Greg Cote

Greg Cote’s Week 4 NFL picks

Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who was harassed by the Bills last week, might have trouble against the Jets defense on Sunday in London in a game that starts at 9:30 a.m.
Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who was harassed by the Bills last week, might have trouble against the Jets defense on Sunday in London in a game that starts at 9:30 a.m. AP

Big bounce-back week for us continues a strong overall start to our 25th season of Friday Page NFL predictions. You will never find us bemoaning a 13-3 mark overall and 10-6 against the spread, except perhaps in our giddiest dreams. Highlighting our week, we nailed outright upset picks with Bills over Dolphins (sorry) and Eagles over Jets, and also had ’dog Raiders-with-points at Browns. Be loyal, momentum. Stay with me. (Note: Thursday-game pick was Steelers (+2 1/2) over Ravens, 23-20).

Cote’s record

Overall

Pct.

Vs. spread

Pct.

Last week

13-3

.813

10-6

.625

Season

31-17

.646

28-19-1

.596

Final 2014

167-88-1

.655

129-125-2

.508

Dolphins this week

Jets (2-1) vs. Dolphins (1-2) in London

Line: NYJ by 1 1/2.

Cote’s pick: NYJ 19-17.

TV: 9:30 a.m., CBS (airing in South Florida).

Cheerio! Are you ready for some morning football? A spot of tea with your “Breakfast at Wembley?” Blimey! Quick note: British people don’t actually say cheerio or blimey. But they do say, “We wish the States had sent us a better game!” Actually, although these rivals’ 100th all-time meeting lacks sizzle, Londoners might like the game. They’re used to soccer, and Jets-Dolphins should be about as low scoring. I expect a far better effort from Miami than we saw in last week’s home opener vs. Buffalo — can effort get any worse? — but NYJ looms as a tough matchup for a Dolphins offense struggling to get in gear. Jets defense has 11 takeaways and has allowed only 41 points, both NFL bests. Planes D is really good, and Ryan Tannehill has six interceptions vs. four TDs in going 3-3 against this foe. Much focus coming into this has been on the low impact of Ndamukong Suh and the struggles on defense, but Miami’s biggest early season issue is Tannehill simply not putting up enough points. And I doubt the remedy comes here.

Game of the week

Cowboys (2-1) at Saints (0-3)

Line: NO by 5 1/2.

Cote’s pick: NO 31-27.

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

Slim Week 4 pickings for the Game of the Week committee. One team is missing stars Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, and the other team is winless. Nevertheless, this should be a game that keeps NFL RedZone busy — an entertaining pointfest that lives up to the prime-time stage. Yes, the Superdome has stopped being a sanctuary; N’Awlins has lost six in a row at home. But that’s a trend fit to end. Saints get Drew Brees back Sunday and that should be enough to carry them off the schneid. Point spread’s too big, though.

Upset of the week

Giants (1-2) at Bills (2-1)

Line: BUF by 5 1/2.

Cote’s pick: NYG 27-23.

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

“AAAWWWK!” screams the Upset Bird. “New York Giaaawwwk!” NYG isn’t far from being 3-0 and isn’t as bad as you think coming into this rematch of one of the more famous Super Bowls. Biggies don’t get Victor Cruz back Sunday as hoped, but Eli Manning-to-Odell Beckham should do fine against a beatable Buffs pass D that Miami didn’t take nearly enough advantage of last week. And Bills could be missing both LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins. “Time to once again see Rex Ryan the way we like him: crestfallen,” notes U-Bird. “Crestfaaawwwk!

Dog of the week

Lions (0-3) at Seahawks (1-2)

Line: SEA by 10.

Cote’s pick: SEA 30-10.

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

Our Dog of the Week refers to lousiest game not to a betting underdog, and this matchup could call for the guys in the Monday Night Football booth to play Dandy Don Meredith warbling, Turn Out the Lights by halftime. Russell Wilson is 4-0 with a 123.1 rating on MNF, and 27-2 at home. Marshawn Lynch might not play and it won’t even matter. Detroit turns the ball over and plays bad defense — terrible attributes to bring to this particular venue, especially.

Jaguars (1-2) at Colts (1-2)

Line: IND by 9.

Cote’s pick: IND 27-20.

TV: 1 p.m., CBS.

Andrew Luck is nursing a shoulder issue but expects to play as he works to turn around his and Indy’s slow start. Jacksonville’s defense might be the perfect remedy. Colts have won five in a row over Jags, won 14 in a row against AFC South games, and Luck has 905 passing yards, nine TDs and zero picks in past three vs. Jax. Until Indy starts to impress, though, this point spreads reads fat.

Panthers (3-0) at Buccaneers (1-2)

Line: CAR by 3.

Cote’s pick: CAR 19-13.

TV: 1 p.m., Fox.

The Upset Bird was circling this game like a vulture does road kill. Carolina has won four in a row over Bucs, but these games always seem close. And TB is so due, just law-of-averages stuff, after 10 home losses in a row. We’ll bet on Panthers defense giving Jameis Winston problems, but the pick is an anxious one.

Eagles (1-2) at Redskins (1-2)

Line: PHI by 3.

Cote’s pick: PHI 24-20.

TV: 1 p.m., Fox.

This grudge match from the wide-open NFC East sees two struggling QBs in Sam Bradford and Kirk Cousins, although each could get a boost with the possible return from injury of DeMarco Murray (Birds) and DeSean Jackson (Skins). Tough call, but the Eagles, at their best, have more upside.

Raiders (2-1) at Bears (0-3)

Line: OAK by 3.

Cote’s pick: CHI 26-24.

TV: 1 p.m., CBS.

Oakland, a notoriously bad road team, favored at Chicago tells you how far the once-proud Bears have fallen more than it speaks to the Raiders’ undeniable improvement (at least offensively). Two lousy defenses should keep it close. Oaks haven’t won consecutive road games since 2011, and I’m pegging this pick on that. Upset!

Texans (1-2) at Falcons (3-0)

Line: ATL by 6 1/2.

Cote’s pick: ATL 27-20.

TV: 1 p.m., CBS.

Atlanta is first team ever to be 3-0 after trailing in all three fourth quarters. And Julio Jones has more catches after three games (34) than anybody, ever. Falcons have a little something special going on, and I’m not sure a tepid Houston attack led by Ryan Mallett is enough to derail that in Birds’ home dome. Although Texans getting back RB Arian Foster (questionable) would help.

Chiefs (1-2) at Bengals (3-0)

Line: CIN by 4.

Cote’s pick: CIN 24-16.

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

Cincy guns for its 4-0 breakout since 2005, a possibility largely because Andy Dalton is off to the best start of his career. (Save some for the playoffs, Andy!) KC just isn’t playing well enough now to see an upset. Chiefs are horrid on pass D, and Alex Smith has converted a meager 5 of 30 third downs. Injuns have lost past four trips to ’Nati. Make it five.

Browns (1-2) at Chargers (1-2)

Line: SD by 8.

Cote’s pick: SD 27-17.

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

Intriguing matchup. Pressure on Josh McCown heats up as the cry for Johnny Manziel gains volume. On the other side, Philip Rivers is trying to stay upright behind an O-line held together with Scotch tape and twine. Still not sure how good Bolts are. Am more sure Earthtones are seldom very good on road, so we’ll make this one a venue call.

Packers (3-0) at 49ers (1-2)

Line: GB by 8.

Cote’s pick: GB 34-23.

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

This would have made a decent Game of the Week pick if only because 49ers are Pack’s nemesis, with four straight wins over Aaron Rodgers including two in the postseason. The thing is, those Niners were good. These ones are not. Colin Kaepernick and the Frans set new lows for putridity last week. A Gee Bees loss here would be a stunner.

Rams (1-2) at Cardinals (3-0)

Line: ARI by 6 1/2.

Cote’s pick: ARI 34-13.

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

Arizona stole the Cardinals from St. Louis, once upon a time. Now here comes another indignity as ’Zona continues to surge and demonstrate why it’s a Super Bowl contender. Cardbirds’ 126 points are fourth most ever through three games, and that defense is full of playmakers. Did I mention Carson Palmer has won nine consecutive starts and 16 of his past 18?

Vikings (2-1) at Broncos (3-0)

Line: DEN by 6 1/2.

Cote’s pick: DEN 30-17.

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

Peyton Manning has been shaky at times, with not enough pass protection or running game. But oh that Denver defense! It’s why Broncos are unbeaten, and why they’ll stay that way here. DEN has enough run stoppers to limit Adrian Peterson. Vikes are improved, pretty good, maybe playoff good. But not good enough, yet, to win in one of NFL’s most inhospitable places to visit.

Off this week

Patriots (3-0; next at Cowboys): No deflated results in New England as Bill Belichick and Tom Brady roll on. Pats favored by 12 1/2 over bye. Brady projected to throw for five TDs from couch.

Titans (1-2; next vs. Bills): Record suggests same ol’ Titans, but rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota (109.2 rating, eight TDs) has Nashville kicking up its boot heels.

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