts Jay Cutler?), but I like Bears as a home ’dog, even though Carson Palmer has won seven consecutive starts for ’Zona and is 3-0 all-time vs. Chitown. Admittedly this pick is more hunch/gut than emanating from head level, although I do like Matt Forte to have a big game on pitches and screens, the wide stuff Cardbirds don’t defend especially well.

Chargers (1-0) at Bengals (1-0)

Line: CIN by 3.

Cote’s pick: CIN 27-23.

TV: 1 p.m. CBS.

Diego needed a furious comeback to beat Detroit last week, and Cincy didn’t see much of a test vs. Oakland. Still don’t have a great read on either team, and a Chargers upset would not surprise here, but I’ll take ’Gals (strong in the regular season, remember?) in their home opener.

Titans (1-0) at Browns (0-1)

Line: TEN by 1.

Cote’s pick: CLE 21-19.

TV: 1 p.m., CBS.

This had the Dog of the Week committee’s eye, but the QB duel is too delicious. Over here you have the King of Nashville, Marcus Mariota. And in the other corner you have Johnny Manziel (likely) making his third career start on account of Josh McCown’s concussion. Mariota-Manziel. Titans sure looked the better team in Week 1, but hunching Earthtones in home opener. Mini-upset!

Falcons (1-0) at Giants (0-1)

Line: NYG by 2 1/2.

Cote’s pick: NYG 31-27.

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

Spreads aside, this for me was the most even, toughest Week 2 game to predict. Birds got a bit lucky to beat Philly last week, and Biggies sort of blew it against Dallas. Think both teams here are OK but not sure either is playoff good. But NYG has won five of past six in this series, and I’ll make it a venue call in Big Blue’s home opener.

Rams (1-0) at Redskins (0-1)

Line: STL by 3 1/2.

Cote’s pick: STL 23-20.

TV: 1 p.m., Fox

Washington has a big upset shot. Rams are bound to come in overconfident or emotion-spent after last week’s OT upset of rival Seattle. Then again, Skins are missing DeSean Jackson, and STL could see Todd Gurley’s debut and enjoys a big special-teams edge.

Ravens (0-1) at Raiders (0-1)

Line: BAL By 6.

Cote’s pick: BAL 27-20.

TV: 4:05 p.m., CBS

Ravens haven’t opened 0-2 since 2005, and I don’t see it happening here, although losing Terrell Suggs for the season to Achilles surgery really hurts that D. Oaks QB Derek Carr (bruised hand) hopes to start but might not be 100 percent. Baltimore is 7-1 all-time vs. Raiders and has won four in a row. But the main reason I like the visitors here? Joe Flacco can’t possibly be as bad as he was last week in Denver.

Cowboys (1-0) at Eagles (0-1)

Line: PHI by 5.

Cote’s pick: PHI 34-31.

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

This one has Game of the Week mettle beyond the fact it’s a duel to stake early claim to NFC East supremacy. You have Eagles RB DeMarco Murray facing the Cowboys, who wouldn’t pay to keep him. And you have Cowboys missing injured Dez Bryant but still with the confidence that comes from having a nine-game, regular-season road-winning streak. Dallas has won five of past six trips to Philly. I like the home Birds here, but closer than the bet-line.

SEahawks (0-1) at Packers (1-0)

Line: GB by 3 1/2.

Cote’s pick: GB 30-23.

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

Another marquee-worthy game, fit for its prime-time stage, largely because it’s a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship Game that saw Seattle rally at home to break Packers hearts, 28-22 in overtime. Can you say vengeance? Now the Gee Bees get the Seahawks in Cheeseville, at Lambeau, and that makes all the difference.

Jets (1-0) at Colts (0-1)

Line: IND by 7.

Cote’s pick: IND 27-17.

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

I still don’t know how good NYJ is after it beat Cleveland, bit I do know Indy can’t be as bad as Buffalo made it look last week. (Right?) Monday at home is still the best way to cure ills, and I think Andrew Luck will. He happens to be 13-1-1 against the spread in his career following a loss, and the Planes happen to have lost four road openers in a row.

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