Predicting Week 17 of the NFL season

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

Nine of the 12 playoff spots have been officially locked up though some seeds will be decided this week in addition to the final three playoff spots.

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

Lions over Packers

This is one of many games this week which means absolutely nothing and will mainly be filler on Sunday.

I think these teams have both had disappointing years, but I expect the Lions to close out their season with a win at home.

Colts over Texans

Both of these teams are downright awful and the less thought given to this game the better. I’ll take Jacoby Brissett and the Colts over whichever warm body the Texans start at quarterback.

Vikings over Bears

The Vikings are still competing for a first-round bye and can lock it up with a win. They should be able to do that fairly easily against the poorly-coached Bears.

Patriots over Jets

The Patriots are heavy favorites at home this week as well they should be. I think this game will be incredibly one-sided since the Patriots will be doing everything they can to lock up homefield advantage for the playoffs.

Redskins over Giants

It still amazes me that people thought the Giants were a sleeper pick for the Super Bowl going into this season and instead they turned into one of the worst teams in football.

I think their disappointing season will end in disappointing fashion with a loss at home to the Redskins.

Cowboys over Eagles

This is a slightly complicated pick because the Eagles are probably going to be resting all their starters with homefield advantage already in their pocket.

I think this means the Cowboys should be able to win even though it will mean nothing for them and their playoff standing.

Steelers over Browns

The Browns have done something truly amazing by making the 2008 Lions looking like world-beaters by somehow having a worse winless season.

The Steelers are still fighting for the No. 1 seed and they should wipe the floor with the Browns here.

Panthers over Falcons

This is one of two games which will decide which teams get the final NFC wild-card spot with the Falcons and Seahawks fighting over it.

Unfortunately for the Falcons, I think the Panthers are a better and I think they will win on the road to knock the Falcons out of the picture.

Broncos over Chiefs

The Chiefs are firmly set in the fourth-seed for the AFC playoffs and will likely not have any starters playing in this one to rest up for the playoffs.

For this reason, I will go with the Broncos because their starters should be able to beat the Chiefs’ backups.

Titans over Jaguars

The Titans are not a good team in the slightest, but they have kept hanging around the playoff picture and a win would get them in.

I think they will be able to do that against a Jaguars team which shouldn’t have any starters in play.

Rams over 49ers

Jimmy Garoppolo’s undefeated streak as a starter continued Sunday against the Jaguars and he will have a chance to continue it in the 49ers final game of the season.

However, while Garoppolo has been fantastic, I think the Rams will come out playing hard and wanting to prove something before moving into the playoffs which is why I am picking them.

Dolphins over Bills

The Bills are one of four teams still alive for the two AFC wild-card spots and they have the longest odds by far of making it in.

They will need a win to even have a chance, but I don’t think that will happen because they are not actually that good and I think the Dolphins will edge them out here.

Chargers over Raiders

The Chargers will also need major help to make it another week as they will need a win, a Jaguars win and a loss by either the Bills or the Ravens.

As mentioned earlier, I think the Titans will win which would automatically eliminate the Chargers from the equation, but I at least expect the Chargers to hold up their end and close the season on a high note.

Seahawks over Cardinals

The Seahawks were left for dead two weeks ago and now they have a pretty good chance of sneaking into the playoffs.

I don’t think much has changed in between, but the win over the Cowboys on Sunday was vital and I think the Seahawks will be motivated enough to win and get in thanks to a Panthers win over the Falcons as mentioned earlier.

Saints over Buccaneers

The Saints are in the playoffs regardless, but do need a win or a Panthers loss to go in as a division champ.

Luckily for the Saints, I don’t think the Panthers will come in to play as they should crush the Buccaneers to end their disappointing season.

Ravens over Bengals

I went back and forth on this one for a while because I think it will be an even game. The Bengals seemed more motivated than ever in their win over the Lions Sunday while the Ravens are looking to secure a playoff spot.

I think this game will come down to the wire, but the Ravens will secure the five-seed with a win.

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: 13-3

Overall: 159-81

Predicting Week 16 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 Christmas season is here once more and the NFL will be keeping families distracted this weekend with two games Saturday, 12 games on Christmas Eve and then two games on the day itself.

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

Ravens over Colts

This is a big game for the Ravens who are currently outside of the playoffs due to lost tiebreakers against the Bills and Titans who are both also 8-6.

However, a win would very much keep them in the hunt and I think they will get it easily against a Colts team which just seems inept in every area of the game.

Vikings over Packers

It took one week for the Aaron Rodgers miraculous comeback tour to come to an end as the Packers are out of the postseason and Rodgers is back on the injured reserve.

I don’t see Brett Hundley doing much against the stout Vikings defense this week and see the Vikings making this a blowout.

Bears over Browns

It should be noted that the Browns only victory in 2016 came on Christmas Eve. Now, the Browns are in the same position with an 0-14 record the day before Christmas.

I considered picking the Browns here, but then I realized how dreadful they were and that nobody on their defense would be able to stop the Bears running game.

Lions over Bengals

The Bengals have the chance to play spoiler here against a Lions team which needs a win and a Falcons loss to stay alive in the wild-card race.

I think this game will be close and could come down to the final drive, but I think the Lions will end up pulling it out and temporarily keep themselves afloat.

Rams over Titans

The Rams made a statement last week with a crushing 42-7 win against the Seahawks in Seattle. Now they have a chance to clinch the NFC West with a win this week or a Seattle loss.

I think they will take care of things on there and wrap up the division with a win over a Titans team which has completely fallen apart in the second half of the season.

Chiefs over Dolphins

I don’t know why anyone would spend watching this game outside of residents of Miami or Kansas City. Regardless, the Chiefs are back in control of the division and should wrap it up with a win at home here.

Patriots over Bills

Considering how the last game went in Buffalo, I would say the Bills don’t have much of a shot here unless Tom Brady’s ACL explodes.

This is bad news for the Bills playoff hopes, though they won’t be entirely out of it as long as the Titans lose this week as well.

Saints over Falcons

The Falcons won the last matchup between these two teams 20-17 a few weeks back, but I see things going a different way this time.

The Saints are very tough to beat at home and I think they will take care of business and clinch a playoff berth in the process.

Chargers over Jets

The Chargers are playing for their playoff lives and they lucked out this week by being matched with the Jets who have not done well in recent weeks.

Both of these teams have been mercurial at times and just about anything could happen, but I will go with the Chargers getting their eighth win this week.

Redskins over Broncos

This is another terrible game between two terrible teams except at least the game between the Chiefs and Dolphins has some playoff implications.

This game simply just exists and will likely be terrible. I guess the Redskins will win, but this is one I will not be paying attention to.

Panthers over Buccaneers

The Panthers can clinch a playoff berth this week with a win and I think it will be an easy task to accomplish.

The Buccaneers had some high expectations thrust upon them this season and they have continually failed to live up to any of them.

Jaguars over 49ers

Jimmy Garoppolo is still undefeated as an NFL starter, but he has the misfortune of playing the best defense in the NFL this week.

It will be an interesting test to see how Garoppolo does, but I don’t think it will mean good things for the 49ers who should easily to the red-hot Jaguars.

Cowboys over Seahawks

This has been an ugly season in Seattle as injuries and in-fighting has caused the team to spiral out of control the past few weeks.

Things will not get much better for them here as a returning Ezekiel Elliott should be able to run all over them as the Cowboys continue to stay alive in the playoff hunt.

Cardinals over Giants

Both of these teams are mediocre-at-best and in those kinds of matchup the best defense usually wins. That leads me to choose the Cardinals because their defensive unit is much better than the floundering Giants.

Steelers over Texans

The Christmas action will start with a game that looked much more appetizing when Deshaun Watson was still under center for the Texans.

As it is, the Steelers should dominate them this week as the Texans have no way of matching up with their offensive weapons.

Eagles over Raiders

Nick Foles is not anywhere near the player that Carson Wentz is. However, Foles is a serviceable NFL quarterback and the Eagles should be fine with him as long as he does not make big mistakes.

With that being said, the Eagles should take care of the Raiders easily here to clinch homefield advantage for the entire 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 15: 13-3

Overall: 146-78

Predicting Week 15 of the NFL season

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

Last week had some results which I felt were a little unexpected given my 7-9 record for the week. It will be interesting to see if more odd results pop up this week or if we return to the status quo as the playoffs quickly approach.

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

Colts over Broncos

This seems like a real stinker of a Thursday night matchup between two dismal teams with no upside.

I’ll take the Colts as a winner here because they seem to have shown more consistency even though that doesn’t say much for either of them.

Lions over Bears

This is a rare Saturday night matchup as the Lions are looking to keep their playoff hopes alive.

They should be able to pick up a big win this week to get their eighth win with Matthew Stafford presumably back at full strength.

Chargers over Chiefs

This Saturday night will be very important for the AFC West as the winner of this game will take over sole possession of first place.

The Chiefs put a stop to their recent slide with a win last week against Oakland, but I think the Chargers will continue their red-hot run with another win this week.

Bills over Dolphins

The Bills and Colts participated in one of the most unexpectedly exciting games of the season Sunday as their teams powered through a blizzard.

Now the Bills will play host again this week with rain in the forecast that could turn to more snow if the temperature dips. Whatever happens with the weather, I expect the Bills to pick up a big win here with Tyrod Taylor back in the lineup.

Ravens over Browns

The poor Browns seemed like they were finally going to win one against Green Bay before the win was plucked away from them in overtime.

Unfortunately for them, that was likely their best chance to win one and I think the Ravens should decimate the Browns with their playoff hopes on the line.

Vikings over Bengals

The Bengals are well out of contention and their offense should mightily against the fantastic Vikings defense. I think the Vikings will win this game in convincing fashion.

Saints over Jets

The Saints are heavily favored in the game which is no surprise with the way the Jets played last week.

The New Orleans faithful should be in for a good time Sunday as they watch their team dominate the Jets.

Eagles over Giants

The loss of Carson Wentz to an ACL injury stinks for the entire NFL considering how exciting Wentz has been on the field this season.

Regardless, the Eagles should still be able to beat the Giants this week even with Nick Foles under center.

Cardinals over Redskins

I’m not quite sure what to make of this considering both teams have been so inconsistent this season.

However, the Redskins have been dealing with a lot of injuries lately and I think they will struggle against the strong defense of the Cardinals.

Panthers over Packers

Aaron Rodgers will be making his miraculous return to the field this week after a seemingly season-ending collarbone injury.

However, I think Rodgers return will be a rough one as the Panthers should be able to punish him with their strong defensive line. I think Cam Newton will deliver here and produce a big win for the Panthers.

Jaguars over Texans

The Jaguars can clinch a playoff spot with a win this week and I think they will do just that against a terrible Texans team.

Rams over Seahawks

This game will be pivotal in the NFC West race as the Seahawks could take the Rams spot at the top of the division with a win.

While the Seahawks did win their last encounter in Los Angeles, the Rams made big mistakes in that first game that I think they will avoid this time to pick up a very important win on the road.

Patriots over Steelers

While the Patriots loss to the Dolphins on Monday was surprising, the Patriots have tended to struggle on the road against the Dolphins.

By the same token, the Patriots have consistently beaten the Steelers over the years and I expect that to continue against a Steelers team which has yet to pick up a real quality win.

49ers over Titans

A Titans loss could end up costing them a shot at their division title, but I see exactly that happening as Jimmy Garoppolo has been impressive in his first few starts for the 49ers.

The Titans have been a disappointment so far this season and I think that trend will continue this week.

Cowboys over Raiders

Both of these teams are fighting to stay alive in their respective playoff losses and the loser will pretty much have their season ended early.

The Cowboys are not a good team, but I think they are better than the Raiders and should be able to do anything they want against the weak Oakland defense.

Falcons over Buccaneers

The Falcons won their first matchup this season by 14 points and I think we can expect a similar result this week.

Jameis Winston has yet to make the leap in his third season in the league and has seemed to regress at that. I think his rough third season will continue as the Buccaneers take their 10th loss so far this season.

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 14: 7-9

Overall: 133-75

Predicting Week 14 of the NFL season

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

Several playoff spots could be clinched this week depending on the results of some games and even as many as four division races could end this week.

Without further ado, let’s get into this week’s pick starting with a very important Thursday night matchup.

Saints over Falcons

The Saints sit at the top of the NFC South this week while the Falcons are two games out in the division and one game out of position for a wild-card.

This game should prove very important to the divisional race in the NFC South and I expect the Saints to win and solidify their place at the top.

The Falcons will have trouble slowing down Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram and I don’t think Matt Ryan will do enough to counter that against the tough Saints defense.

Colts over Bills

This pick is made under the assumption that Tyrod Taylor will not be playing this week. The injury to Taylor is unfortunate as the Bills playoff chances will basically disappear if he is out for any length of time.

Assuming Nathan Peterman starts for the Bills, it will be a rough night for their fans as they lose to the lowly Colts.

Bengals over Bears

Both of these teams are already looking forward to next year with where they are in the standings.

I think the Bengals will win this one easily as the Bears have had trouble this season winning on the road.

Packers over Browns

Packers fans received some great news this week as Aaron Rodgers may actually be back on the field before the end of the season after a collarbone injury initially appeared to end his season.

Rodgers is projected to return next week at the earliest so if the Packers can stay in the playoff race until then, then they will definitely have a chance.

Luckily for them, they play the worst team in football this week which should mean Brett Hundley picks up another win before Rodgers’ return.

Raiders over Chiefs

Remember when the Chiefs were 5-0 and seemed like one of the best teams in football. Now they’ve lost six out of their last seven and in a three-way tie with the Chargers and their opponent this week.

The Raiders won the last game these two teams played against each other and I’m expecting something similar here. The Chiefs can’t seem to do much right and I think their downward spiral will continue this week.

Cowboys over Giants

The Giants did the right thing in firing Ben McAdoo after a horrific tenure as head coach which ended in him benching the most revered player on the team for a guy who failed at quarterbacking the Jets.

Now they’ll look to move forward, though it will still be tough to win with the roster they have right now. I expect the Cowboys to pick them apart this week to add to their continuing woes.

Lions over Buccanneers

This one is hard to predict because it is uncertain whether Matthew Stafford will be starting the game after suffering a hand injury last time out.

Stafford has not missed a start since 2011 so I’m going to assume he guts it out and plays which gives the Lions a definite edge.

If he sits out, it’s a bit more of a toss-up.

Vikings over Panthers

The Vikings could wrap up the NFC North with a win in this game and I think they will get the job done.

The Panthers are a good team, but their offense has struggled at times and I think the Vikings will be able to completely shut them down in this game.

49ers over Texans

The Jimmy Garoppolo era has begun in San Francisco and I think he will make it two straight wins this week against a bad Texans team.

The 49ers aren’t very good still, but having Garoppolo under center definitely makes them better than what they were.

Jets over Broncos

Considering how low expectations were going into the season, the Jets and their fans have plenty to be happy about with their young team.

I think they will pick up their sixth win this week as the face a Broncos team which has proven how important the quarterback position with how horrible their quarterbacks have been this season.

Titans over Cardinals

The Cardinals could potentially play spoiler here as the Titans continues to compete with the Jaguars for the AFC South title.

I think this game could be a potential loss, but I think the Titans will be able to pull it out on the road.

Chargers over Redskins

The Chargers have completely turned things around on an 0-4 start and are now in contention to win the AFC West.

I think they will get above .500 this week with a win against a Redskins team which has struggled as of late.

Rams over Eagles

This is a game which could have some significance down the line as it is very possible these two teams could meet in the playoffs.

I think this will be a close game, but the Rams should win at home to further their hold on the NFC West.

Jaguars over Seahawks

The Seahawks showed they are not completely done yet with a win over the Eagles last week despite the loss of Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman to injuries.

However, I think the Jaguars will take this one as their defense should be able to overall the weak Seattle offensive line.

Steelers over Ravens

A win by the Steelers would clinch the AFC North for them and I see that happening Sunday night.

The Steelers won earlier this season in Baltimore and I am expecting a similar result here.

Patriots over Dolphins

Even with Rob Gronkowski suspended for this game due to the needless assault of another player, I don’t see a way the Dolphins can win this one.

Jay Cutler is a walking pick-six and the Dolphins will have trouble stopping the strong Patriots offense.

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 13: 13-3

Overall: 126-66