GAME OF THE WEEK
PATRIOTS (3-0) at BILLS (3-0)
Line: NE by 7½.
Cote’s pick: NE 23-19.
We bring you this week’s only battle of 3-0s, so why not? The Bills were last involved in a Game of the Week when William “Buffalo Bill” Cody was still roaming the plains, so why not again? Bills haven’t been 3-0 since 2011. Give ’em their moment. OK, moment done. Now, reality: Tom Brady has won 14 of the past 15 trips to Billsville, including seven in a row, and the Pats’ defense has been beyond phenomenal. Still, Buffs play strong D, too, so I’m liking a low score that makes home dogs a fair play getting a TD-plus.
UPSET OF THE WEEK
COWBOYS (3-0) at SAINTS (2-1)
Line: DAL by 2½.
Cote’s pick: NO 27-24.
Pure hunch here, but Saints in prime time enjoy a notable home-field edge and New Orleans — even without injured Drew Brees — will be Dallas’ toughest test yet. By far. Boys are unbeaten against the dregs: Giants-Redskins-Dolphins. Saints will be a challenge if Teddy Bridgewater has the gris-gris in his pocket.
THE REST OF WEEK 4:
Chargers (1-2, +15) over @Dolphins (0-3), 31-17: Philip Rivers is prone to the occasional INT, and my chips are on Xavien Howard doing a reasonable job on Keenan Allen. Plus, still no Melvin Gordon for LAC, although the RB ended his holdout Thursday. More than that, the poor Miami offense catches a lil’ break, at last. After facing the monstrous D’s of the Ravens, Patriots and Cowboys, the Fins see an average unit in the Bolts, whose vaunted pass rush has been ordinary thus far
@Falcons (1-2, -4) over Titans (1-2), 24-16: Titans have managed just three TDs across two straight losses and don’t have the pop to outscore Matt Ryan. Oh and Marcus Mariota? That object in the rear-view mirror (Ryan Tannehill) might be closer than it appears.
Chiefs (3-0, -6½) over @Lions (2-0-1), 31-26: Are we sold on Detroit? Upset wins over Chargers and Eagles have our attention and make Lions a juicy home ’dog-with-points. But nobody stops Patrick Mahomes, who is poised to tie Dan Marino’s record with a 15th straight game of two-plus TDs.
@Colts (2-1, -7) over Raiders (1-2), 27-17: Indy has won seven straight home games and 10 in a row when favored. Raiders have lost 11 of past 12 on the road. Sometimes, the trend is your friend.
@Giants (1-2, -2½) over Redskins (0-3), 30-27: Nervous pick here. Best play is that two lousy defenses and about 85 combined passes smile on the over. Big question: Can Daniel Jones do it again? Big question II: With Case Keenum coming off a five-turnover game and a sore foot, is it Dwayne Haskins time? NYG has beaten Skins 11 of past 15 at home.
@Ravens (2-1, -7) over Browns (1-2), 27-13: Is Cleveland ever going to start living up to the hype? Short answer: Not this Sunday. Baltimore’s blitz-krieg defense will make a harrowing day for Baker Mayfield. And Earthtones’ secondary is injury ravaged. Bad combo for Brownies.
@Texans (2-1, -4) over Panthers (1-2), 23-17: Kyle Allen looked great subbing for Cam Newton last week vs. Arizona, but this is a much tougher test. Evading Texans sackers and outscoring Deshaun Watson on the road is a tall order.
@Rams (3-0, -9) over Buccaneers (1-2), 24-16: Tampa Bay has lost 10 in a row on road vs. teams with winning records. But Rams don’t have a great track record hosting East Coast teams, and Jameis Winston and Mike Evans are getting a lot of points, so hunch it closeish.
Seahawks (2-1, -5) over @Cardinals (0-2-1), 20-17: Seattle has not played very well apart from Russell Wilson, and these teams always seem to play it close, so liking Cardbirds with points. The idea of an outright upset is not crazy talk, but that’s risky unless Kyler Murray (16 sacks) stays upright.
@Bears (2-1, -2½) over Vikings (2-1), 19-16: Game of the Week contender figures as low on scoring and a challenge to predict because both QBs, Mitchell Trubisky and Kirk Cousins, skew erratic. Chitown has beaten Purples 15 of past 19 at The Soldier, so make it a venue call underlined by the visual of Khalil Mack smothering Cousins.
Jaguars (1-2, +3½) over @Broncos (0-3), 17-13: Upset! Woes continue for John Elway, whose Joe Flacco offense sputters and whose defense has zero sacks despite having Bradley Chubb and Von Miller.
@Steelers (0-3, -3½) over Bengals (0-3), 24-20: Monday Night Football gets the Winless Bowl, and it’s no big surprise. Cincy is on a 1-9 skid and Pitt a 2-7 slump dating to last year. Steelers need Mason Rudolph to be better than last week to survive the Big Ben absence. It will help that James Conner should bust out for big game vs. Gals’ god-awful run defense.