Predicting Week 4 of the NFL season

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

It’s been an up-and-down year for me so far with the picks, but I see quite a few games this week that I am very confident about.

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

Bengals over Dolphins

I am currently 0-3 picking Thursday night games this season, but I feel pretty certain about this one.

The Dolphins have been very hit-and-miss so far this season and I feel like the Bengals will pull out all the stops to avoid a dangerous 1-3 start.

Colts over Jaguars

The AFC South is in very rough shape right now. The Jaguars are on pace for another sub-.500 season, the Texans will be without the best defensive player in the NFL and both the Colts and Titans feel extremely erratic and untrustworthy so far this season.

I could see the winner of this division being 9-7 at best. With that being said, I think the Colts are better and need to win games like this to have a shot at the playoffs.

Texans over Titans

Now we move on to the other half of the division. It is unclear exactly how much the loss of JJ Watt will affect the Houston defensive unit.

However, I still expect a Texans win here at home to maintain control of the division, especially after being embarrassed last Thursday against the Patriots.

Redskins over Browns

There’s still some life in the Redskins after beating the Giants last week. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of the Browns.

Just think, the Browns could have had Carson Wentz as the quarterback of the future, but decided Robert Griffin III was  a better option. Now, they still don’t have a quarterback and Wentz is tearing it up in Philadelphia.

Seahawks over Jets

Just when you think the Seahawks may not be as good as people thought, they blow the doors off the 49ers.

On the other hand, the Jets can’t really be trusted with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center which was made even more evident by his incredible six-pick performance on Sunday.

Patriots over Bills

This pick is being made under the assumption that Jimmy Garoppolo will be the starter Sunday. Even if he’s not, the Patriots will still find a way to win because Bill Belichick has consistently owned Buffalo.

Panthers over Falcons

Who would have thought the Falcons would be the team above .500 coming into this game? Unfortunately for Falcons fans, it won’t last long because the Panthers have the clear advantage in this game on both sides of the ball.

Raiders over Ravens

Do not let the Ravens 3-0 record fool you. They have played the Bills, Browns and Jaguars to open up the season and have won each of those games against weak opponents by less than a touchdown.

I am going with the Raiders to get the slight upset on the road here based on the weak schedule Baltimore has gotten so far.

Lions over Bears

Do I have to pick a winner here? This game will go a long way towards determining who finishes third in the NFC North this season.

I will pick against the Bears since they might be the worst team in football right now.

Broncos over Buccaneers

Trevor Siemian has proven he belongs as a starter in the NFL and he should have no problem cutting through a Buccaneers defense that just gave up 37 points to the Rams.

Cardinals over Rams

I guess the Cardinals aren’t as good as we thought they were after getting blown out by Buffalo Sunday. I still expect them to get back on track here against the Rams.

Chargers over Saints

It says a lot about the Chargers that two of their best players are out for the season with torn ACLs and they still nearly beat the Colts Sunday.

I think they will torch a bad Saints defense here and improve to 2-2 as the Saints remain winless thus far.

Cowboys over 49ers

Rookie Dak Prescott has given Cowboys fans plenty to be excited about even as Tony Romo continues to stay on the sidelines with various injuries.

The Cowboys will have more to be happy about this week when they win and improve to 3-1 on the season.

Steelers over Chiefs

This should be an interesting game to watch, especially with the return of Jamaal Charles to the field for the Chiefs.

I expect a close game, but the Steelers will edge it out.

Vikings over Giants

It’s a bit of a cliche in sports that defense wins championships. The Vikings will put that to the test this season as their stellar defense will have to carry the load with Adrian Peterson out for the year and Sam Bradford playing quarterback.

Time will tell if that is a formula which can work this season, but I expect it to continue to work here as they improve to 4-0.

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: 7-9

Overall: 28-20

Predicting Week 3 of the NFL season

Welcome back to the Cowan Corner for another round of NFL picks and predictions.

Last week, I missed big on some games, but was still able to salvage a 9-7 record. Now, we move on to Week 3 which is typically the point at which the true contenders begin to separate themselves from the pack.

Let’s get into this week’s picks.

Texans over Patriots

With the suprisingly good Jimmy Garoppolo potentially out for the game, I have to go with the Texans tough defense to dominate this Thursday night game.

Then again, I am 0-2 so far on Thursday nights this season so who knows what’s going to happen.

Cardinals over Bills

The Cardinals bounced back from a disappointing opening game to trounce the Buccaneers and they should get above .500 this week.

The Bills are a bit of a mess and I would not be surprised if Rex Ryan was fired by the end of the season.

Raiders over Titans

There is no home field advantage for the Titans these days as they went 1-7 at home in 2015 and 2014. The Raiders were disappointing last week against the Falcons, but look for them to get back on track here.

Dolphins over Browns

It’s amazing how the Browns keep fighting ways to make their fans suffer. For a while against the Ravens Sunday, it looked like the Browns might actually have a competent team.

However, reality set in as the Browns blew a 20-point lead and lost. Now, they have to play a Dolphins team which hasn’t looked bad thus far and 0-3 seems like a virtual certainty.

Ravens over Jaguars

I don’t really know what to make of either of these teams so far this season. However. I think the Ravens are better overall which is why I am taking them.

Packers over Lions

The Packers have won seven of their last 10 games against the Lions and I expect that trend to continue.

The Packers were slowed down by the Vikings defense last week, but I put more of that on how good the Vikings defense is than anything.

Bengals over Broncos

I wish Demarcus Ware a smooth and speedy recovery after suffering a fractured forearm Sunday. Ware is a fantastic defensive player and he will be sorely missed by the Broncos.

However, the Bengals will not miss him being out there and should ride their solid units on both sides of the ball to victory.

Panthers over Vikings

Without Adrian Peterson, the Vikings will need their defense to continue performing at a high level and will also need Sam Bradford to be a leader on offense.

I expect this game to be close, but the Panthers are the more well-rounded team and should win here.

Giants over Redskins

Remember when people were saying the Redskins are definitely a playoff team this year? Now they are 0-2 and have looked very disappointing in their losses.

The Giants, meanwhile, have looked very strong and the upgrades they made to their defense look like they are paying off. I expect both trends to continue here.

Buccaneers over Rams

The Buccaneers actually looked like a decent sleeper team before Doug Martin went down with an injury which will keep him out for three weeks. Despite that loss, I will still take the Buccaneers because the Rams still seem like a mess despite their shocking win over the Seahawks.

Seahawks over 49ers

Speaking of which, what happened to the Seahawks? They were supposed to be a Super Bowl contender and now they are 1-1 to start the year and have scored a combined 15 points in those games.

The offense has looked disappointing to say the least and will need to vastly improve for the team to have any shot of making it to the playoffs.

Jets over Chiefs

I think both of these teams are fringe playoff contenders and this game could have a major impact on the final standings come January.

I will take the Jets on the road, primarily because I have been more impressed with them overall to this point.

Colts over Chargers

In two weeks the Chargers have lost two of their best offensive weapons to ACL tears. First, Keenan Allen went down in Week 1 and then Sunday it was Danny Woodhead.

Without those two, it will be tough for Philip Rivers to get a good offense going for the season and I think the Colts will win here easily.

Steelers over Eagles

This will be the first true test of Carson Wentz and his ability to play quarterback in the NFL after torching the Browns and Bears to start his career.

This game should be a close one, but it will be difficult for the Eagles to keep pace with the offense of the Steelers.

Cowboys over Bears

There is no way I am picking this horrible Bears team over a Cowboys team which has looked pretty decent so far.

It really doesn’t help that Jay Cutler, average as he is, will likely not be playing and Chicago’s hopes will rest on Brian Hoyer under center.

Saints over Falcons

I expect this to be a fast-paced, high scoring shootout which will make for entertaining television even if neither team has much hope of making the playoffs.

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: 9-7

Overall: 21-11

Predicting Week 2 of the NFL season

Welcome back to the Cowan Corner for another week of NFL picks and predictions.

Week 1 of the NFL season was crazy with four different games decided by a single point. Now, Week 2 is here and brings some more interesting matchups including our first division games of the season.

Without further ado, let’s get into the picks beginning with the Thursday night game.

Jets over Bills

The Jets had an impressive game to open the season against the Bengals and might have won were it not for a missed extra point by kicker Nick Folk early in the game.

That missed kick and a blocked field goal prior to that would cost the Jets dearly, but they should put the loss behind them with a win on the road against a struggling Bills team.

Panthers over 49ers

The 49ers surprised a lot of people, including myself, with their performance Monday against the Rams. However, they did a similar thing last year to open up the season against the Vikings and promptly had a terrible season.

I think the Panthers will get back on track after a disappointing loss to the Broncos to open up the season.

Redskins over Cowboys

I think the Redskins are just the better team here and at this point I trust Kirk Cousins as a quarterback more than I do Dak Prescott.

Bengals over Steelers

I’m admittedly very biased here, but I am going with the Bengals all the way here.

Giants over Saints

The last time these two teams met, there were a combined 91 points. I doubt there will be nearly that many this time, but the Giants should put up a lot against a Saints defense which will greatly miss cornerback Delvin Breaux.

Patriots over Dolphins

I don’t know which was more shocking in Week 1, Jimmy Garoppolo leading the Patriots to a win over the Cardinals without Rob Gronkowski or the Dolphins playing down to the wire with the Seahawks.

This game has potential to be interesting, but I highly doubt the Patriots will lose here.

Texans over Chiefs

Both of these teams have top-notch defense, but I will give the slight edge to the Texans. I just don’t trust the Chiefs because their comeback last week was impressive, but it also meant they fell far behind a bad Chargers team.

Lions over Titans

I don’t know what to think of either of these teams yet. However, the Lions looked like the much more impressive team this week in their victory over the Colts so I will go with them.

Ravens over Browns

Poor Browns fans. In the offseason, the Browns traded away a chance to pick Carson Wentz with the second overall pick, only to watch Wentz decimate their defense in his first career NFL game.

To top it off, Robert Griffin III suffered a shoulder injury and will miss the rest of the season. On the bright side, Browns fans can look forward to another high draft pick which will probably end up going to waste yet again.

Seahawks over Rams

Here’s a startling stat I read yesterday: a team coached by Jeff Fisher has not been over .500 since 2008. That’s eight years and counting of mediocrity and yet Fisher has had no trouble keeping a job in the NFL.

Unfortunately for Rams fans, the team’s debut in Los Angeles will likely not be a fun one as the Seahawks are looking to prove themselves after barely escaping with a victory against the Dolphins.

Cardinals over Buccaneers

The Cardinals loss to the Patriots Sunday was stunning and has shed some doubt about the chance of the Cardinals contending. However, I think they will right the ship for now.

I expect this to be a close game, but the Cardinals come away with the win.

Jaguars over Chargers

Look out, here come the Jaguars! Jacksonville fans have a lot to be excited about after their team came very close to beating the Packers in the first game of the season.

The Chargers, meanwhile, suffered a devastating defeat and are likely already dead in the water. Easy pick for me here.

Raiders over Falcons

I really enjoy watching the Raiders play and I think they will continue to be entertaining here in a very one-sided game.

Broncos over Colts

I think Andrew Luck is good for a few turnover against the Broncos defense and Trevor Siemen actually looked pretty good to start off the season.

The Broncos will need all the wins they can get to keep pace with the Chiefs and Raiders so I am going with them here.

Packers over Vikings

The Vikings put on a defensive clinic against the Titans, but the Packers should be a different story altogether.

If my options are choosing Aaron Rodgers or Shaun Hill, then my choice is incredibly easy.

Eagles over Bears

We’re 3-for-3 in unexciting Monday night games to start the season. I will probably tune in just to see how Wentz does in his second start. Otherwise, not much to see 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 1: 12-4

Overall: 12-4

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 who might be new to the column, I finished last year’s regular season at 156-100, but sputtered in the playoffs with a 3-8 record. Here’s hoping I can regain my momentum with a new season upon us.

The opening week of the NFL season usually yields interesting matchups as teams look to establish themselves as contenders early. Without further ado, let’s get into this week’s picks.

Panthers over Broncos

Leading off the 2016 season is the game which ended last season as a Super Bowl rematch headlines the first Thursday night game of the year.

The Broncos had one of the best defense in football history last year and that defense dominated the Super Bowl. However, the Broncos are a very different team this year on both sides of the ball.

Their defense will still be pretty good, but the Panthers have a huge edge on the offensive side of things with Cam Newton under center.

Packers over Jaguars

The Packers have been one of the best teams in the NFL for a while now and they face off with a young, but talented Jaguars team to start off the season.

I think the Jaguars could keep it close, but Aaron Rodgers and his team will come out victorious.

Ravens over Bills

Neither of these teams really has the making of a contender this season, but the Bills are in especially rough shape with the injuries and suspensions they are currently dealing with.

The Ravens are hard to beat at home and should pick up a victory to open the season here.

Texans over Bears

JJ Watt is expected to be back in action after sitting out the preseason following back surgery. Watt is one of several quality defenders for Houston and the defense of the Texans should decimate the Bears.

Eagles over Browns

RG3 is not the answer in Cleveland and he will be the latest in an unbelievably long list of bad Browns quarterbacks since 1999.

Eagles rookie Carson Wentz is an unproven commodity in the NFL at quarterback, but I’ll take that over Griffin and the Browns.

Buccaneers over Falcons

This was a coin-flip game for me as I really don’t see either team being very good, but I had to choose someone.

I will go with the Buccaneers who did show some promise over the course of last season.

Vikings over Titans

The injury to Teddy Bridgewater was a devastating one to the Vikings franchise, but the front office in Minnesota is hoping the addition of Sam Bradford will alleviate that issue for now.

I don’t think much of Bradford as an NFL quarterback, but the Vikings are still a better team than the Titans in just about every aspect so that makes my choice easy.

Bengals over Jets

This should be a very entertaining game as both teams are strong on both sides of the ball. The matchup to watch will likely be AJ Green going up against Darrelle Revis and I will give the slight edge to Green and the Bengals here.

Raiders over Saints

The Raiders were a team I greatly enjoyed watching last season and they should be entertaining again this year led by a young core of Khalil Mack, Derek Carr and Amari Cooper.

This game should be a high-scoring one, but I think the Raiders will have an edge with their defensive front.

Chiefs over Chargers

The Chiefs are a very good home team and should continue that trend as they open their season against a division rival.

The Chiefs are also on a four-game winning streak against the Chargers and I expect that trend to continue.

Seahawks over Dolphins

The Seahawks are still one of the best teams in the NFC and should open up their season with a big win at home against a Dolphins team which is somewhere in the middle of the AFC.

Colts over Lions

Injury or not, Andrew Luck was bad last season and will need to improve for the Colts to have any hope of a playoff berth.

However, the Lions are a bit of a mess per usual and the loss of Calvin Johnson to retirement will only increase their woes this season.

Giants over Cowboys

The injury to Tony Romo has forced rookie Dak Prescott into a rushed starting role and he will be joined by fellow rookie Ezekiel Elliot in the backfield.

Unfortunately for Cowboys fans, I doubt the young backfield will lead to success especially against a Giants team which spent a ton of money to improve their defensive unit.

Cardinals over Patriots

If Tom Brady was starting, I would have gone the other way here. Without Brady, there is no way I can pick the Patriots to put up enough points to beat a very well-rounded Cardinals team.

On the bright side, Patriots fans will get a chance to see if Jimmy Garoppolo has a future in the league.

Steelers over Redskins

The first of two Monday night games for this week brings us quite the mismatch. Even without suspended playmakers Le’Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant, the Steelers should win this game easily.

Rams over 49ers

Who is choosing these Monday night games? This is another mismatch and one that doesn’t really make a lot of sense unless the Rams were making their Los Angeles debut.

However, this game will instead be played in San Francisco and should be another lopsided affair to close out the game.

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.