Predicting Week 7 of the NFL season

Hello and welcome back to the Cowan Corner for another week of predictions for the upcoming slate of NFL games.

Last week was the worst of the season for me from a prediction standpoint as I finished below .500, but it was a surprising week in general with most favorites failing to cover and many of those losing outright.

With another 15 games this week, it will be interesting to see if any more surprising results pop up.

Without further ado, let’s get into this week’s picks.

Chiefs over Raiders

Prior to the season, many had the Raiders pegged as a sleeper Super Bowl contender, but they have looked horrible the past few weeks.

The Chiefs did take their first loss of the season last week, but they are still definitely the best team in their division and I expect them to get a big win on the road Thursday.

Bills over Buccaneers

At the time of writing, the status of Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston is uncertain, but even if he plays, I think the Bills are a much better team.

That being said, the Buccaneers don’t have a chance with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center so I will go against them.

Panthers over Bears

This has the potential to be an interesting game because the Bears have been a good home team this season.

However, the Bears lack effective receivers and that will likely hurt them despite the solid running backs they have.

I think the Panthers are a better team and I think they will pick up the win on the road this weekend.

Titans over Browns

The Browns are the worst team in the NFL and I don’t think anyone will argue with me there.

The Titans are an average team, but I fully expect them to dominate this game and hand the Browns yet another loss to begin the season.

Saints over Packers

You really have to feel for the Packers who went from top-tier team to average at best with the loss of Aaron Rodgers for possibly the entire season.

With Aaron Rodgers, this would have been an intriguing shootout, but without him, Drew Brees and the Saints should win very easily.

Jaguars over Colts

Leonard Fournette has already established himself as one of the best running backs in football and he almost makes up for Blake Bortles’ lack of playmaking ability.

I think Fournette’s powerful running and the Jaguars defense should allow them to dominate the Colts on the road this week.

Rams over Cardinals

The Cardinals seem revitalized last week as Adrian Peterson found an offense he is comfortable in and Carson Palmer actually seemed like a solid quarterback.

However, given the Buccaneers are not a good team, that win should be taken with a grain of salt.

The Rams, meanwhile, are still quietly the best team in the NFC West and I expect them to win this game to further their lead in the division.

Jets over Dolphins

The Jets outplayed the Patriots last week and if it wasn’t for one of the worst touchdown overturns I have ever seen, they probably would have beaten them. The game was another one demonstrating that the Jets might actually be a decent team that has outperformed all expectation so far.

The Dolphins got a big win last week against the Falcons, but I can’t trust a team led by Jay Cutler to play with any sort of consistency so I am going against them today.

Vikings over Ravens

With the Aaron Rodgers injury, the Lions underperforming and the Bears still being a few pieces shy of contending, the Vikings have seemingly jumped to the front of the line in the NFC North.

I think they will pick up their fifth win of the season this week against a Ravens team which has so much trouble moving the ball.

While the Ravens defense is good, it’s difficult to take them seriously as their offense stands right now.

Cowboys over 49ers

Ezekiel Elliott will be playing this week as the story around his on-again, off-again suspension continues to develop by the week.

Regardless of how well Elliott plays despite these distractions off of the field, I think the Cowboys will get back to .500 this week with a win over a below-average 49ers team.

Seahawks over Giants

The Giants did surprisingly well against the Broncos Sunday despite missing their only real offensive playmaker in Odell Beckham Jr.

However, I’m still not buying into them as a team and I think the Seahawks will win this one easily coming off of a bye week.

Steelers over Bengals

This should be one of the more interesting games of the week as matchups between these two teams tend to be very intense.

I think these two teams are on the same level, but I will give the Steelers a slight edge due to playing at home.

Chargers over Broncos

The Chargers seemed like an easy team to write off after an 0-4 start, but now they’ve won two straight and could make it three with a game against the struggling Broncos.

Trevor Siemian is projected to be able to play for the Broncos, but he hasn’t done much the past few weeks and I think the Chargers will get a close win here.

Falcons over Patriots

As mentioned above, the Patriots got outplayed by the Jets on Sunday and yet I am supposed to still buy them as a favorite for the Super Bowl.

The fact is their defense is horrible and their offense, while still good, is not what it used to be.

The Patriots will have home-field advantage, but they have already lost two games at home this season and I don’t see any way their defense can stop Matt Ryan and the Falcons.

The Falcons have made rough outings the past two games, but I think they are better than the Patriots and will win here.

Eagles over Redskins

This is a solid Monday night contest this week as the Eagles are the best team in the NFC East, but I feel like the Redskins are not too far behind.

Carson Wentz has been fantastic this year and I feel like he is currently being overlooked as a threat for MVP. If the Eagles continue on their current pace, he will have to be considered for it and I feel like he will bolster his case with another win here.

That does it for this week’s picks. Check back next week for more NFL picks and analysis of the week that was in football.

Week 6: 5-9

Overall: 55-36

Predicting Week 6 of the NFL season

Hello and welcome back to the Cowan Corner for another week of predictions for the upcoming slate of NFL games.

Four more teams have byes this week so it will be another spread of 14 games to choose from this weekend.

We have a long way to go until the playoffs as the playoff picture could change dramatically in the next few weeks.

With that being said, let’s get into this week’s picks beginning with the Thursday night game.

Panthers over Eagles

This is probably the best overall game of the week and we’re getting it early on Thursday night.

Both of these teams are clear playoff contenders and I could see it going either way. However, the Panthers have shown a capability to be a top contender this season while I think the Eagles aren’t quite at that level yet.

That combined with the Panthers playing at home means I am going with them.

Falcons over Dolphins

The Falcons are coming off of a bye week and they have the luxury of facing a terrible Dolphins team at home.

I’m just wondering what it’s going to take for the Dolphins to bench Jay Cutler considering how horrible he has played thus far couple with his terrible body language.

Regardless, whether it’s Jay Cutler or Matt Moore under center for the Dolphins, I think the Falcons win easily.

Packers over Vikings

Aaron Rodgers showed once again why he is the best quarterback in the NFL Sunday with his marvelous final drive to beat the Cowboys.

Now the Packers travel to Minnesota for an important NFC North matchup and I think they will win this one as well to improve to 5-1.

The Vikings are a decent team, but their offense has no identity and the quarterback combo of Case Keenum and Sam Bradford doesn’t inspire confidence.

Saints over Lions

This game should be the quite a shootout with two teams used to playing in domes and with quarterbacks who can sling it around facing off.

I think this game will be close, but I think the Saints coming off of a bye week will pick up the victory.

Patriots over Jets

The Jets and Patriots come into this game with identical 3-2 records which is not something I would not have expected going into the season.

Regardless, the Patriots are much better than the Jets even if their defense isn’t what it used to be and I think the Patriots will pick up an easy win here.

Redskins over 49ers

The 49ers are one of three winless teams at this point in the season and I don’t think they will get their first win this week.

The Redskins are a decent team and Kirk Cousins should be able to lead his offense to a solid win over the 49ers.

Ravens over Bears

The start of Mitchell Trubisky’s NFL career was not particularly eye-catching as threw for just one touchdown and had less than 200 yards passing, but his performance was passable.

However, this week he is matched up against a formidable defense in the Ravens and I expect the Ravens to overwhelm the young rookie with pressure throughout.

Texans over Browns

Will the Browns win a game this season? Maybe. Will they win against the Texans this week? I don’t think there is any chance that happens.

The Texans did lose handily to the Chiefs Sunday, but Deshaun Watson has continued to look impressive and should pick apart the Browns.

Buccaneers over Cardinals

These two teams have evenly matched records going in, but I would say the Cardinals have been a little less impressive.

After being decimated by the Eagles last week, I could see the Cardinals getting torched again by the combined power of Mike Evans and Desean Jackson.

Jaguars over Rams

The Jaguars are the early favorite for most confusing team of 2017 because you can never tell which version of them will show up. Some weeks they absolutely destroy the competition, but then the next week they’ll get torched themselves.

I’m making this prediction based on the assumption and hope that the Jaguars put on another dominating performance like they have in their three wins so far this season.

Chiefs over Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger is an old man in football years and he showed Sunday when he threw five interceptions to the Jaguars including two pick-sixes.

When you combine that with the fact that Alex Smith is putting together an MVP season and Kareem Hunt has continued to dominate defenses, and there’s no way I can pick against the Chiefs to win at home.

Raiders over Chargers

Derek Carr is projected to play this Sunday if everything goes well which is good for the Raiders because without him, the team goes from a playoff contender to a pretender.

Even without Carr, I would favor the Raiders here, but if he is starting then I will definitely pick them to win at home.

Broncos over Giants

The season-ending injury to Odell Beckham Jr. Sunday put the nail in the already-closed coffin of the Giants season as they are now among the top contenders for the No. 1 overall pick come April.

With that being said, they should get one step closer to that premier spot this week as they will be completely outmatched against the Broncos.

Titans over Colts

The NFL week wraps up with a matchup that could be terrible or interesting depending on the status of quarterbacks.

Marcus Mariota is apparently probable for the game at this point, but it could be a decision made on the day of the game.

Meanwhile, the Colts will likely still be without Andrew Luck though Jacoby Brissett has done a decent job in his place.

Regardless of which combination of quarterbacks play, I think the Titans are definitely better so I will go with them.

That does it for this week’s picks. Check back next week for more NFL picks and analysis of the week that was in football.

Week 5: 7-7

Overall: 50-27

Predicting Week 5 of the NFL season

Hello and welcome back to the Cowan Corner for another week of predictions for the upcoming slate of NFL games.

Week 5 is where bye weeks begin for NFL teams as the Saints, Dolphins, Broncos and Falcons all got a week off.

However, that still leaves 14 games on the schedule to be picked so without further ado, let’s get into this week’s selections.

Patriots over Buccaneers

The Patriots have the worst defense in football so far this year by a wide margin as their defense is on pace to allow over 500 points.

To put that into perspective, no Bill Belichick team has ever given up more than 350 points in a single season.

The Patriots need to find some defensive rhythm and the Buccaneers might be the team to help with that as they haven’t exactly lit the world on fire so far. I will go with the Patriots to pick up the win at home.

Bengals over Bills

The Bills have been on fire the last two weeks with wins over the Broncos and the Falcons, but their win over the Falcons should be taken with a grain of salt because the Falcons were playing without Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu for the entire second half.

I’m predicting a let-down for the Bills this week as the Bengals carry on their momentum from a blowout win over the Browns last week.

Jets over Browns

The Browns are arguably the worst team in football and even playing at home against the Jets, I can’t bring myself to pick them.

On the bright side for Browns fans, a loss this week will continue their path towards the No. 1 overall pick. Who knows, they might actually draft a quarterback that the franchise desperately needs.

Lions over Panthers

The Lions aren’t getting much attention so far this year, but they might be one of the best teams in the NFC.

This should be an interesting game, but I expect the Lions to pick up a win in front of their home fans at Ford Field.

Colts over 49ers

The Colts actually looked somewhat competent in the first half against the Seahawks before things fell apart in the second half.

However, while the Colts are far from a complete team, they are at least better than the 49ers so I will pick the Colts.

Titans over Dolphins

The status of Marcus Mariota is in doubt and it probably won’t be known until Sunday, but the Titans are still better than the Dolphins even if Matt Cassel starts.

I mean if you get shut out by the Saints, it says a lot about how bad your team is and the Dolphins definitely fit that bill.

Chargers over Giants

Two of the four remaining winless teams in the NFL square off in this game and one of them has to win, right?

I’ll go with the Chargers because they actually have consistent playmakers on offense unlike the Giants.

Eagles over Cardinals

There are three good teams in the NFC East and the Eagles seem like they may be the best among them. I think the Eagles will continue their early momentum this week when they take on a Cardinals team which has not looked good early in the year.

Raiders over Ravens

The Ravens have been ravaged by injuries so far this season and their lack of an offensive identity has caused them to fall short of expectations so far.

The Raiders really need a win to get back on track after two straight losses and I think they will have no problem beating the Ravens here.

Rams over Seahawks

Look out, the Rams are not only exciting to watch, but they’re a bonafide playoff contender.

This game could prove very important down the line in the NFC West and I expect the Rams to get to 4-1 with a big win here.

Packers over Cowboys

This should be one of the more exciting games of the week and it’s one I could honestly see going either way.

However, I think the Cowboys will take another loss at home this week as the Packers are a clear step better than them.

Texans over Chiefs

The Chiefs enter this game as the only undefeated team left this season, but I see them taking their first loss this week.

I think it will be a close game, but if Deshaun Watson plays like he did the first two weeks, the Texans should be able to win this game.

Bears over Vikings

The loss of Dalvin Cook from a torn ACL has put a massive damper on the Vikings playoff hopes and it’s hard to see them winning consistently with the offense they now have.

Mitch Trubisky will be making his debut for the Bears in this game and, while he is not a proven commodity yet, he performed well in the preseason and combined with the potent running attack of the Bears should be able to pick up a win in his NFL debut.

That does it for this week’s picks. Check back next week for more NFL picks and analysis of the week that was in football.

Week 4: 12-4

Overall: 43-20

Predicting Week 4 of the NFL season

Hello and welcome back to the Cowan Corner for another week of predictions for the upcoming slate of NFL games.

You never know what you’re going to get from week-to-week in the NFL and last week was no different as eight games were decided by seven points or less in an exciting week of games.

This week’s slate has some exciting games on paper so we might be in for another fun week of football.

Without further ado, let’s get into this week’s picks.

Packers over Bears

The Bears have been a frisky team through the first three weeks with the running back duo of Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen providing plenty of excitement.

However, the Bears are still far from a complete team and I think the Packers will take care of business in prime time at home.

Saints over Dolphins

The Dolphins seemed to be a team with potential, but then they got destroyed by the lowly Jets and seem lost as a team.

The Saints meanwhile are only 1-2, but their losses so far have been to the Vikings and Patriots who seem like good teams.

I will go with the Saints because their offense should be able to plow over the Dolphins this week.

Falcons over Bills

This turned into a very intriguing game after the Bills pulled off a big upset against the Broncos last week, but I am still going with the Falcons.

If this were up in Buffalo, my pick might be different, but it is difficult to pick against the Falcons in their dome.

Bengals over Browns

One of these teams will be getting their first win of the season after dismal 0-3 starts.

Unfortunately for Browns fans, their team may be the worst in the NFL and I think the Bengals will get in the win column this week.

Rams over Cowboys

I’m going with an upset pick here as I fully expect the Rams to get a win on the road.

The Cowboys haven’t impressed me too much with wins over the Giants and Cardinals while the Rams have been a surprisingly exciting team to watch.

I think the combination of Todd Gurley and Sammy Watkins will continue to impress and lead the Rams to a win on the road.

Vikings over Lions

This is a game between two teams have looked good through the first three weeks and this could actually be an important game down the road in the NFC North.

I think the Vikings will take it in front of their home crowd, but it should be one of the more exciting games of the week.

Patriots over Panthers

I don’t think this game will be even close. Cam Newton and the Panthers as a team are a shell of their former selves and the Patriots have been playing well since losing to the Chiefs in Week 1.

I think this game will be over fairly quickly and should be very one-sided.

Jaguars over Jets

I can’t figure out the Jaguars. They went from destroying the Texans to giving up to 37 points to the Titans and then to killing Joe Flacco in London last week.

For now, I am just certain that their defense is among the best in the NFL and they should have another dominating performance against the weak Jets offense.

Steelers over Ravens

The Ravens are coming off one of their worst performances in years and that combined with having just flown back from London makes me think the Steelers are the clear favorite.

I just can’t see the Ravens slowing Ben Roethlisberger down after getting decimated by Blake Bortles last week.

Texans over Titans

This should be another interesting contest between two division rivals. I’m not expecting many points to be scored in this game and it should be an interesting between two young quarterbacks in DeShaun Watson and Marcus Mariota.

I think this game is basically a coin-flip so I will go with the Texans playing at home to win.

Cardinals over 49ers

This is definitely the game I and probably most of the nation will be skipping out on this week as neither of these teams has anything going for them.

In the unwelcome battle between Carson Palmer and Brian Hoyer, there are no true winner, but I guess I will give the win to Palmer and the Cardinals.

Eagles over Chargers

Early betting lines have the Chargers favored which I can not comprehend. The Chargers are the same unreliable team they have always been and you can always count on them to disappoint.

Combined with the fact that the crowd will probably be mostly Eagles fans, there is no way I can back the Chargers in this game.

Buccaneers over Giants

The Giants nearly won last week, but unfortunately they found a way to take the loss and I think this week will go very similar.

The Buccaneers still have a ton of potential though I don’t think they have realized it quite yet. Maybe a win this week will get them going.

Broncos over Raiders

Both of these teams suffered disappointing losses last week to the Bills and Redskins last week and will be looking to rebound in an important divisional game.

I think this game will be a close one, but I have the Broncos winning with their home-field advantage.

Seahawks over Colts

In what world is this a good Sunday night game? Even prior to the season, this would have come off as a terrible choice and the injury of Andrew Luck just makes the matchup all the worse.

I think the Seahawks will win this one easily at home and if the game isn’t decided by double-digits, I will be a little surprised.

Chiefs over Redskins

Now this is a prime time football game! The Chiefs and Redskins have both been fun teams to watch so far this year and I think this will be a good matchup.

I give the Chiefs the advantage at home, but I could see it going either way. However, I think Kareem Hunt will continue his remarkable rookie season to lead the team to victory.

That does it for this week’s picks. Check back next week for more NFL picks and analysis of the week that was in football.

Week 3: 9-7

Overall: 31-16

Predicting Week 3 of the NFL season

Hello and welcome back to the Cowan Corner for another week of predictions for the upcoming slate of NFL games.

Week 3 of the NFL season is usually when teams start to show their true colors as contenders pull away from the pack, bad teams get further in the dump and mediocre teams stay in their mediocrity.

Without further ado, let’s get into this week’s picks.

Rams over 49ers

This doesn’t seem like the type of game that will bring in huge ratings for the NFL Thursday night. While the game is between conference foes, neither is very much fun to watch.

That being said, while the 49ers came close to beating the Seahawks last week they just do not have the talent to win consistently.

I see the Rams picking up the win here on the road to get back above .500.

Ravens over Jaguars

The first of the London games is here as the Ravens and Jaguars will play this one at Wembley Stadium.

Unfortunately for the London fans, this one might be a bit of a blowout as I don’t think the Ravens will have much trouble dispatching the Jaguars.

While both defense in this game are good, the Ravens actually have a competent offense to back that up.

Broncos over Bills

Trevor Siemian is leading the NFL in touchdown passes. That’s a sentence I never thought I would write, but here we are.

The Broncos dominated the Cowboys last week and I don’t think they will have much trouble in defeating a bad Bills team this week.

Steelers over Bears

The Bears just finished getting destroyed by the Buccaneers and I don’t see them doing that much against the Steelers this week.

The Steelers haven’t exactly had a tough schedule so far, but they should be 3-0 after this game.

Falcons over Lions

The Falcons looked every bit like a Super Bowl contender with their win over the Packers Sunday night. The Lions might provide a tough challenge with their offense, but I still see the Falcons coming out on top.

Browns over Colts

Neither of these teams are very good, let’s make that clear right now. However, the Browns have shown signs of improvement in the first two weeks and might actually have a legitimate quarterback now.

The Colts looked better with Jacoby Brissett under center, but still haven’t shown me anything which makes me think think they can win without Andrew Luck.

Buccaneers over Vikings

The Buccaneers came out hot in their delayed season opener last week and could be competition for the Falcons in the NFC South.

Vegas has this game at even odds at the time of writing and I could see it going either way. I think the Buccaneers will win a close game with their offense.

Patriots over Texans

The Patriots are heavy favorites in this game and for good reason. I don’t see a scenario where the Texans win here because of how severely they’re outmatched across the board.

DeShaun Watson has looked good thus far in his NFL career, but he’s not going to be able to keep up with Tom Brady.

Dolphins over Jets

The Jets are probably the worst team in the NFL this season and it’s highly questionable if they’ll be able to win a game.

That being said, I don’t see that win coming this week as they play a very capable Dolphins team.

Eagles over Giants

A major question this week by sports writers has been, “What is wrong with the Giants?” My question is, “What did everyone see in the Giants to begin with?”

The Giants have a strong defense, but their offense was bad last year and has remained bad this year. Odell Beckham Jr. is one of the best wide receivers in football, but one star player does not an offense make.

The Eagles look pretty good so far this season and should be able to pick up an easy win over the Giants.

Saints over Panthers

The Panthers are 2-0 going into this game, but they didn’t look great in their wins over the mediocre 49ers and Bills.

Add to that the loss of tight end Greg Olsen to injury and I think the Saints are going to pick up their first win of the season here.

Titans over Seahawks

The Seahawks have seemingly fallen apart on offense after mustering just nine points against the Packers and 12 against the 49ers to start the season.

Meanwhile, the Titans put on a crushing performance in the second half of their game against the Jaguars and seem like the new favorite to win their division.

I feel like this game will be close, but the Titans will win in front of their home fans.

Packers over Bengals

The Bengals offense has looked like a shell of its former self in the first two games and things won’t look too much better this week at Green Bay.

The Bengals season isn’t completely lost at this point, but I will be on the verge of being lost after another defeat this week.

Chiefs over Chargers

The Chiefs have been incredibly entertaining the first two weeks of the season with dynamic players like Travis Kelce, Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill lighting up the field and the stat sheet.

The Chargers lost two close games to start the season and I think another close loss will be coming their way this week.

Raiders over Redskins

The Raiders have been an extremely entertaining team for the past two seasons and seem poised this year to contend with stars like Derek Carr and Khalil Mack leading the way.

I think they run their record to 3-0 this week with a win in Washington.

Cowboys over Cardinals

The Cowboys are coming off a bad loss to the Broncos, but I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt and say it was more about the Broncos being good than them being bad.

The Cardinals needed overtime to beat a bad Colts team and that should tell you all you need to know about this matchup. I have the Cowboys winning easily.

That does it for this week’s picks. Check back next week for more NFL picks and analysis of the week that was in football.

Week 2: 12-4

Overall: 22-9

Predicting Week 2 of the NFL season

Hello and welcome back to the Cowan Corner for another week of predictions for the upcoming slate of NFL games.

The opening week of the season featured some exciting games, but most games were decided by multiple scores. Now we move on to Week 2 where 1-0 teams will look to stay unbeaten and 0-1 teams will look to get on track.

Without further ado, let’s get into this week’s picks.

Bengals over Texans

Neither of these teams had a particular good opening week as the Bengals were shutout by division rival Baltimore and the Texans got blown out at home by the Jaguars.

Deshaun Watson will get his first career NFL start on Thursday night, taking over for Tom Savage who looked terrible in Week 1.

I have the Bengals favored here due to playing at home and due to the experience advantage Dalton’s offense has over the younger Texans offensive group.

Ravens over Browns

The Browns actually looked decent with DeShone Kizer at quarterback and could finally be turning the corner after nearly beating the Steelers on Sunday.

However, they are still far from success and the top-notch defense of the Ravens should shut them down this week.

Panthers over Bills

Both of these teams enter the game with a record of 1-0, but the Bills looked like the much less impressive team after beating the lowly Jets by just nine points.

Cam Newton and the Panthers shouldn’t have too much trouble beating the Bills in their home opener to improve to 2-0.

Cardinals over Colts

The Colts were undoubtedly the worst-looking team in the NFL in Week 1 after they lost to the Rams by 37 points.

While Scott Tolzien’s days as the starter at quarterback are numbered, I don’t think Jacoby Brissett will do much better filling in.

The Cardinals don’t have a particularly good offense with David Johnson down for several months, but their defense will carry them to a win.

Titans over Jaguars

This game could prove to be a very important one down the line for the AFC South.

The Jaguars looked great against the Texans in Week 1, but it will be interesting to see how they do against a competent offensive unit.

I think this game will be close, but the Titans have enough of an edge to come away with the victory on the road.

Chiefs over Eagles

The Chiefs were one of the surprises of Week 1 with their offense dominating the normally strong Patriots defense.

I think the Chiefs can be expected to have a similarly high-octane game against the Eagles and should pick up an easy win in their home opener.

Patriots over Saints

The Patriots suffered a surprising loss to begin the season due in part to mounting injuries on both sides of the ball.

However, teams coached by Bill Belichick don’t tend to start 0-2 and with a week to pull everything together I expect a Patriots win here to get back on track.

Vikings over Steelers

The Steelers won to open the season against the Browns, but it was a deceiving win where they were slightly outplayed but benefited from a blocked punt for a touchdown early.

The Vikings have an incredibly strong defense which I think will lead them to an upset win in Pittsburgh.

Buccaneers over Bears

This will be the Buccaneers season opener after the events of Hurricane Irma delayed their game against the Dolphins.

While the Bears played a close game against the Falcons to open the season, I think they are still not quite there as a team while the Buccaneers seemed poised for success so I will go with them.

Chargers over Dolphins

The Dolphins are the other team having their season opener a week later than everyone else.

The Chargers looked pretty good opening the season and came a blocked field goal away from going to overtime against the Broncos.

I think the Chargers should be able to beat out the Dolphins in their home opener to begin their new run in Los Angeles strong.

Raiders over Jets

The Raiders are a good up-and-coming team while the Jets might be the worst team in football this season.

This is probably the easiest prediction for me to make this week. No way the Raiders lose here.

Broncos over Cowboys

This should be a close game between two playoff contenders, but I will give the Broncos an edge here on the strength of their defense.

The Cowboys looked good in Week 1, but I think their defense benefited from playing a weak Giants defense. The Broncos are only slightly better on offense, but should still be able to get more going against them.

Rams over Redskins

This game was a difficult one, mainly because it is difficult to say how good the Rams actually are.

While they did dominate the Colts last week, it may have more to do with the incompetence of the Colts than anything.

Regardless, the Redskins didn’t look very good in the opening week and the Rams have the advantage of playing at home so I will go with them.

Seahawks over 49ers

The 49ers seem like a mostly hopeless team that will be lucky to win five games while the Seahawks lost a close game to the Packers on the road.

I think this game will be fairly one-sided with the Seahawks winning in front of their home fans.

Falcons over Packers

This should be a very entertaining game between two of the top teams in the NFC. I could honestly see it going either way and it seems like it could be an exciting, high-scoring affair.

I feel like these teams are very even, but I will give the Falcons a slight edge at home.

Lions over Giants

The Giants offense looked pretty bad in Week 1 and while the Lions aren’t exactly known for their defense, I think something similar will happen here.

The Giants have a good defense, but it can’t carry them to victory every time out. I see the Lions winning this one to close out the week.

That does it for this week’s picks. Check back next week for more NFL picks and analysis of the week that was in football.

Week 1: 10-5

Overall: 10-5

Predicting Week 1 of the NFL season

Hello and welcome back to the Cowan Corner picks column where I run down the slate of NFL games for the week and tell you who I think will win.

For those of you who might be new to the column, I finished last season with an overall record 163-102-2 including a 7-4 record in the playoffs.

The start of the 2017 NFL season is finally here with plenty of interesting matchups to kick off the campaign. Without further ado, let’s get into the picks beginning with the Thursday night game.

Patriots over Chiefs

The last time these two teams met in the regular season, the Chiefs dominated in a 41-14 win. The Patriots then rebounded and went on to win the Super Bowl while the Chiefs missed the playoffs entirely.

Coming off of their fifth Super Bowl win together, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will be opening the season in front of a lively and very receptive crowd.

Even without Julian Edelman, I’m expecting a decisive Patriots win here to kick off their season.

Bills over Jets

This game has the potential to be the least interesting of any of the noon games for the opening week.

Both defenses are solid, but the Bills have a clear edge due to the playmaking abilities of LeSean McCoy and Tyrod Taylor. I’m not expecting much to happen for the Jets with Josh McCown under center so I will go with the Bills.

Falcons over Bears

The Falcons endured one of the most heartbreaking losses in NFL history at the Super Bowl in February when they blew a 28-3 lead to the Patriots.

However, they will return to the field five months later with all of their key pieces back and should be able to put together another solid run. The Falcons will definitely be one of the teams to beat in the NFC this season and I don’t see them having much trouble with the Bears.

Bengals over Ravens

I see both of these teams as being on fairly equal footing at the moment which seems pretty normal in the AFC North.

I would give the slight edge to the Bengals given they are playing at home and AJ Green has also historically dominated the Ravens.

Green will likely be key for the Bengals in this game and should make enough big plays for them to come out ahead.

Steelers over Browns

Now we go from a game between two equal teams to a one-sided game in a historically one-sided rivalry.

It will be interesting to see how DeShone Kizer does in his debut for the Browns, but I can’t see them beating the Steelers here, especially not with No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett missing in action due to an injury at a practice this week.

Lions over Cardinals

The Cardinals go into this game as the slight favorite, but I think the Lions will pull this one out.

Carson Palmer is a major question mark for the Cardinals at this stage in his career while Matthew Stafford has been a consistent top passer for the past several seasons.

I think the difference between Stafford and Palmer from a skill standpoint will be enough to bring the Lions to a win.

Texans over Jaguars

The Texans have won their last six games against the Jaguars and enter this season with a scary defense thanks to JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney both being healthy this season.

The Texans are going to be a handful on defense for just about any team and especially against a historically underachieving team like the Jaguars.

Titans over Raiders

This has the potential to be one of the most interesting games of the week as two young, up-and-coming teams face off.

Marcus Mariota and Derek Carr are two of the best young quarterbacks in the league and both teams are solid on both sides of the ball.

I’m expecting this game to be close, but I think the Titans will have a slight edge playing at home.

Redskins over Eagles

I went back and forth with this prediction a few times and I’m still not 100 percent confident in my choice here.

I think Kirk Cousins is much better at quarterback than Carson Wentz at this point and the Redskins will have some home field advantage.

I think that will be enough to get them a win.

Rams over Colts

Nothing says top-quality NFL action like Scott Tolzien versus Jared Goff in Week 1. In all seriousness, this game could be very ugly as neither offense is exactly known for their effectiveness.

The Rams have a better defense and Tolzien’s poor performances in past starts should be a good indication of how this game will go.

Packers over Seahawks

These two teams have had some great games against each other in past season and this year’s game should be no different.

The Seahawks defense will be tough as ever this year, but Aaron Rodgers should be able to do enough against them to pick up a win for the Green Bay faithful to start the season.

Panthers over 49ers

The Panthers went from Super Bowl runner-up in 2015 to missing the playoffs entirely last season.

They will definitely be looking to return to form this season and will begin the year against the rebuilding 49ers.

The 49ers aren’t expecting to win much this season and this week will be the first of many losses.

Cowboys over Giants

The Cowboys are expecting big things this season after the rookie duo of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott led them a 13-3 record in 2016.

Elliott will have to serve a six-game suspension, but due to the timing of the decision will be allowed to play this opening week game.

I expect Elliott to be a difference maker as the Cowboys begin the year with a big win over their rival.

Vikings over Saints

Adrian Peterson’s first game as a Saint will fittingly enough be against his former team, the Vikings. However, while the Saints always have a potent offense, I think the defense of the Vikings will be enough to lead them to victory in the first of the two Monday night games this week.

Broncos over Chargers

The first week of the season concludes with the Broncos hosting the Chargers and I’m expecting an easy win for the Broncos.

The Broncos still have a top-tier defense this season and Trevor Siemian did a solid job of stepping into the starting role last season. I think the Chargers just don’t have the personnel to match up with the Broncos here.

That does it for this week’s picks. Check back next week for more NFL picks and analysis of the week that was in football.

Steph Curry signs well-deserved mammoth contract with Warriors

The NBA’s free agency period officially began Friday night at 12:01 a.m. and the Warriors instantly made headlines by signing their star player to the largest contract in NBA history.

After playing with a very franchise-friendly four-year, $44 million contract, point guard and 3-pointer machine Steph Curry signing a deal Friday which will net him $201 million over the next five years.

These totals make him the highest paid athlete per year in North America right now in addition to being the highest paid player in the NBA, beating out LeBron James by about $7 million in that department.

It should come as no surprise that the Warriors were willing to give Curry the money considering the tear he has been on for the past three years.

Curry has become one of the most dominant offensive weapons in basketball, hitting an astonishing 1,012 3-pointer since 2014 and leading the Warriors to two NBA championships in the last three years.

Curry also garnered two MVPs in that time including becoming the first-ever unanimous MVP in 2016.

Granted, Curry is not the only one who deserves credit for the Warriors’ success. Klay Thompson has been almost as proficient from behind the arc, Draymond Green has become a defensive force who can also punish people inside and players like Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston have provided valuable veteran experience on the court.

The addition of Kevin Durant during the 2016 offseason transformed the Warriors from one of the top teams in the league to a dominant team which ran over everyone en route to the 2017 NBA championship.

However, Curry is the man through which the offense runs through and it is his combination of deadliness from long-range and dangerous passing acumen which has helped turn the Warriors into one of the best teams in basketball for the past three years.

Now the Warriors still have some decisions to make in free agency with the next focus likely on Durant, who declined his player option for next season to structure a favorable deal which will benefit the Warriors in free agency.

Iguodala also sits on the free agency bubble as another member of the Warriors core, but it is hard to see him going anywhere else and he will likely take a veteran discount to stay with the Warriors.

Livingston was another question mark for the Warriors going into free agency, but a three-year, $24 million deal was reported Friday which will keep him around as another versatile option for them.

Assuming these deals go through, the Warriors will return to the court in 2017 with all of their pieces intact and seemingly set for a third title in four years unless another team finds a way to match them from a pure talent perspective.

Curry’s payday is well-deserved given what he has done for the Warriors during his career and it sets up the Warriors to continue their stay at the top of the NBA pecking order.

Predicting the Super Bowl

The biggest day on the NFL calendar will finally arrive Sunday as the Atlanta Falcons will hope to finish off their long-awaited championship run against a Patriots team led by a quarterback hoping to make history.

Without further ado, let’s get into this week’s Super Bowl matchup with my thoughts on how the game will go.

Falcons over Patriots

 

The Falcons certainly seemed like a long shot to be in this position going into the season. While the Falcons offense has certainly been something to fear, their defense has always been looked at as a major flaw.

While their defense is still a bit of an issue sometimes, that unit has been able to make some key plays when it has mattered and the offense has been stellar as ever with the addition of Mohammed Sanu and Tevin Coleman improving an already impressive unit.

The Patriots, meanwhile, were also one of the top-scoring offenses in the NFL this season despite missing quarterback Tom Brady for the first four games of the season due to suspension.

The Patriots also allowed the fewest points in the NFL this season, though that statistic is slightly misleading because the Patriots never really played a top defense, especially not one on the level of the Falcons.

Early speculation has this potentially being the highest scoring Super Bowl of all time given the teams involved, but I could also see both defense putting in solid efforts.

This is a game I could see going either way and I would not be surprised to see a Patriots win, but I just don’t know how the Patriots will be able to slow down the Falcons.

The Falcons have five different dangerous weapons on the field at any given moment and you can’t focus on one without opening up another.

I think the Falcons complete their remarkable season by bringing a Super Bowl win to Atlanta for the first time and Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will have to wait at least a little longer for a fifth ring.

Falcons 31, Patriots 27

Conference Championship: 2-0

Playoffs: 7-3

Overall: 163-101-2

Predicting the conference championships of the NFL playoffs

Hello and welcome back to The Cowan Corner for another week of NFL picks and predictions.

We are down to the final four teams as we have four really good to great offenses and no great defenses remaining in the hunt, which is rather unusual.

This means we could be set for a high-scoring slate of games Sunday as the teams fight to make the final push to the Super Bowl.

Without further ado, let’s get into this week’s picks.

Falcons over Packers

The Packers enter this game on an eight-game winning streak and just knocked off the No. 1 seed Dallas Cowboys.

The Falcons have had a fantastic year on the offensive side of the ball and were able to easily beat the Seahawks on Sunday.

Aaron Rodgers is playing on another level right now and is unquestionably the best quarterback in football, but I think Matt Ryan has more weapons around him.

I think this will be a very exciting shootout and the Falcons will do just enough to win at home.

Patriots over Steelers

The Steelers are on a nine-game winning streak of their own, but they face a Patriots team which has won eight straight games and just dropped 34 points on one of the best defenses in the NFL.

This game has the potential to be close, but I think the Patriots will be motivated to win at all costs and should be able to do so fairly easily.

This should set up an interesting matchup between the Falcons and Patriots in the Super Bowl.

That does it for this week’s picks. Check back in two weeks for Super Bowl predictions and analysis of the week that was in football.

Divisional Round: 3-1

Overall: 161-101-2