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

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

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