Greg Cote

Greg Cote’s Week 12 NFL picks

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, left, tries to get a pass away under pressure against the New York Jets at Wembley Stadium in London, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, left, tries to get a pass away under pressure against the New York Jets at Wembley Stadium in London, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. AP

Hope y’all had a great Thanksgiving! Our results were mediocre last week, at 8-6 overall and 7-6-1 against the spread, but, relative to the previous week, they merit a Macy’s parade complete with a giant Upset Bird helium balloon. Bull’s-eyed a pair of outright upsets with wins by Lions and Packers, and had two other ’dogs-with-points in the Bucs and Colts. The Patriots pushed for the tie. We’re about to get on a big roll. Let’s go! (Note: Results below do not include the three Thanksgiving Day results. Picks were Lions (even) over Eagles, 27-23; Cowboys (even) over Panthers, 24-20; and Packers (-8 1/2) over Bears, 31-17.)

Cote’s record

Overall

Pct.

Vs. spread

Pct.

Last week

8-6

.571

7-6-1

.538

Season

99-61

.619

74-78-8

.487

Final 2014

167-88-1

.655

129-125-2

.508

Dolphins this week

DOLPHINS (4-6)

AT JETS (5-5)

Line: NYJ by 3 1/2.

Cote’s pick: NYJ 23-20.

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

Ryan Tannehill’s career struggles against AFC East rivals is well-known to all Dolfans and amply documented, so I’ll skip the mass regurgitation and cut to the gist: He is 6-15 against the Patriots, Bills and Jets, and his play has been worst of all — a 67.2 passer rating with eight interceptions in seven games — vs. the Jets he’ll face again Sunday. This is a huge reason why Tanny is hurtling toward 0-4 on seasons and playoffs, and this does not inspire me to venture an upset pick here. NYJ handled Miami 27-14 in London on Oct. 5 in a game that didn’t seem as close as that score suggested, and has won three of past four over the Fins. Having said that, the Planes really disappointed in losing to Houston last week, and I’ll take Miami against the spread with that dangling half-point on the betting line in what I figure as a low-scoring affair. This once-bitter rivalry really misses the cartoon bluster of Rex Ryan, by the way. But at least ridiculous Fireman Ed made a comeback, so that’s something.

Game of the week

Upset of the week

PATRIOTS (10-0)

AT BRONCOS (8-2)

Line: NE by 3.

Cote’s pick: DEN 24-23.

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

“AAWWK!” carols the Upset Bird. “Denver Braaawwwk!” Well, I picked unbeaten Carolina to lose Thursday (how’d I do?) and now I have unbeaten New England falling here. “Dear 1972 Dolphins: You’re welcome!” I am aware that Tom Brady has owned the Broncos, winning five of past six meetings, including the playoffs, and with 17 TDs and only two INTs. Also aware that Bill Belichick has a habit of befuddling inexperienced QBs like Brock Osweiler, who’s subbing again for injured Peyton Manning. Sometimes you gotta go with the gut, though, and I do here in a ready-for-prime-time matchup. The Patriots’ many injuries will exact a toll. And the Broncos’ defense is really good. I’d also bet the “over” on sideline shots of Manning. “Too bad no Brady vs. Manning,” notes U-Bird. “But do not underestimate the power of Brock Osweiler. Braawwk Oswaaawwwk!”

Dog of the week

CHARGERS (2-8)

AT JAGUARS (4-6)

Line: JAC by 3 1/2.

Cote’s pick: SD 27-17.

TV: 1 p.m., CBS.

Our Dog pick as worst matchup of Week 12 could easily have been the Monday game, but we couldn’t resist this: A Jax squad cascading to an eighth consecutive year out of the playoffs and a Diego bunch reeling on an NFL-worst six-game losing streak. I keep getting socked by my misplaced faith in the Bolts to be better than they are, but here I go again. Philip Rivers has beaten Jags four in a row with a 131.2 rating. Upset!

RAIDERS (4-6)

AT TITANS (2-8)

Line: OAK by 1 1/2.

Cote’s pick: TEN 19-17.

TV: 1 p.m., CBS.

Hey, here’s another bad game in a season rampant with mediocrity. Oakland has lost three in a row and Tennessee has dropped 10 home games in a row — the latter a trend just ripe to end. Raiders’ offense has withered lately, and their run defense has allowed 567 yards and a 6.0 average in that three-game losing streak. Another upset!

BILLS (5-5)

AT CHIEFS (5-5)

Line: KC by 5.

Cote’s pick: KC 24-20.

TV: 1 p.m., CBS.

Surging Chieftains currently hold second AFC wild-card ticket and have a chance to join 1970 Bengals as only teams to make playoffs after starting 1-5. And Andy Reid’s guys have outscored foes by 130-39 in this four-game win streak. Buffs expect QB Tyrod Taylor to play despite a tender shoulder, but Williams’ offense has struggled lately. Still, the bet-line feels a shade fat.

BUCCANEERS (5-5)

AT COLTS (5-5)

Line: IND by 3.

Cote’s pick: IND 27-23.

TV: 1 p.m., Fox.

Andrew Luck’s backup, ancient Matt Hasselbeck, has kept Indy afloat by becoming only the third QB over age 40 in the Super Bowl era to win three consecutive starts, joining Warren Moon and Brett Favre. Can’t figure out Tampa, which has won two in a row and looked great in Philly last week. Make it a venue call and trust in Old Man Hasselbeck.

GIANTS (5-5)

AT REDSKINS (4-6)

Line: NYG by 2 1/2.

Cote’s pick: NYG 30-20.

TV: 1 p.m., Fox.

NFC East tussle presents a tough call. Liking NYG coming off a bye, and with Biggies on a five-game series win streak, including 32-21 in September. But we must respect Kirk Cousins in his past four home games: 4-0 with nine TDs, zero picks. Bottom line? Give me Eli Manning against the Unmentionable Nicknames’ slack pass defense.

SAINTS (4-6)

AT TEXANS (5-5)

Line: HOU by 3.

Cote’s pick: HOU 27-23.

TV: 1 p.m., Fox.

Here has been another general failing of mine this season: Trusting N’Awlins way too much. More specifically, trusting Drew Brees to overcome his own team’s abysmal defense. Can’t keep doing that. The Saints Brees-ing to a win here would not surprise me in the least, but I’ll roll with J.J. Watt at home. NO’s pass-D will make Brian Hoyer look way too good.

VIKINGS (7-3)

AT FALCONS (6-4)

Line: ATL by 2.

Cote’s pick: ATL 23-18.

TV: 1 p.m., Fox.

A Game of the Week consideration if the shine hadn’t come off Atlanta with three consecutive losses. The questionable availability of Falcons star RB Devonta Freeman (concussion) also clouds this pick. Vikes may be slightly better team right now, but ATL is home, closer to desperate and presents a fairly stout pass D to Teddy Bridgewater.

RAMS (4-6)

AT BENGALS (8-2)

Line: CIN by 9.

Cote’s pick: CIN 31-13.

TV: 1 p.m., Fox.

Looks like Case Keenum will be pitching again for the erratic, prediction-defying Rams. Bengals lost a shootout to Arizona last week but ’Gals remain a legit AFC power — probably second-best to the Patriots — and should handle St. Louis with little trouble. Andy Dalton gets in no MVP conversations but is playing close to that level.

CARDINALS (8-2)

AT 49ERS (3-7)

Line: ARI by 10.

Cote’s pick: ARI 37-16.

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

Arizona has won the past four in this division series and it was an embarrassing 47-7 in September. This one is bound to be more competitive, but still a rout. Cardbirds have supplanted Green Bay as NFC betting faves to reach the Super Bowl, and Carson Palmer is now running second to Pats’ Tom Brady in terms of league MVP odds.

STEELERS (6-4)

AT SEAHAWKS (5-5)

Line: SEA by 4.

Cote’s pick: SEA 24-21.

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

Here’s one I might pay to watch, with Steelers currently holding first AFC wild-card and Seahawks presently off playoff pace and ill-affording a loss here. Give Pittsburgh coming off a bye and Ben Roethlisberger a real shot here. These teams having not met since 2011 adds a layer of unpredictability. Take Russell Wilson at home, but we’re on high alert for an outright upset and like Steelers with the points.

RAVENS (3-7)

AT BROWNS (2-8)

Line: CLE by 2 1/2.

Cote’s pick: CLE 21-16.

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

As if the combined 5-15 record weren’t bad enough, both teams bring quarterback calamity to the Monday stage. Brownies benched Johnny Manziel after his latest escapade, and Crows are down to Matt Schaub, who hasn’t played since the preseason, after Joe Flacco’s year-ending injury. Josh McCown give CLE a better shot at winning, and Schaub stinks.

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