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