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.