Not to jinx it, but we’re on a heater. We have excavated out of what had been a very tough season with a run of strong weeks both overall and against the spread.

That continued both ways in Week 13, at 11-3 outright and 10-4 vs. the evil betting line. Included was a a fifth straight (!) Upset of the Week bull’s-eye with Seattle beating San Fran. That’s a heck of a run for anybody, anywhere, anytime.

We were 3-for-3 in outright upset calls, in fact, also nailing Washington over Vegas and New England over Buffalo.

In addition we had a pair of ‘dogs-with-points in covers by the Lions and Steelers. Can we stay on the hotfoot? Unlike the streaking Dolphins, we get no byes, so let’s keep on scorchin’! (Note: Thursday night pick was Steelers (+3 1/2) over @Vikings, 23-20. Editor’s note: The Vikings won, 36-28.)


BILLS (7-5) at BUCCANEERS (9-3)

Line: TB by 3½. Cote’s pick: TB, 31-23.

This week’s GOTW committee meeting quickly devolved into a physical altercation as Bills-Bucs proponents held off a raucous assault from those pushing Rams-Cards. Arrests and lawsuits followed, but I digress. Tom Brady is a very likely 18 completions from breaking Drew Brees’ all-time NFL record of 7,142. Some see this as a potential Super Bowl preview, but the notion flatters Buffalo in its current form. The Bills got schooled by New England last week — albeit in weather suited to a herd of Pleistocene Age mastodon — and the latter-day Bison are an ordinary 3-4 during past seven games.

Tampa Bay has won eight consecutive home games (5-0 this year) and the best quarterback on the field won’t be Josh Allen. Buffalo failed last week to assert itself in the AFC East. Unless the Bills beat Brady here, let’s please officially retire “Bills” and “Super Bowl” in the same sentence until further notice.


RAMS (8-4) at CARDINALS (10-2)

Line: ARI by 2. Cote’s pick: LAR, 28-24.

“AAAWWWK!” carols the Upset Bird. “Deck the halls with Aaron Donald!” We have nailed five consecutive Upset of the Week picks — five in a row! — so we’re counting on the Rams to continue our streak on the Monday night stage. Cardbirds handled LAR 37-20 back in Week 4, but Rams didn’t have Odell Beckham Jr. or Von Miller then. Or this much desperation to still win the NFC West. Counting on big defense from the visitors, especially a hectoring of Kyler Murray.

Also counting on Matthew Stafford-to-Cooper Kupp again being an unstoppable hookup. Zona has won only two of its last nine prime-time appearances and, with NFL’s best record, is due a toe stub. “Very painful, a toe stub,” notes U-Bird. “Los Angeles Raaawwwk!”


Ravens (8-4, +2½) over @Browns (6-6), 23-20: Upset! Cleveland is off a bye week that followed its 16-10 loss in Baltimore, but I like Crows in the rematch anyway. With two struggling offenses, I trust Lamar Jackson more than I trust Baker Mayfield to snap out of it. Browns have lost five of eight since that 3-1 start, and scored 17 points or fewer in seven of past nine games.

@Titans (8-4, -8½) over Jaguars (2-10), 31-13: Tennessee (and Ryan Tannehill) are not the same without Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown, but Titans are off a bye and lucky to have a get-well opponent in the sad Jags, who have lost 14 road games in a row (0-5 this year).

@Chiefs (8-4, -9½) over Raiders (6-6), 30-17: K.C. and Patrick Mahomes quietly have won five in a row while slumping Vegas has lost four of past five. Mahomes torched Raiders for 406 yards and five TDs in earlier meeting. And since then, Chiefs’ defense has surged while LV’s has sagged. (But give Vegas a decent cover shot if TE Darren Waller returns from injury, which was hoped-for but iffy on Thursday).

Saints (5-7, -5) over @Jets (3-9), 24-16: Taysom Hill is coming off a four-INT game and N’Awlins reels with an NFL-worst five-game losing streak ... but here comes the remedy in NYJ’s league-worst defense. Jets tempt with points but remain a safer bet to disappoint than to surprise.

Cowboys (8-4, -4) over @Washington (6-6), 27-24: Washington has an attention-getting four wins in a row, and another here would make the NFC East race suddenly very interesting. Dallas has a big edge in firepower, but like No-Names and sneaky-competent Taylor Heinicke to keep this inside the bet line.

@Panthers (5-7, -2½) over Falcons (5-7), 23-20: Went back and forth on this one. Weighed Matt Ryan being better than Cam Newton without Christian McCaffrey. Weighed Carolina having better defense and coming off a bye week. Both have lost three of past four so it becomes a lesser-of-two-evils equation.

Seahawks (4-8, -8½) over @Texans (2-10), 27-6: Seattle is 0-4 following a win this year but should get its first winning streak of the season here, with Russell Wilson coming off his best game since returning from injury, and Houston coming off a shutout loss.

@Broncos (6-6, -10) over Lions (1-10-1), 24-12: Denver and its quicksand offense last week became the first team in 12 years to have an 11-minute, 20-play drive and not score. Detroit, though wracked by illness running through the team, is coming off its maiden win and has covered the point spread in four straight games.

@Chargers (7-5, -10) over Giants (4-8), 21-13: Bolts had lost four of six before arising to whip Cincy last week while NYG was laying down in Miami. Now the Biggies (1-5 on the road) could be down to third-string QB Jake Fromm in his NFL debut, with Daniel Jones (neck) and Mike Glennon (concussion) both very iffy. Still hunch Giants keep it inside a double-digit betting line.

@Bengals (7-5, +1) over 49ers (6-6), 30-26: Upset! (If the word even applies with the line near-pick ‘em). Important game, with both teams on wild-card pace in their conference. San Fran is on 6-0 run in East time zone and Cincy on 0-3 skid vs. West Coast teams, but I like those trends to end. Joe Burrow is playing hurt but we’re banking on a (rare) turnover-free game from him.

@Packers (9-3, -12½) over Bears (4-8), 31-13: “I own you!” shouted Aaron Rodgers to Bears fans giving him the finger after Green Bay’s 24-14 October win in Chicago. He wasn’t lyin’. Rodgers is 21-5 all-time in this division series including 10 wins in past 11 meetings. So the Sunday night stage gets a bona fide bitter rivalry — just not a very competitive one. Justin Fields returns at QB for Chitown. But is that a good thing?

Bye weeks:

DOLPHINS (6-7; next vs. Jets): Miami beat Giants for fifth straight win and will be favored next week to climb to .500. But will the NFL’s latest and last bye week cool the hot Fins?

Colts (7-6; next vs. Patriots): Indy has impressed since an 0-3 start, but New England and Arizona up next present double-dose test.

Eagles (6-7; next vs. Washington): Philly’s 4-2 run has Birds only a half-game off playoff pace in crowded, top-heavy NFC.

Patriots (9-4; next @Colts): Pats’ league-best seven-game win streak gets double challenge with Indy next then rematch with Buffalo.