Hello and welcome back to The Cowan Corner for another week of NFL picks and predictions.
The final week of the NFL season is upon us and all but two of the playoff spots have been clinched, though the exact seeding in each conference is not locked in yet.
With all 16 games being played on Sunday, it will be interesting to see how the final playoff picture works out.
Bengals over Ravens
Neither of these teams has anything to play for, but it should still be a competitive division game.
These two teams always seem to play each other close, but I will give the edge to the Bengals playing at home.
Texans over Titans
The season-ending injury to Marcus Mariota killed any chance of the Titans making a playoff run and this game now means nothing for either team.
I will go with the Texans because I can’t see Matt Cassel doing much against their stout defense.
Buccaneers over Panthers
The Buccaneers need about eight different things to go their way this week to make the playoffs including needing a tie between the Redskins and Giants. Something tells me that won’s happen, but they will at least get one more win to close out the season.
Colts over Jaguars
Neither of these teams has had a good year and this game means absolutely nothing. I will say the Colts should win because the Jaguars are bad.
Patriots over Dolphins
The Patriots should easily get the No. 1 seed with Derek Carr out for the Raiders. This game does matter for the Patriots so I think they will take care of business.
Vikings over Bears
The Bears were expected to be terrible, but the Vikings have been truly disappointing after a hot start to the year.
After Matt Barkley’s five-interception performance last week, I don’t give the Bears much of a chance this week.
Bills over Jets
The Bills made the right move in disposing of Rex Ryan who has not been good the last few years as head coach.
I think they will do fairly well this week against a poor Jets team.
Cowboys over Eagles
This will be an unpopular opinion, but I think Tony Romo should start this game. The Cowboys have already clinched homefield advantage and it would be good to get Romo reps in case of the worst-case scenario.
Either way, I think the Cowboys will win this one pretty handily.
Steelers over Browns
The Browns actually have a credible chance due to the Steelers resting Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown this week.
However, I think the Steelers backups will still be able to win this game at home.
Falcons over Saints
This is yet another game which doesn’t mean anything for either team. I will take the playoff bound Falcons to win at home despite the best efforts of Drew Brees who has had a phenomenal season.
Redskins over Giants
The Redskins can guarantee a wild-card berth with a win while the Giants are locked into the five-seed.
The Redskins should win at home with their season on the line.
Cardinals over Rams
The Rams are just awful to watch and I can’t ever choose them to win no matter who they play.
Broncos over Raiders
I really feel for Raiders fans. Not only is the team moving away from Oakland where they have a loyal following, but the injury to Derek Carr pretty much ended any chance they had of making a Super Bowl run this season.
Khalil Mack will need to put up monster numbers for the Raiders to make any moves in the playoffs and I just don’t see it happening with Matt McGloin taking over under center.
Chiefs over Chargers
The Chiefs benefited the most from the Carr injury as they win the AFC West with a win and a Raiders loss.
I see that happening as the Chiefs jump into the No. 2 seed in the AFC.
Seahawks over 49ers
This should be a fairly lopsided game with a clear difference in skill between the two squads.
The Seahawks should win fairly easily by my estimation.
Lions over Packers
This game is for the NFC North and will determine the final playoff team for the season.
The Packers have been on a big hot streak, but I think the Lions will throw the kitchen sink at them in an attempt to win. I think it will be close, but the Lions will surprise many by winning the game and the division.
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 16: 8-8