Predicting Week 13 of the NFL season

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

With December officially upon us, the NFL has hit its homestretch with each team having just five games left to play. Most playoff spots are very much up in the air, but performances this week could effect a lot of the playoff picture.

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

Cowboys over Redskins

This Thursday night game probably looked a lot more appealing before the season, but now both these teams seem dead in the water.

I think this will be a close game, but the Cowboys won in Washington earlier this season so I will pick them to win again here.

Vikings over Falcons

This is probably the best game of the week and could mean big things long-term in the NFC. The Vikings have pretty much locked up their division while the Falcons are a game back in theirs and in position for a wild-card spot.

I think the defense of the Vikings will be able to cause problems for the Falcons this season which will allow the Vikings to win a close game.

Patriots over Bills

A win by the Patriots would pretty much end any hope of the Bills catching them in the division and I see that happening here, though I think it will be closer than people think.

I just don’t think the Bills can match up with the Patriots on offense well enough to claim a win.

Bears over 49ers

I thought about this one for a surprising amount of time given the terribleness of the teams involved, but it is more difficult to pick with Jimmy Garoppolo taking over quarterbacking duties in San Francisco.

I think Garoppolo will lead to a more effective 49ers offense, but I think the Bears will be able to pull this one out at home after being embarrassed by the Eagles last week.

Packers over Buccanneers

Jameis Winston will be back for the Buccaneers this week and I don’t think it will make a difference at all because there is frankly very little difference in quality between Winston and backup Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Both of these teams are bad, but the Packers at least showed flashes of promise with their close loss to the Steelers Sunday night.

Titans over Texans

The Titans are in full control of their playoff destiny as they hold the top spot in their division and a tiebreaker over the Jaguars with five weeks to go.

I think the Titans will stay at the top of their division with a home win over a Texans team which is lost without Deshaun Watson.

Dolphins over Broncos

There are no winners in this game, but if pressed to pick one, I will go with the Dolphins.

The Broncos are just an utter mess which is not helped by the fact that all of their quarterbacks are dreadful. The team is in need of a complete reboot at that position if they want to be competitive in the seasons ahead.

Jets over Chiefs

Speaking of utter messes, the Chiefs have gone from apparent Super Bowl-contender to looking like they may not even be good enough to make the playoffs.

Unfortunately for Chiefs fans, I don’t think things will get any better this week as I think the Jets will be able to sneak away with an upset win to bring the Chiefs down to 6-6.

Jaguars over Colts

After a bad loss to the Cardinals on the road last week, the Jaguars need to turn things around this week to keep pace with the Titans in the division.

Luckily for them, the Colts are terrible and should be easy picking for their defense.

Lions over Ravens

The Ravens may be 6-5 right now, but don’t be fooled, they are not a good team. Joe Flacco has become one of the most unreliable quarterbacks in the game and their offense is almost nonexistent as a result.

I think the Lions will get a slight upset win here to get to 7-5 and send the Ravens to 6-6 this season.

Chargers over Browns

The Browns got their only win of 2016 on Christmas Eve against the Chargers and now these teams rematch with the Browns once again winless going in.

Unfortunately for Browns fans, I don’t think lightning will strike twice as the Chargers are playing good football right now while the Browns can’t seem to do anything right.

Raiders over Giants

I would like to say that benching Eli Manning is one of the most ridiculous decisions I have seen this season considering who his replacement is.

While Manning hasn’t exactly set the world on fire with his play as of late, you cannot honestly tell me that Geno Smith will do any better than a man who brought New York two Super Bowls.

The move strikes me as one of desperation for Ben McAdoo who will be out the door soon after a terrible stint as head coach. With that being said, I expect the Raiders to walk all over Smith and the Giants this week.

Saints over Panthers

This is a game with major playoff implication as both teams sit at the top of the NFC South with identical 8-3 records.

The Saints won the last game against the Panthers by a score of 34-13 and I am expecting a similar result this week with the return of Marshon Lattimore to the field.

Rams over Cardinals

The Rams picked up a convincing win against the Saints last week as they thoroughly controlled the game on both sides of the ball.

While the Cardinals have done a good job hanging around with a weak roster, I think they will be knocked down hard this week by a Rams team which is hitting their stride.

Eagles over Seahawks

The Seahawks were dealt a heavy blow by a season-ending injury to Kam Chancellor Sunday which, combined with the injury to Richard Sherman a few weeks ago, erases a sizable portion of the Legion of Boom.

Now, the Seahawks will face Carson Wentz and the Eagles who have torn through pretty much everyone this season. I expect the Seahawks to put up a fight, but the Eagles will pick up their 11th win here.

Steelers over Bengals

This has the potential to be an early trap-game for the Steelers if they’re looking too far ahead to the Patriots.

However, I think the Steelers will end up winning this contest in what will likely be a close 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.

Week 12: 13-3

Overall: 113-63

Predicting Week 12 of the NFL season

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

It’s Thanksgiving this week which means Thursday will be filled with three games on the slate.

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

Vikings over Lions

Case Keenum is the starting quarterback for one of the best teams in the NFC and that is something that nobody could have predicted at the start of the year.

Regardless, the Vikings staked their claim as a top team with their win over the Rams last week and I think they will establish control of their division this week with a win in Detroit.

Chargers over Cowboys

The Cowboys are in deep trouble right now as the absence of Ezekiel Elliott due to his suspension is clearly hurting their offense.

The Chargers have a fantastic pass-rushing front seven which should pester Dak Prescott all game and the Chargers will likely keep their playoff hopes alive with a win this week.

Redskins over Giants

The NFL decided to save the worst game for last this Thanksgiving as there is no appeal to this matchup whatsoever.

Neither of these teams are making the playoffs, but I guess I will pick the Redskins for being somewhat competent.

Falcons over Buccaneers

The Falcons seem to have found their groove again after wins over the Cowboys and Seahawks in the past two weeks. This is very important because they will need every win they can find to keep pace with the Panthers and Saints in their division.

Luckily for them, they play the worst team in their division this week and should have no trouble beating the Buccaneers at home.

Bengals over Browns

The Browns inevitable march towards 0-16 should continue this week with a game in Cincinnati.

Considering the Bengals won 31-7 in Cleveland earlier this season, I’m not expecting a different result this time around.

Titans over Colts

The Titans loss to the Steelers last Thursday was a great disappointment which left them trailing Jacksonville by a game in the standings.

However, the Titans should get back on track this week with a very winnable game against a bad Colts team.

Chiefs over Bills

After a hot start to the season, both of these teams have fallen on hard times recently. However, the Chiefs are in a much stronger position due to the relative easiness of the division they play in.

I think this game could wind up being close with Tyrod Taylor back at quarterback for the Bills, but I still expect the Chiefs to pick up a win.

Patriots over Dolphins

I mean, I would have to be crazy to pick this horrid Dolphins team to beat the Patriots in Foxborough, right?

In all seriousness, the Dolphins have no chance unless Tom Brady’s ACL explodes and, even then, the game is a bit of a toss-up.

Panthers over Jets

The division race in the NFC South between the Panthers, Saints and Falcons will be an interesting one with all three teams contending for playoff spots.

I think the Panthers will strengthen their playoff resume this week by picking up their eighth win of the season in New Jersey.

Eagles over Bears

The Eagles are running away with their division and it will be a shame if Carson Wentz doesn’t win MVP for the performance he is putting on in his second year in the league.

The Eagles should pick up their 10th win this week as they continue to move towards the top seed in the NFC.

Seahawks over 49ers

The loss of Richard Sherman to a torn ACL two weeks ago definitely seemed to hurt the Seahawks in their game Monday against the Falcons.

It will take time for them to adjust to losing a big defensive leader like Sherman, but they should pick up a win this week against the hapless 49ers.

Raiders over Broncos

The Broncos have officially announced that Paxton Lynch will be making his first career start this week after the failure of Brock Osweiler and Trevor Siemian.

However, I don’t think that change will be enough, as the Raiders should be able to walk away with an easy win here.

Saints over Rams

This is probably the best overall game of the week and the result could wind up saying a lot about where things stand as a whole in the conference.

I think this game should be very exciting, but I have the Saints winning at home as Alvin Kamara continues his path to winning Rookie of the Year.

Jaguars over Cardinals

Blaine Gabbert going against his former team in a game that absolutely nobody outside of Arizona or Jacksonville should care about at all.

The Jaguars should be able to mop up the Cardinals rather easily to hit 8-3 this season.

Steelers over Packers

Brett Hundley is not Aaron Rodgers and he has made that painfully obvious with his play since Rodgers’ unfortunate collarbone injury.

The Steelers should have no trouble dominating the Packers this week and it should make for a snoozer of a Sunday night game.

Ravens over Texans

What did football fans do to deserve this as a Monday night game? The Ravens shouldn’t have any trouble winning this one as I hardly expect Tom Savage to do anything against the stout Ravens defense.

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 11: 8-6

Overall: 100-60

Predicting Week 11 of the NFL season

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

This is the final week for byes in the NFL which means we’re officially hitting the home stretch as the contenders attempt to separate themselves from the pack.

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

Steelers over Titans

I thought about this pick for a long time before putting it down because I feel like these teams are in a similar place right now.

Both teams are extremely talented on paper and have succeeded plenty on the field this season, but both teams also feel like underachievers thus far.

I think this one will be a close one, but I am going with the Steelers to win based on having the advantage of playing at home.

Lions over Packers

The NFC playoff race is very intense right now with 10 teams currently sitting above .500 and the Lions are right in the thick of it at 5-4 this week.

The Bears are a tough game at home, but it’s hard for me to pick them when their offense has looked so dreadful the past few weeks.

I expect the Lions to pick up their sixth win on Sunday.

Jaguars over Browns

The Jaguars have made a habit out of shutting down offenses all year and now they get an easy run of things this week against DeShone Kizer and/or Cody Kessler depending on Hue Jackson’s mood in between plays.

Even playing in Cleveland, I cannot waste a pick on predicting a Browns win and 0-16 looks more likely each week.

Packers over Ravens

Brett Hundley is no Aaron Rodgers, but he proved last week against the Bears that he can at least be serviceable in his place.

The Ravens are not a good team at all primarily because of their horrid offense and a bad offense does not usually mean good things when a team plays on the road.

Dolphins over Ravens

This is the game that was supposed to be played in Week 1, but got rescheduled due to Hurricane Irma.

Neither of these teams are very good, but the Dolphins are passable while the Buccaneers are just terrible which makes this choice easy.

Rams over Vikings

If you had the Rams and Vikings leading their respective divisions 10 weeks into the season, you’re a liar.

This should be a really good game and I am expecting the Rams to pick up a big road win as they establish themselves as one of the best teams in the NFL right now.

Saints over Redskins

The Saints are all of a sudden looking like a top-tier team and they are doing it with a running game as opposed to the normally prominent passing game.

I think the Saints will pick up their eighth straight win this week with a game at home against an average Redskins team.

Chiefs over Giants

The Giants already seemed to be at rock bottom and then they lost to the San Francisco 49ers and fell even lower.

Their quick fall should continue this week as they take on the Chiefs coming off of a bye week.

Cardinals over Texans

This seems like a game that no NFL fan should watch even if you’re a fan of one of the teams. Both teams are just terrible primarily due to their quarterbacks and it should be a dull, lifeless game.

Chargers over Bills

The Bills unexpected decision to start Nathan Peterman over Tyrod Taylor at quarterback this week swung this game for me.

Peterman is an unknown commodity in the NFL, but I can’t trust a late-round rookie quarterback to win on the road in his first start.

Bengals over Broncos

If Brock Osweiler is starting at quarterback for the Broncos, I am not going to be picking them out of principle because Osweiler is just that bad.

This has the potential to be a close game, but I think the Bengals have more weapons on both sides of the ball and should win this one.

Patriots over Raiders

These two teams will be heading to Mexico City for this game, but the change in location shouldn’t have much impact on the game.

The Patriots are significantly better than the Raiders and this game will probably be fairly one-sided in the Patriots favor.

Eagles over Cowboys

This is a must-win game for the Cowboys to have any chance of winning their division, but I don’t think they’ll be able to pull it off.

The Eagles are the best team in the NFC and I think Carson Wentz will take another step toward MVP-status with a big division win on the road.

Seahawks over Falcons

The loss of Richard Sherman might end up shaking up the playoff picture a bit in the NFC, but this week I think the Seahawks will be fine without him.

This will be a big game for both teams, but I expect the Seahawks to take care of business at home and establish themselves further in the playoff race.

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 7: 8-6

Overall: 92-53

Predicting Week 10 of the NFL season

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

We’re officially past the halfway point of the season with every team having played at least eight games to this point. However, the playoff picture is still very muddled and this is usually the point in the season where the true contenders begin to separate themselves.

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

Seahawks over Cardinals

How can I pick Drew Stanton to get a win against the fierce Seahawks defense? The answer is that I can’t.

I think this game will be a one-sided squash for the Seahawks as they look to get back into playoff position after a slow start to the season.

Bills over Saints

This has the potential to be one of the most interesting games of the week as the strong defense of the Bills takes on the usually high-powered offense of the Saints.

I think this game could go either way, but I am going to go with the Bills because they will have the advantage of playing this game at home where they are 4-0 so far this season.

Bears over Packers

The Bears have been a feisty team at home this season and even if Mitchell Trubisky hasn’t really panned out at quarterback so far, the Bears are dangerous when Jordan Howard is pounding the ball.

I think Howard should be able to tear through the Packers defense and the Packers won’t be able to do much to respond.

Lions over Browns

The Browns journey to the No. 1 overall pick will continue this week as they will probably get decimated by the Lions this Sunday. There’s not much else to say about this one.

Bengals over Titans

I’m going with the upset pick here because I feel like the struggling Bengals offense matches up well with the defense of the Titans.

The Titans are weak on defense and don’t really have any one who can cover AJ Green who should have a big game this week to lead the Bengals to a win.

Steelers over Colts

The Steelers are coming off a bye week and should be able to crush a weak Colts team which is going nowhere fast.

I expect this game to be probably be over by the time the teams head into the locker room for halftime.

Jets over Buccaneers

The Jets were expected to be at the bottom of the barrel this season, but with a win they can get themselves to .500.

I think they will get there this week against a Buccaneers team which has been a complete disappointment in contrast. The suspension of Mike Evans this week will also not help the Buccaneers chances.

Vikings over Redskins

The Redskins remained in the playoff hunt with a win over the Seahawks last week, but I think they will fall back down to Earth with a loss this week.

The Vikings have been a top team in the NFC so far this season and their defense should be able to shut down the Redskins this week.

Jaguars over Chargers

The old adage is that defense wins championships and if that holds true, the Jaguars have a great chance of winning a championship this season after years as an NFL doormat.

I think the Jaguars are definitely the best team in their division and should be able to continue their path to the playoffs with an easy win over the Chargers this week.

Rams over Texans

The Texans are a team without an identity after injuries to Deshaun Watson and JJ Watt while the Rams seem like a bonafide Super Bowl contender.

I could see this game being fairly one-sided and I really don’t give the Texans much of a chance with Tom Savage at quarterback.

Cowboys over Falcons

The Cowboys surprised many people including myself with a big win over the Chiefs which established them as a major wild-card threat.

I think the Falcons are still off-kilter this season and I think they will struggle this week once again against the Cowboys.

Giants over 49ers

I don’t think the NFL could have booked a less interesting game for this week if they tried because this game has me reaching for the remote just thinking about it.

I guess I’ll pick the Giants to win the battle of the train wrecks because they have shown some life this season, negligible as it may be.

Patriots over Broncos

The Patriots still have a lot of questions to face about their legitimacy after barely beating the Chargers in their last game, but they shouldn’t have much trouble against a Broncos team which gave up over 50 points to the Eagles last week.

Panthers over Dolphins

Who keeps giving the Dolphins prime-time games? Seriously, there is nothing appealing about this team and certainly no reason for them to get three straight night games.

That being said, I expect the Panthers to win and hand the Dolphins a third straight loss in prime-time. Whether it’s Jay Cutler or Matt Moore in at quarterback, the Dolphins are just not a good team.

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 7: 8-5

Overall: 84-47

Predicting Week 9 of the NFL season

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

For the second week in a row, six teams have bye weeks including the division-leading Patriots and Steelers. This puts just 13 games on this week’s schedule so it should be a slow week in the NFL.

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

Bills over Jets

This should be an interesting game between two teams which have completely surpassed expectations as the Jets are an average team and the Bills look like a legitimate playoff contender.

I think the Bills will take this one as their defense should be able to completely shut Josh McCown down and Lesean McCoy should run all over the Jets defense.

Titans over Ravens

Do not be fooled by the Ravens performance against the Dolphins on Thursday. That had as much to do with the Dolphins being terrible as it did with the Ravens being good.

At the time of writing, it is not known whether Joe Flacco or Ryan Mallett will be starting for the Ravens, but either way I expect the Titans to pick up a win here at home.

Saints over Buccaneers

The Saints enter the week at the top of the NFC South with their offense as strong as ever and their defense being surprisingly good.

I think the Saints will improve to 6-2 this week playing at home against a Buccaneers team that has been a complete disappointment this year.

Rams over Giants

The Rams return from their trip to London this week with a very winnable game across the country in New Jersey.

I expect the Rams to win this one rather easily against a Giants team which is just absolutely terrible. Remember when everyone thought the Giants might make it to the Super Bowl for some reason?

Eagles over Broncos

Carson Wentz’ MVP campaign strengthens each week as the Eagles have the best record in football and Wentz has had a fantastic sophomore season.

The Broncos will be trotting out Brock Osweiler this week which will in no way alleviate their recent offensive woes. I can’t see a scenario in which the Broncos win this week in Philadelphia.

Panthers over Falcons

Oh, how the mighty Falcons have fallen. The Falcons went from the best team in the NFC to the third-best in their own division and nobody can seem to figure out how.

The Falcons woes will likely continue this week with a tough road game against division rival Carolina. I think the Panthers will win a close game here to help their playoff chances and continue the Falcons’ descent.

Jaguars over Bengals

The Jaguars shouldn’t have any trouble putting pressure on Andy Dalton all day with the makeshift offensive line the Bengals are using.

The Bengals are no slouches on defense and this should be a low-scoring game, but I think the Jaguars will win this one.

Texans over Colts

The Texans are coming off a tough loss in Seattle in a game which will probably end up being one of the best of the year, if not the best.

The Colts are in shambles and I expect Deshaun Watson to make them his next victim as he should be able to tear apart their horrid secondary.

Update: The day after writing this, Watson tore his ACL and will miss the rest of the season. I think the Texans will still win this game at home, but the Texans as a whole are going to be in trouble the rest of the year.

The loss of Watson not only robs Texans fans, and football fans in general, of the joy of watching him play, but will likely have a domino effect on the playoff races going forward in the AFC.

49ers over Cardinals

There are no winners between the fans who will sit through this game as the Drew Stanton-led Cardinals take on the winless 49ers.

I think the 49ers will get their first win of the season this week as the Cardinals are about as bad overall. The addition of Jimmy Garoppolo should put the 49ers over the top this week.

Seahawks over Redskins

The Seahawks are undefeated at home so far this year to the surprise of basically no one and they should pick up a fourth home win this week.

Kirk Cousins got through the trade block without any movement so it will be interesting to see where he winds up when his contract expires after this season.

Chiefs over Cowboys

I cannot pick the Cowboys against a good team because they have to prove to me that they can actually beat a good team.

That combined with the absence of Ezekiel Elliott due to him finally serving his suspension leads me to easily pick the Chiefs to win in Dallas this week.

Raiders over Dolphins

Why is this a Sunday night game? Regardless, neither team is playoff-caliber, but it is hard for me to spend a pick on the Dolphins when their offense looks so inept.

The trading of Jay Ajayi only makes their offense worse and basically killed any chance of a playoff run. I think the Raiders defense will decimate the Dolphins to lead the Raiders to their fourth win.

Lions over Packers

If Aaron Rodgers were starting this game, I would take the Packers in a heartbeat. Unfortunately for Packers fans, Brett Hundley is no Aaron Rodgers and I think the Lions will take this one 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 7: 11-2

Overall: 76-42