Predicting the Super Bowl

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

The biggest football game of the year is finally here as the Patriots and Eagles will face off Sunday night. The game does have some interesting elements to it, but it is, in my opinion, one of the least compelling Super Bowl matchups in recent memory.

Regardless, let’s get into my thoughts on how the game will go.

Eagles over Patriots

Part of this is wishful thinking and the other part is a genuine belief that the Eagles can win this one.

If the Patriots win, the status quo will be maintained and the least entertaining dynasty in pro sports history will continue.

While what the Patriots have done is historically significant, they just aren’t a fun team to watch in my opinion and every one of their wins just serves to build their base of bandwagon fans and alienate other fans due to sheer boredom.

The Eagles, meanwhile, are going for their first Super Bowl win and their quest has improbably continued despite the loss of Carson Wentz during an MVP-caliber season.

This game will be a battle of a top offense versus a top defense when the Patriots have the ball, but I think the most important factor will be the Eagles offense versus the Patriots defense.

The Eagles run an offense that is almost identical to what the Chiefs ran this season and the Chiefs tore the Patriots to shreds early in the season.

We all saw what Nick Foles did to the top-ranked defense of the Vikings in the NFC championship and if he plays even close to that level, the Eagles will be scoring plenty of points.

It will then be a question of whether Tom Brady and the Patriots can keep up which will be a tall order against a stacked Eagles defense.

I think this game will be close for the most part, but the Eagles will do just enough on both sides of the ball to end the season on an upset.

Eagles 24, Patriots 20

Conference Championships: 1-1

Playoffs: 6-4

Overall: 173-93

Predicting the conference championship round of the NFL playoffs

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

The field has been narrowed to four teams with quite a few surprises that I don’t think were expected when the season began. Three of the four remaining teams have never won a Super Bowl and that means we could very well see a first-time winner in two weeks.

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

Patriots over Jaguars

These are two teams on the opposite end of the spectrum for what they do well.

The Jaguars have endured a less than stellar year from Blake Bortles thanks to a crushing defense which has put big hits on quarterbacks all season.

The Patriots had one of the worst defenses in football this season in terms of total yardage allowed, but went 13-3 behind a strong offensive attack.

For as many jokes are thrown Bortles’ way, this game could come down to how he performs. If he puts on a performance like he did in the fourth quarter of the Jaguars win over the Steelers Sunday, I think the Jaguars could surprise a lot of people with a win.

I think this one will ultimately come down to the Patriots offense though. Tom Brady will get battered all night by the Jaguars front seven, but I think the running backs will have the biggest impact.

The Jaguars’ rushing defense was their weak point most of the season and I think the combination of Dion Lewis and James White will be enough to lift the Patriots to a close win.

Vikings over Eagles

A lot of credit should go to the Eagles for what they did to the Falcons offense on Saturday. The Eagles came in as the home underdog and completely shut the Falcons down to pick up a 15-10 win.

However, I think they will find it difficult to repeat the performance this week mainly because I don’t think they will get to 15 points against the Vikings defense.

The Vikings advanced to this round after a miraculous 61-yard walkoff touchdown on Sunday against the Saints and the momentum definitely seems to be behind them to become the first team ever to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium.

The fact that it hasn’t happened before is interesting, but it must happen at some point by the law of averages. The Super Bowl saw its first overtime ever last season so why not follow that up with its first true home team.

This has the potential to be an ugly low-scoring game, but I think Case Keenum will do enough with Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen to lead the Vikings to a win.

That does it for this week’s picks. Check back in two weeks for my Super Bowl predictions.

Divisional: 3-1

Playoffs: 5-3

Overall: 172-92

Predicting the divisional round of the NFL playoffs

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

The playoff round has been narrowed down to eight teams and two wild-card teams are still alive in the hunt. The top seeds in each conference will return to the field this week after a bye as well.

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

Falcons over Eagles

The Eagles enter this game as the first No. 1 seed to be listed as an underdog at home since 1970. It is not without reason as the Falcons looked very impressive in their win over the Rams while the Eagles are playing Nick Foles at quarterback.

Foles is not the worst quarterback in the NFL, but he has looked a little shaky in recent games against the Raiders and Cowboys to end the regular season.

If you add that to the speed and power the Falcons defense showed Saturday, it is very easy to see why they are favored and I think they will win.

The Eagles have a good defense, but I think they will not be able to keep up with the Falcons this week.

Patriots over Titans

The Titans pulled off one of the biggest comeback in NFL playoff history against the Chiefs Saturday and nobody can take that away from them.

Unfortunately, I think many people will not remember that win after the Patriots dismantle them on Saturday night.

The Titans are not a top-quality team at the end of the day and the Patriots will be playing with anger after the recent media reports of dissent in the organization.

The Patriots should win this one fairly easily.

Jaguars over Steelers

These two teams met early in the season and the Jaguars demolished the Steelers in Pittsburgh.

The Steelers are listed as the heavy favorite in this game and I’m not sure because their offense did nothing in the last game between the two.

Ben Roethlisberger threw five picks in that game and I expect him to throw a few more on Sunday.

Blake Bortles is not very good, but the Jaguars just need him to be passable to succeed and I think Leonard Fournette will have a big game to lead the Jaguars to a win.

Vikings over Saints

I think this game has the most potential because both teams are very well-balanced on both sides of the ball.

The Saints’ offense looked dynamic as ever in their win over the Panthers last week even though their running game never really got going and their defense has been solid all season.

The Vikings boast one of the best defenses in the NFL and Case Keenum has been one of the biggest surprises of the season in leading a very potent Vikings offense.

I think this game will be close, but I think the Vikings are a bit overall and will be able to pick up a big home win to advance to the NFC Championship 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.

Wild-Card: 2-2

Playoffs: 2-2

Overall: 169-91

Predicting the wild-card round of the NFL playoffs

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

The first round of the playoffs will kick off Saturday as the field gets narrowed down to eight teams after this weekend.

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

Chiefs over Titans

I think it would be hard to argue that the NFC is providing the more interesting matchups of the week which is why it is unsurprising that the Titans and Chiefs will lead things off Saturday.

The Chiefs seemed like they may miss the playoff entirely after a rough stretch put their record at 6-6, but they have seen a nice turnaround after Andy Reid gave up play-calling duties.

Now they will benefit this week from playing a Titans team which just isn’t that good. The Titans were able to make it into the playoffs after beating the Jaguars, but they didn’t exactly look impressive doing it.

I think the Chiefs will be able to win this one easily to start the weekend off with a blowout.

Rams over Falcons

The defending NFC champions are the six-seed in the conference this year and the Falcons will make the trip to Los Angeles to play the Rams on Saturday.

The Rams have been the turnaround story of the season behind bright young coach Sean McVay and they definitely earned their seeding.

The Rams haven’t been the best home team this season, but I think Todd Gurley will run all over the Falcons defense and Matt Ryan will have trouble against the Rams front seven throughout.

Jaguars over Bills

The action on Sunday will lead off with two teams which were led to the playoffs by their defenses.

The Bills got into the playoffs on the final day of the year thanks to some heroics from the Bengals against the Ravens to get them in for the first time since 1999.

The Jaguars, meanwhile, rode one of the best defenses in football to a division title and their first playoff appearance since 2008.

Unfortunately for the Bills and their long-suffering fans, I think their run of happiness will end on Sunday against a Jaguars team which should swarm the Bills offense and prevent them from doing anything.

Saints over Panthers

The weekend of playoff action will conclude Sunday evening as two of the qualifiers from the NFC South will face off in New Orleans.

The Saints won the first two meetings between these two teams this season and won both games by double-digits, but they will need to do it again to secure a spot in the divisional round.

I think the Saints will wind up getting it done because they are a better team than the Panthers despite sporting the same 11-5 records.

The Saints are decidedly better on the defensive end and I think the Saints will be able to do more offensively to pick up a solid, but competitive 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 17: 8-8

Overall: 167-89