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