Predicting Week 12 of the NFL season

By Sam Cowan

It’s that time of year in the NFL. Thanksgiving week marks the end of bye weeks, but also brings us three Thursday games to look forward to.

One particular game on the Thursday schedule has plenty of intrigue with the 10-0 Panthers clashing with the Tony Romo-led Cowboys. The other Thursday games have the potential to impact the current divisional races.

More importantly, December is right around the corner and serves as the true proving ground for playoff hopefuls. With that said, let’s move on to this week’s NFL picks.

Eagles over Lions

I don’t think either of these teams are very good. The tipping point for me was that the Eagles have much more to play for with the division race still very much in question.

Cowboys over Panthers

I’m going with the upset pick here. Tony Romo is 3-0 as a starter this season and the Cowboys have the benefit of playing the Panthers on a short week.

It will be a close game, but the Cowboys should come out on top here.

Packers over Bears

As the weather gets colder, the Packers get better. I don’t think that will change much against an average Bears team.

Raiders over Titans

The Titans have only won this season when Marcus Mariota throws four touchdowns and no interceptions in a game. I don’t think that will be happening this week.

Chiefs over Bills

Both teams need a win to move above .500 for this season and I believe they are fairly evenly matched. I will give the nod to the home team here.

Colts over Buccaneers

Matt Hasselbeck has played better this season than Andrew Luck. That is something which cannot be argued statistically right now.

The only question is how long can Hasselbeck play at his current level? I think it lasts at least one more week.

Giants over Redskins

The wacky ride that is the NFC East continues. I think the Giants will win this game even on the road.

Texans over Saints

JJ Watt has played at another level the past several weeks. There is no reason to think that won’t continue and the Saints should still be in turmoil after firing Rob Ryan as a defensive coordinator.

Vikings over Falcons

The Falcons are not a very good football team. This week’s game should do nothing to change my opinion.

Bengals over Rams

The Bengals will get back on the winning track with a home game against a very beatable Rams team.

Jaguars over Chargers

The Chargers might not win another game because of a combination of injuries and having no home field advantage. Meanwhile, the Jaguars are legitimate division contenders in the AFC South right now.

Jets over Dolphins

I think the loser of this game can be safely written off for the playoffs this season. Unfortunately for Miami fans, I think the Dolphins will draw the short end of the stick in New York.

Cardinals over 49ers

Even at home, Blaine Gabbert is not going to win you all that many games as a starter. Especially not against the Cardinals who are one of the favorites to win the NFC this season.

Seahawks over Steelers

I see this being a big game for both teams. Given the Seahawks are at home and are further back in their division, I have to go with them to pick up a win.

Broncos over Patriots

The Patriots have looked vulnerable the last couple weeks. I think that combined with the recent Patriots injuries and the stifling defense of the Broncos is why I have the Broncos winning in Denver.

Ravens over Browns

Johnny Manziel never had the chance to win a game as a starter. Granted he never played well enough to deserve a win. I think his recent demotion to third string on the Browns is the final nail in the coffin for his career.

That is all for this week’s picks. Come back next week for more picks and analysis of the weeks that was in the NFL here at the Cowan Corner.

Week 11: 7-7

Overall: 98-62

Predicting Week 11 of the NFL season

By Sam Cowan

After nine straight weeks of picking above .500, I was bound to slip up at some point.

However, the way I did it was surprising. If it wasn’t for a late holding call on the Cowboys and a 54-yard field goal by the Patriots, I would have picked just two of the 14 games last week correctly.

As it was, I finished a disappointing 4-10 for the week. Now, I have to move on and see if I can get back to playing above .500 from week-to-week.

With that said, let’s move on to this week’s picks beginning with a real snoozer of a Thursday night game.

Jaguars over Titans

The Jaguars came up with one of the surprising comebacks of the year on Sunday and they might actually be a decent team.

I don’t see the Titans giving them much trouble here.

Raiders over Lions

Are the Raiders a good team? I would have said yes after they dominated the Jets and Chargers, but then they blew games against the Steelers and Vikings.

If the Raiders want to be taken seriously, they need to win this game and I think they will.

Falcons over Colts

It will be interesting to see if the Colts’ offense performs better with Matt Hasselbeck at the helm. Regardless, I think the Falcons take care of business at home.

Jets over Texans

Jets get the win here because they need it more right now. As sad as it is to say, 4-6 will be enough to keep the Texans in first place within the AFC South.

Buccaneers over Eagles

I think Sam Bradford won’t be playing in this game due to his shoulder injury. The lack of a quality quarterback and the general skill the Buccaneers have demonstrated have me leaning towards the Buccaneers.

Bears over Broncos

I will admit I misjudged the Bears. Going into the year, I thought they had the makings of a bottom five team, but they have actually displayed some quality play.

I also don’t trust Brock Osweiler enough to pick the Broncos in this situation.

Rams over Ravens

The season from hell will continue for the Ravens.

Dolphins over Cowboys

I think it’s a mistake for Tony Romo to come back. The Cowboys have almost no shot at the playoffs and the risk of injury is too high.

I don’t even think Romo’s return will be enough to give the Cowboys a win here.

Panthers over Redskins

Another week, another Panthers win against a mediocre to average opponent. At this point, their grip on the division title is strong and it will be interesting to see what team can knock them off first.

Chiefs over Chargers

Look out; the Chiefs still might win the west. After a 1-5 start, the Chiefs have rattled off three straight wins and an injury to Peyton Manning has opened the door for a playoff appearance.

Vikings over Packers

I think the Vikings might be legitimate contender for the Super Bowl. They can run or pass and Mike Zimmer has built an incredible defense this season.

On the other hand, the Packers have lost three straight games and will now have to fight for a spot in the crowded NFC playoff picture.

Seahawks over 49ers

Where is the Legion of Boom? They didn’t show up Sunday night against Arizona and they will need to make more appearance this season for the Seahawks to make it into the playoffs.

Cardinals over Bengals

This pick is not being made because of the Bengals primetime record. This pick is being made because I think both teams are on equal ground. This gives the Cardinals an edge playing at home.

Patriots over Bills

Tom Brady is 24-3 for his career against the Bills and the Patriots already won in Buffalo. This was an easy choice to close out the week.

Come back next week for more picks and analysis of what is going on in the NFL here at the Cowan Corner.

Week 10: 4-10

Overall: 91-55

Predicting Week 10 of the NFL season

By Sam Cowan

With every passing week, the question is asked again and again.

Will any team finish this season undefeated? The Broncos dropped from the race with a disappointing loss to the Colts and we are now left with three teams.

I don’t think the Patriots are much of a surprise to be at the top of the AFC this season, but the Bengals and Panthers were both big surprises.

This is the first time in NFL history three teams have started 8-0, but I still don’t think we will have an undefeated team when the Lombardi Trophy is raised in February. In 37 years of 16-game seasons, a perfect 19-0 season has never happened and I don’t expect that to change.

Whether or not they fall this week or somewhere down the line, all three team will stumble. It’s just a matter of time.

With that, let’s go to the picks for Week 10.

Jets over Bills

I’ll give the nod to the home team here based on their incredible defense. The Jets also need a win to establish themselves as a wild-card favorite in the AFC.

Packers over Lions

The Packers find themselves in a division race with the charging Vikings all of a sudden because of their two straight losses. The race for the NFC South could very well be decided in the two games the teams have left to play.

I expect the Packers to take care of business this week.

Buccaneers over Cowboys

At this point, Tony Romo won’t be coming back soon enough to salvage the Cowboys’ season. It might be in their best interest to shut Romo down and go for a high draft pick to make a run next year.

Panthers over Titans

The train keeps on rolling for Cam Newton and the Panthers.

Rams over Bears

The Rams continue to look frisky as a potential wild-card team. It will be very interesting to see how the playoff race in the NFC West unfolds.

Saints over Redskins

This is a must-win game for the Saints and so I have to go with them even on the road.

Eagles over Dolphins

The wacky NFC East continues as the Eagles and Giants have emerged as the front-runners. Eagles have a great chance to pick up some ground with a home game against the struggling Dolphins.

Steelers over Browns

Even with Landry Jones starting for the Steelers, I can’t pick the Browns to win in Pittsburgh.

Ravens over Jaguars

The Ravens are another team playing with their season on the line this week. I think Joe Flacco will come through with enough to beat the Jaguars and temporarily keep their playoff hopes afloat.

Raiders over Vikings

Both of these teams have been pleasant surprises this season. I’ll take the Raiders because they are playing at home and Teddy Bridgewater might be missing for the Vikings.

Patriots over Giants

I considered this game for a long time because Eli Manning seems to always have the Patriots number. However, this Giants team is not good enough to beat the Patriots.

Broncos over Chiefs

Peyton Manning will break the passing yards record this week guaranteed. Other than that historical note, I predict the Broncos to walk all over the Chiefs this week.

Seahawks over Cardinals

This is a big game for both teams and could go a long way in determining who wins the NFC West. I have to with the Seahawks because they are more desperate to prove they are still championship contenders.

Bengals over Texans

The Bengals took care of business against the Browns on Thursday and the Texans are not much better, if at all. I’ll take the Bengals to improve to 9-0 to wrap up the week.

With that, we conclude another week of picks. Come back next time for more discussion, analysis and picks for the NFL here at the Cowan Corner.

Week 9: 9-4

Overall: 87-45

Predicting Week 9 of the NFL season

By Sam Cowan

Last week was yet another successful one for my picks column as I went 11-3. Here’s hoping that my string of weeks above .500 will continue with an intriguing Week 9 upcoming.

Here are my picks for the week beginning with one of the four unbeaten teams in action on Thursday.

Bengals over Browns

This is the first of three straight prime time games for the Bengals. I had this penciled in as a win for the Bengals before Joe Haden and Josh McCown were ruled out.

Now, I think a win is certain, especially in Cincinnati.

Panthers over Packers

On Sunday, we learned that Aaron Rodgers is human and can have bad games at quarterback now and again. This is a huge test for the Panthers to find out if they are real contenders.

I think Carolina comes through with a big win at home.

Patriots over Redskins

The Patriots train will keep on rolling here. If this game is even close, I will be shocked.

Saints over Titans

Drew Brees found the fountain of youth at some point this season and he gets the benefit of playing a terrible Titans team this week.

Bills over Dolphins

This is a must-win game for both teams. I have the Bills winning because the Dolphins are a mirage with their blowout wins over the awful Titans and Texans.

Vikings over Rams

The Vikings might be the best team no one is talking about. This game should be a close one, but the Vikings should come out on top.

Jets over Jaguars

The Raiders’ dismantling of the Jets last week was startling to see, but I think Todd Bowles will right the ship in this game.

Raiders over Steelers

Speaking of the Raiders, they look like a bonafide playoff contender and get to play an injury-addled Steelers team this week.

Giants over Buccaneers

It must stink to lose a game in which you scored 49 points like the Giants did last week. However, I expect Eli Manning and company to take care of business this week.

Falcons over 49ers

I think the Falcons are another mirage team that is not as good as their record implies, but I can’t pick a team that has Blaine Gabbert under center.

Broncos over Colts

We’ve never had four 7-0 teams in a single season prior to this one. I think after this week we’ll have four 8-0 teams.

This game could be historically important because Peyton Manning can break Brett Favre’s record for career passing yards.

Eagles over Cowboys

Good news for Cowboys fans is Tony Romo should be back in a few weeks. That will be the only good news for them this week.

Bears over Chargers

The Chargers’ terribly disappointing season will continue with another prime time loss at home. On the bright side, they might be in Los Angeles soon.

That will do it in for this week’s picks. Come back next week for more thoughts on what is happening and what is to come in the NFL here at the Cowan Corner.

Week 8: 11-3

Overall: 78-41