Predicting Week 10 of the NFL season

Hello and welcome back to The Cowan Corner for another week of NFL picks and predictions.

The halfway point of the NFL season is officially behind us and the playoff picture is still very muddled as most of the field remains alive. The next few weeks will be important in separating the haves from the have-nots.

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

Ravens over Browns

The Browns are looking more and more like an 0-16 team with each passing week. I think they will continue their inevitable march to a winless season with another loss here on Thursday night.

Packers over Titans

If the Packers lose this game, it could be the final nail in the coffin for head coach Mike McCarthy as the team has not performed well at all this season.

I think the Packers will do well enough this week for McCarthy to keep his job for now.

Redskins over Vikings

I think the Vikings’ slide into mediocrity will continue this week as they face a Redskins team coming off of a bye week.

Buccaneers over Bears

Neither of these teams is any good and this should be a game worth skipping. I will go with the Buccaneers because they are 0-4 at home this season, but have to get a home win at some point this season, right?

Chiefs over Panthers

The Panthers won on Sunday, but did so in a very sloppy game against the Rams that left me unimpressed.

This week, they go against the very capable Chiefs and I can’t seem them picking up the win here.

Falcons over Eagles

Carson Wentz has not looked good the past couple weeks and the Eagles have really fallen off after a 3-0 start to the year.

In the battle of the birds, I will take the Falcons who look like a major playoff contender.

Jets over Rams

The Rams really just need to put Jared Goff out on the field at this point. They have no chance of making the playoffs at this point so they may as well give the rookie some starting time instead of wheeling Case Keenum out there every week.

Saints over Broncos

I think the Saints can burn the Broncos defense for enough points where they can win this game. The Broncos really need a solid running game to be looked at as a serious contender.

Texans over Jaguars

The Texans are in firm control of their division despite losing JJ Watt early on and one major reason for that is they get to play against their fellow AFC South teams.

This is another game against a division opponent for them and one they should easily win.

Chargers over Dolphins

Despite some inexplicable collapses early in the season, the Chargers are hanging around and a win here will get them back to .500.

The Dolphins are currently at .500, but I see them losing here on the road against a better Chargers team.

Cowboys over Steelers

The Cowboys roll continues as they have the best record in the NFC and have two exciting young rookies in Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot.

I think they will continue on that roll against a Steelers team which has been weakened by injuries.

Cardinals over 49ers

The 49ers fired head coach Jim Tomsula after one 5-11 year. The question will be if Chip Kelly will be next on the chopping block after a worse season.

Patriots over Seahawks

The Patriots have been on a roll since Tom Brady’s return from suspension. This should be a close game, but I think the Patriots will continue their current four-game winning streak with another one here.

Bengals over Giants

This has potential to be a shootout on Monday night and could honestly go either way. I think Bengals will do just enough to win here.

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 8: 10-3

Overall: 79-52-2

Predicting Week 9 of the NFL season

Hello and welcome back to The Cowan Corner for another week of NFL picks and predictions.

There’s nothing quite as annoying as watching your favorite team finish a game with a tie. It’s even more annoying when you have to wake up early just to watch the game because it’s being played in London or having to stay up late because it’s a night game.

However, this has been the case the last two weeks as the Seahawks-Cardinals night game Oct. 23 and the Bengals-Redskins London game Sunday gave us our first ties in back-to-back weeks since 1997.

Maybe we’ll see another tie this week just to make my overall picks record slightly more disjointed.

Without further ado, let’s get into this week’s picks as we once again have six teams on byes resulting in 13 games for the week.

Falcons over Buccaneers

The Falcons have been one of the more exciting teams to casually follow this season because of their explosive offense.

I will be picking them against a Buccaneers team that just lost at home to a Raiders team which set the single-game record for penalties.

Ravens over Steelers

As of this writing, Ben Roethlisberger will not be playing for the Steelers on Sunday. The Ravens are not a good team, but I will take them against Landry Jones.

Cowboys over Browns

The Browns just can’t catch a break. Last week, they blew a 13-point halftime lead against the Jets and this week they play one of the best teams in the NFC.

Suffice to say, it will not be a fun week for Browns fans. Unless the Indians win the World Series, in which case, they won’t care.

Chiefs over Jaguars

The Chiefs, Raiders and Broncos are currently in a tight race for the AFC West. The Chiefs will need to win games like this to keep pace with the other two.

Dolphins over Jets

Neither of these teams are very good, but one of them has to win, right?

Eagles over Giants

The Cowboys have a comfortable lead in the NFC East right now, but both of these teams still have a chance to catch them.

I will take the Eagles and their very good defense to prevail here.

Vikings over Lions

The Vikings have not looked like the same team since their bye week as they have dropped two games in a row.

Luckily, they should get back on track against a Lions team which stays in games, but struggles to beat more capable teams.

Panthers over Rams

The Panthers proved they are not quite dead in the water yet after beating up on the Cardinals. They should pick up their third win of the season this week against the Rams

Perhaps the most interesting part of this game will be the possibility of Jared Goff seeing the field for the first time in his NFL career if Case Keenum turns in another lackluster performance.

Saints over 49ers

This will not be a game many people outside New Orleans or San Francisco will focus on with neither team going anywhere.

I think the Saints will win, primarily because of how poor the 49ers roster is right now.

Chargers over Titans

I will probably regret this pick on Sunday when the Chargers find some way to blow a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter.

However, I will risk it because the Chargers are really not that bad. They just need to work on playing for a whole 60 minutes.

Packers over Colts

Both of these teams have major issues to work out, but the Colts have a lot more issues.

Also, Aaron Rodgers is significantly better than Andrew Luck so I think the Packers will come away with the easy win.

Raiders over Broncos

This is a major opportunity for the Raiders to prove they are a real threat in the AFC and claim control in their division.

I think they will come through against a Broncos team which will lack much of a ground game with several running backs injured.

Seahawks over Bills

This is a weird Monday night matchup. With that being said, I think the Seahawks are the better team and will come away with the 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 8: 9-3-1

Overall: 69-49-2

Predicting Week 8 of the NFL season

Hello and welcome back to The Cowan Corner for another week of NFL picks and predictions.

This week is one of the smallest for the NFL this season as six teams are on bye weeks which means there are only 13 games to choose from.

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

Titans over Jaguars

Oh boy, this one will not be fun to watch. Both of these teams are members of the dreadful AFC South division and a win here could play a major factor for either team considering 9-7 will be good enough for a division title.

I will take the Titans because they have better weapons at their disposal this season.

Bengals over Redskins

This is the third and final London game of the season and it pits Jay Gruden against the team he was the offensive coordinator of for several years.

The Redskins will likely be without Josh Norman, who suffered a concussion Sunday, and that means AJ Green should have a field day against a weak Redskins secondary.

Chiefs over Colts

The Colts are bad in just about every position but quarterback and even that position makes poor decisions sometimes.

This is a game against a bad team, which means Andy Reid and the Chiefs are pretty much guaranteed to win.

Raiders over Buccaneers

The Buccaneers have sneaked back into the division race after starting the year 1-3, but this week they go up against a good Raiders team.

The Raiders are actually 4-0 on the road this year and I think they will make it 5-0 this week.

Seahawks over Saints

Last week, the Seahawks and Cardinals played in one of the most dreadful games I can remember viewing. The horrible display was capped off by both kickers missing chip-shot field goals in overtime to end the game in a tie.

Surely, the Seahawks offense can’t look any worse than it did against the Cardinals, right?

Lions over Texans

The Lions have been surprisingly fun to watch this year and their offensive is explosive enough where they can never be counted out of games.

The Texans have sorely missed JJ Watt this season and I think Brock Osweiler’s poor quarterback play will continue here.

Jets over Browns

On Sunday the Browns tied the NFL record for most different players to throw a pass in a single season at six. That record is shared with the 1984 and 1987 Bears.

The amazing thing is they still have nine games left to go and they could potentially blow the record out of the water.

Patriots over Bills

The last time these two division rivals met, the Bills won 16-0, but the Patriots were still without Brady and started an injured Jacoby Brissett in his place.

Now, Brady is back and the Patriots should be going full force to avenge the loss and take complete control of the division.

Panthers over Cardinals

For as good as the Cardinals defense looked against the Seahawks Sunday night, their offense and special teams looked downright terrible.

Now, they face a Panthers team which is coming off a bye and needs to start winning to have any shot whatsoever at the playoffs.

Broncos over Chargers

The Chargers scored a surprising Thursday night win the last time these two teams met, but I see things ending differently here.

The Broncos will be the hosts this team and should be able to handle the Chargers this week.

Falcons over Packers

Something is still wrong with the Packers, but nobody knows exactly what. I will go with the Falcons here because I think their high-octane offense will overpower the defense of the Packers.

Cowboys over Eagles

Two rookie quarterbacks face off when these division rivals meet this Sunday night. I think this one will be close, but the Cowboys look like the better team overall so I will go with them.

Vikings over Bears

It says a lot about the Vikings offense when they were the beneficiary of four turnovers by their defense and they still only had 10 points last week.

The good news for the Vikings is they play a bad Bears team this week and should get right back to winning.

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 7: 8-6-1

Overall: 60-46-1


Predicting Week 7 of the NFL season

Hello and welcome back to The Cowan Corner for another week of NFL picks and predictions.

Last week got off to a poor start as my Thursday night record continues to get worse and I whiffed on several early games, but I rallied back in the evening and finished a respectable 8-7.

We’ll see if I can get another week above .500 this week and, with that, let’s head into the picks.

Packers over Bears

Brian Hoyer has more passing yards than Aaron Rodgers through the first six weeks of the season. I’m not exactly sure what this means other than the Packers might be trouble going forward.

However, I still expect the Packers to come out victorious against a bad division rival.

Giants over Rams

Case Keenum has done surprisingly well so far this season after a disastrous start to the season. However, the Giants defense should do well enough shutting them down as NFL defenses continue to stack the box against Todd Gurley.

This should be an interesting game, but the Giants will win.

Chiefs over Saints

Which version of the Chiefs will show up this week? Will it be the team that got absolutely humiliated by the Steelers or the team that shut down the up-and-coming Raiders?

I am banking on the latter with this pick mainly because Andy Reid specializes in beating bad teams and not much else.

Titans over Colts

The Titans might be the best overall team in the AFC South which is a little scary considering how bad they were for the past couple seasons.

A win here could go a long way towards a division title and I’m picking them to get the home victory.

Vikings over Eagles

The Vikings are coming off a bye and their top-notch defense should play as well as ever. It should be a low-scoring affair because the Eagles defense is no slouch, but I will go with Minnesota regardless.

Bengals over Browns

Hue Jackson returns to Cincinnati to face his former team. The Browns are still winless, but the Bengals need a win after losing four of their last five.

Redskins over Lions

The Redskins have quietly won four in a row after dropping their first two games of the season. I don’t really see the win streak lasting too much longer, but I see them getting to at least five this week.

Raiders over Jaguars

Both of these teams are built around a young, talented nucleus, but the Raiders are the team which is turning that formula into success right now.

The Raiders are the easy choice in this game and I will take advantage of that easy choice.

Bills over Dolphins

The Bills are another team on a winning streak after a rough start to the season and I also see their streak getting up to five games with a win here on the road.

Ravens over Jets

Both of these teams are on a major downward decline at the moment. I still don’t think the Ravens are any good, but Ryan Fitzpatrick is self-destructing with the Jets and that won’t change any time soon.

Buccaneers over 49ers

Man, it’s a good thing the 49ers decided to make Colin Kaepernick their starter last week. If Blaine Gabbert was the starter, they probably would have scored 13 points instead of 16.

In all honesty, the 49ers are terrible no matter who is under center, but it doesn’t help when Kaepernick has shown major regression over the past several seasons.

Falcons over Chargers

The Falcons should be 5-1 right now were it not for a blatant missed call last week against Seattle. As it is, the Falcons have continued to look impressive on offense and should be able to burn the Chargers pretty easily on Sunday.

Patriots over Steelers

The Steelers just lost to the Dolphins by 15 points and will be missing Ben Roethlisberger this week.

Rob Gronkowski should tear the poor Steelers secondary apart.

Seahawks over Cardinals

The Cardinals are back at .500, but their last two wins have come against the 49ers and the Jets so it’s not like they have set the world on fire.

I think the Seahawks are just the better team and should win here on Sunday night.

Broncos over Texans

The week wraps up with Brock Osweiler playing against his former team. Unfortunately for the Texans, Osweiler has not been worth the $72 million investment and it should be an easy win for the Broncos this week.

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 6: 8-7

Overall: 52-40

Predicting Week 6 of the NFL season

Hello and welcome back to The Cowan Corner for a slightly-delayed week of NFL picks and predictions.

It’s been a busy week so let’s just get straight into the picks beginning with a division matchup on Thursday night.

Broncos over Chargers

It would have been hard to believe a few months ago, but the Broncos need Trevor Siemien back as soon as possible.

The Broncos struggled last week against a Falcons team which has played remarkably better than anyone expected. However, I am still picking the Broncos this week because the Chargers keep finding ways to blow games.

Bills over 49ers

A lot of people, including myself, wrote the Bills off after their 0-2 start to the season, but they are now 3-2 and seem like a legitimate playoff team.

They will extend their current winning streak to four games against a bad 49ers team.

Eagles over Redskins

The Eagles fell from the ranks of undefeated teams last week and rookie quarterback Carson Wentz threw the first pick of his NFL career in the game.

However, they should get back on track with a win on the road against the Redskins.

Titans over Browns

The Browns just have no luck on their side this season with quarterbacks dropping left and right.

It looks like Cody Kessler will be in action this week after suffering a rib injury, but Browns fans have to be concerned about their inability to keep quarterbacks on the field.

Giants over Ravens

Two weeks ago, I said the Ravens 3-0 start was entirely a product of the teams they played and two weeks later they are 3-2. Last week, they lost at home to an average-at-best Redskins team which furthered my point.

I expect their slide to continue on the road against the Giants.

Panthers over Saints

Cam Newton will be back in action for the Panthers this week and surely the Panthers are not as bad as their 1-4 start would have us believe, right?

I guess we will find out this week because, if they lose, their window will have already closed.

Bears over Jaguars

It says a lot about Jay Cutler’s Bears tenure when Brian Hoyer notably outperforms him.

I think Hoyer will do enough to beat a bad Jaguars team this week.

Rams over Lions

Both of these teams have been hot-and-cold all season so it is really hard to get a read on this game.

I will take the Rams and their solid defense to win this week.

Steelers over Dolphins

I see absolutely no way the Dolphins can win this game. Enough said.

Patriots over Bengals

This is Tom Brady’s first home game of the season and the crowd should be absolutely electric.

The Bengals will be going all-out after a disappointing display in Dallas last week, but the Patriots will get the win.

Raiders over Chiefs

The Raiders seem to have finally put all the pieces together and look like a top-10 team right now.

I also don’t trust the Chiefs right now, which makes my choice an easy one.

Seahawks over Falcons

The Falcons are a surprisingly good team this year and are actually 3-0 on the road to start the season.

However, they travel to Seattle this week, which is always a tough place to win and I think the hot streak of the Falcons will end here.

Cowboys over Packers

The Cowboys will have a tough decision when Tony Romo returns from injury considering how well Dak Prescott has handled himself at quarterback.

This week, I think the combo of Prescott and fellow rookie Ezekiel Elliot will be too much for the Packers to handle.

Texans over Colts

The Colts are just not a good team and I will take the Texans even without JJ Watt.

Cardinals over Jets

The Jets seemed like a contender this season, but they have gotten off to a disappointing 1-4 start. The loss of Eric Decker to a shoulder injury for the rest of the season will likely spell the end of their season.

The Cardinals will benefit from this as they will pick up the win and move back to .500.

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 5: 7-7

Overall: 44-33

Predicting Week 4 of the NFL season

Hello and welcome back to The Cowan Corner for another week of NFL picks and predictions.

It’s been an up-and-down year for me so far with the picks, but I see quite a few games this week that I am very confident about.

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

Bengals over Dolphins

I am currently 0-3 picking Thursday night games this season, but I feel pretty certain about this one.

The Dolphins have been very hit-and-miss so far this season and I feel like the Bengals will pull out all the stops to avoid a dangerous 1-3 start.

Colts over Jaguars

The AFC South is in very rough shape right now. The Jaguars are on pace for another sub-.500 season, the Texans will be without the best defensive player in the NFL and both the Colts and Titans feel extremely erratic and untrustworthy so far this season.

I could see the winner of this division being 9-7 at best. With that being said, I think the Colts are better and need to win games like this to have a shot at the playoffs.

Texans over Titans

Now we move on to the other half of the division. It is unclear exactly how much the loss of JJ Watt will affect the Houston defensive unit.

However, I still expect a Texans win here at home to maintain control of the division, especially after being embarrassed last Thursday against the Patriots.

Redskins over Browns

There’s still some life in the Redskins after beating the Giants last week. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of the Browns.

Just think, the Browns could have had Carson Wentz as the quarterback of the future, but decided Robert Griffin III was  a better option. Now, they still don’t have a quarterback and Wentz is tearing it up in Philadelphia.

Seahawks over Jets

Just when you think the Seahawks may not be as good as people thought, they blow the doors off the 49ers.

On the other hand, the Jets can’t really be trusted with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center which was made even more evident by his incredible six-pick performance on Sunday.

Patriots over Bills

This pick is being made under the assumption that Jimmy Garoppolo will be the starter Sunday. Even if he’s not, the Patriots will still find a way to win because Bill Belichick has consistently owned Buffalo.

Panthers over Falcons

Who would have thought the Falcons would be the team above .500 coming into this game? Unfortunately for Falcons fans, it won’t last long because the Panthers have the clear advantage in this game on both sides of the ball.

Raiders over Ravens

Do not let the Ravens 3-0 record fool you. They have played the Bills, Browns and Jaguars to open up the season and have won each of those games against weak opponents by less than a touchdown.

I am going with the Raiders to get the slight upset on the road here based on the weak schedule Baltimore has gotten so far.

Lions over Bears

Do I have to pick a winner here? This game will go a long way towards determining who finishes third in the NFC North this season.

I will pick against the Bears since they might be the worst team in football right now.

Broncos over Buccaneers

Trevor Siemian has proven he belongs as a starter in the NFL and he should have no problem cutting through a Buccaneers defense that just gave up 37 points to the Rams.

Cardinals over Rams

I guess the Cardinals aren’t as good as we thought they were after getting blown out by Buffalo Sunday. I still expect them to get back on track here against the Rams.

Chargers over Saints

It says a lot about the Chargers that two of their best players are out for the season with torn ACLs and they still nearly beat the Colts Sunday.

I think they will torch a bad Saints defense here and improve to 2-2 as the Saints remain winless thus far.

Cowboys over 49ers

Rookie Dak Prescott has given Cowboys fans plenty to be excited about even as Tony Romo continues to stay on the sidelines with various injuries.

The Cowboys will have more to be happy about this week when they win and improve to 3-1 on the season.

Steelers over Chiefs

This should be an interesting game to watch, especially with the return of Jamaal Charles to the field for the Chiefs.

I expect a close game, but the Steelers will edge it out.

Vikings over Giants

It’s a bit of a cliche in sports that defense wins championships. The Vikings will put that to the test this season as their stellar defense will have to carry the load with Adrian Peterson out for the year and Sam Bradford playing quarterback.

Time will tell if that is a formula which can work this season, but I expect it to continue to work here as they improve to 4-0.

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 3: 7-9

Overall: 28-20

Predicting Week 3 of the NFL season

Welcome back to the Cowan Corner for another round of NFL picks and predictions.

Last week, I missed big on some games, but was still able to salvage a 9-7 record. Now, we move on to Week 3 which is typically the point at which the true contenders begin to separate themselves from the pack.

Let’s get into this week’s picks.

Texans over Patriots

With the suprisingly good Jimmy Garoppolo potentially out for the game, I have to go with the Texans tough defense to dominate this Thursday night game.

Then again, I am 0-2 so far on Thursday nights this season so who knows what’s going to happen.

Cardinals over Bills

The Cardinals bounced back from a disappointing opening game to trounce the Buccaneers and they should get above .500 this week.

The Bills are a bit of a mess and I would not be surprised if Rex Ryan was fired by the end of the season.

Raiders over Titans

There is no home field advantage for the Titans these days as they went 1-7 at home in 2015 and 2014. The Raiders were disappointing last week against the Falcons, but look for them to get back on track here.

Dolphins over Browns

It’s amazing how the Browns keep fighting ways to make their fans suffer. For a while against the Ravens Sunday, it looked like the Browns might actually have a competent team.

However, reality set in as the Browns blew a 20-point lead and lost. Now, they have to play a Dolphins team which hasn’t looked bad thus far and 0-3 seems like a virtual certainty.

Ravens over Jaguars

I don’t really know what to make of either of these teams so far this season. However. I think the Ravens are better overall which is why I am taking them.

Packers over Lions

The Packers have won seven of their last 10 games against the Lions and I expect that trend to continue.

The Packers were slowed down by the Vikings defense last week, but I put more of that on how good the Vikings defense is than anything.

Bengals over Broncos

I wish Demarcus Ware a smooth and speedy recovery after suffering a fractured forearm Sunday. Ware is a fantastic defensive player and he will be sorely missed by the Broncos.

However, the Bengals will not miss him being out there and should ride their solid units on both sides of the ball to victory.

Panthers over Vikings

Without Adrian Peterson, the Vikings will need their defense to continue performing at a high level and will also need Sam Bradford to be a leader on offense.

I expect this game to be close, but the Panthers are the more well-rounded team and should win here.

Giants over Redskins

Remember when people were saying the Redskins are definitely a playoff team this year? Now they are 0-2 and have looked very disappointing in their losses.

The Giants, meanwhile, have looked very strong and the upgrades they made to their defense look like they are paying off. I expect both trends to continue here.

Buccaneers over Rams

The Buccaneers actually looked like a decent sleeper team before Doug Martin went down with an injury which will keep him out for three weeks. Despite that loss, I will still take the Buccaneers because the Rams still seem like a mess despite their shocking win over the Seahawks.

Seahawks over 49ers

Speaking of which, what happened to the Seahawks? They were supposed to be a Super Bowl contender and now they are 1-1 to start the year and have scored a combined 15 points in those games.

The offense has looked disappointing to say the least and will need to vastly improve for the team to have any shot of making it to the playoffs.

Jets over Chiefs

I think both of these teams are fringe playoff contenders and this game could have a major impact on the final standings come January.

I will take the Jets on the road, primarily because I have been more impressed with them overall to this point.

Colts over Chargers

In two weeks the Chargers have lost two of their best offensive weapons to ACL tears. First, Keenan Allen went down in Week 1 and then Sunday it was Danny Woodhead.

Without those two, it will be tough for Philip Rivers to get a good offense going for the season and I think the Colts will win here easily.

Steelers over Eagles

This will be the first true test of Carson Wentz and his ability to play quarterback in the NFL after torching the Browns and Bears to start his career.

This game should be a close one, but it will be difficult for the Eagles to keep pace with the offense of the Steelers.

Cowboys over Bears

There is no way I am picking this horrible Bears team over a Cowboys team which has looked pretty decent so far.

It really doesn’t help that Jay Cutler, average as he is, will likely not be playing and Chicago’s hopes will rest on Brian Hoyer under center.

Saints over Falcons

I expect this to be a fast-paced, high scoring shootout which will make for entertaining television even if neither team has much hope of making the 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 2: 9-7

Overall: 21-11

Predicting Week 2 of the NFL season

Welcome back to the Cowan Corner for another week of NFL picks and predictions.

Week 1 of the NFL season was crazy with four different games decided by a single point. Now, Week 2 is here and brings some more interesting matchups including our first division games of the season.

Without further ado, let’s get into the picks beginning with the Thursday night game.

Jets over Bills

The Jets had an impressive game to open the season against the Bengals and might have won were it not for a missed extra point by kicker Nick Folk early in the game.

That missed kick and a blocked field goal prior to that would cost the Jets dearly, but they should put the loss behind them with a win on the road against a struggling Bills team.

Panthers over 49ers

The 49ers surprised a lot of people, including myself, with their performance Monday against the Rams. However, they did a similar thing last year to open up the season against the Vikings and promptly had a terrible season.

I think the Panthers will get back on track after a disappointing loss to the Broncos to open up the season.

Redskins over Cowboys

I think the Redskins are just the better team here and at this point I trust Kirk Cousins as a quarterback more than I do Dak Prescott.

Bengals over Steelers

I’m admittedly very biased here, but I am going with the Bengals all the way here.

Giants over Saints

The last time these two teams met, there were a combined 91 points. I doubt there will be nearly that many this time, but the Giants should put up a lot against a Saints defense which will greatly miss cornerback Delvin Breaux.

Patriots over Dolphins

I don’t know which was more shocking in Week 1, Jimmy Garoppolo leading the Patriots to a win over the Cardinals without Rob Gronkowski or the Dolphins playing down to the wire with the Seahawks.

This game has potential to be interesting, but I highly doubt the Patriots will lose here.

Texans over Chiefs

Both of these teams have top-notch defense, but I will give the slight edge to the Texans. I just don’t trust the Chiefs because their comeback last week was impressive, but it also meant they fell far behind a bad Chargers team.

Lions over Titans

I don’t know what to think of either of these teams yet. However, the Lions looked like the much more impressive team this week in their victory over the Colts so I will go with them.

Ravens over Browns

Poor Browns fans. In the offseason, the Browns traded away a chance to pick Carson Wentz with the second overall pick, only to watch Wentz decimate their defense in his first career NFL game.

To top it off, Robert Griffin III suffered a shoulder injury and will miss the rest of the season. On the bright side, Browns fans can look forward to another high draft pick which will probably end up going to waste yet again.

Seahawks over Rams

Here’s a startling stat I read yesterday: a team coached by Jeff Fisher has not been over .500 since 2008. That’s eight years and counting of mediocrity and yet Fisher has had no trouble keeping a job in the NFL.

Unfortunately for Rams fans, the team’s debut in Los Angeles will likely not be a fun one as the Seahawks are looking to prove themselves after barely escaping with a victory against the Dolphins.

Cardinals over Buccaneers

The Cardinals loss to the Patriots Sunday was stunning and has shed some doubt about the chance of the Cardinals contending. However, I think they will right the ship for now.

I expect this to be a close game, but the Cardinals come away with the win.

Jaguars over Chargers

Look out, here come the Jaguars! Jacksonville fans have a lot to be excited about after their team came very close to beating the Packers in the first game of the season.

The Chargers, meanwhile, suffered a devastating defeat and are likely already dead in the water. Easy pick for me here.

Raiders over Falcons

I really enjoy watching the Raiders play and I think they will continue to be entertaining here in a very one-sided game.

Broncos over Colts

I think Andrew Luck is good for a few turnover against the Broncos defense and Trevor Siemen actually looked pretty good to start off the season.

The Broncos will need all the wins they can get to keep pace with the Chiefs and Raiders so I am going with them here.

Packers over Vikings

The Vikings put on a defensive clinic against the Titans, but the Packers should be a different story altogether.

If my options are choosing Aaron Rodgers or Shaun Hill, then my choice is incredibly easy.

Eagles over Bears

We’re 3-for-3 in unexciting Monday night games to start the season. I will probably tune in just to see how Wentz does in his second start. Otherwise, not much to see here.

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 1: 12-4

Overall: 12-4

Predicting Week 1 of the NFL season

Hello and welcome back to the Cowan Corner picks column where I run down the slate of NFL games for the week and tell you who I think will win.

For those who might be new to the column, I finished last year’s regular season at 156-100, but sputtered in the playoffs with a 3-8 record. Here’s hoping I can regain my momentum with a new season upon us.

The opening week of the NFL season usually yields interesting matchups as teams look to establish themselves as contenders early. Without further ado, let’s get into this week’s picks.

Panthers over Broncos

Leading off the 2016 season is the game which ended last season as a Super Bowl rematch headlines the first Thursday night game of the year.

The Broncos had one of the best defense in football history last year and that defense dominated the Super Bowl. However, the Broncos are a very different team this year on both sides of the ball.

Their defense will still be pretty good, but the Panthers have a huge edge on the offensive side of things with Cam Newton under center.

Packers over Jaguars

The Packers have been one of the best teams in the NFL for a while now and they face off with a young, but talented Jaguars team to start off the season.

I think the Jaguars could keep it close, but Aaron Rodgers and his team will come out victorious.

Ravens over Bills

Neither of these teams really has the making of a contender this season, but the Bills are in especially rough shape with the injuries and suspensions they are currently dealing with.

The Ravens are hard to beat at home and should pick up a victory to open the season here.

Texans over Bears

JJ Watt is expected to be back in action after sitting out the preseason following back surgery. Watt is one of several quality defenders for Houston and the defense of the Texans should decimate the Bears.

Eagles over Browns

RG3 is not the answer in Cleveland and he will be the latest in an unbelievably long list of bad Browns quarterbacks since 1999.

Eagles rookie Carson Wentz is an unproven commodity in the NFL at quarterback, but I’ll take that over Griffin and the Browns.

Buccaneers over Falcons

This was a coin-flip game for me as I really don’t see either team being very good, but I had to choose someone.

I will go with the Buccaneers who did show some promise over the course of last season.

Vikings over Titans

The injury to Teddy Bridgewater was a devastating one to the Vikings franchise, but the front office in Minnesota is hoping the addition of Sam Bradford will alleviate that issue for now.

I don’t think much of Bradford as an NFL quarterback, but the Vikings are still a better team than the Titans in just about every aspect so that makes my choice easy.

Bengals over Jets

This should be a very entertaining game as both teams are strong on both sides of the ball. The matchup to watch will likely be AJ Green going up against Darrelle Revis and I will give the slight edge to Green and the Bengals here.

Raiders over Saints

The Raiders were a team I greatly enjoyed watching last season and they should be entertaining again this year led by a young core of Khalil Mack, Derek Carr and Amari Cooper.

This game should be a high-scoring one, but I think the Raiders will have an edge with their defensive front.

Chiefs over Chargers

The Chiefs are a very good home team and should continue that trend as they open their season against a division rival.

The Chiefs are also on a four-game winning streak against the Chargers and I expect that trend to continue.

Seahawks over Dolphins

The Seahawks are still one of the best teams in the NFC and should open up their season with a big win at home against a Dolphins team which is somewhere in the middle of the AFC.

Colts over Lions

Injury or not, Andrew Luck was bad last season and will need to improve for the Colts to have any hope of a playoff berth.

However, the Lions are a bit of a mess per usual and the loss of Calvin Johnson to retirement will only increase their woes this season.

Giants over Cowboys

The injury to Tony Romo has forced rookie Dak Prescott into a rushed starting role and he will be joined by fellow rookie Ezekiel Elliot in the backfield.

Unfortunately for Cowboys fans, I doubt the young backfield will lead to success especially against a Giants team which spent a ton of money to improve their defensive unit.

Cardinals over Patriots

If Tom Brady was starting, I would have gone the other way here. Without Brady, there is no way I can pick the Patriots to put up enough points to beat a very well-rounded Cardinals team.

On the bright side, Patriots fans will get a chance to see if Jimmy Garoppolo has a future in the league.

Steelers over Redskins

The first of two Monday night games for this week brings us quite the mismatch. Even without suspended playmakers Le’Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant, the Steelers should win this game easily.

Rams over 49ers

Who is choosing these Monday night games? This is another mismatch and one that doesn’t really make a lot of sense unless the Rams were making their Los Angeles debut.

However, this game will instead be played in San Francisco and should be another lopsided affair to close out the 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.

Predicting the Super Bowl

By Sam Cowan

After 266 total games, the NFL season all comes down to this.

For the third year in a row, the No. 1 seeds for each conference will meet up to determine the champion of the football world.

After finishing the regular season 56 games above .500, I’ve hit a stumbling block in the playoffs with a 3-7 record heading into the final game. Here’s hoping I can close out the season with a win.

Without further ado, here is my extended, slightly rambling prediction on what will happen.

Panthers over Broncos

These two teams have taken slightly different paths to the big game.

The Denver Broncos have made a living off winning close games. They set a record for most wins by seven points or less in a single season with an 11-3 record including both of their playoff games thus far.

Denver was led by its defense which allowed the fewest yards of any team in the NFL. However, the offense of Denver finished just 16th in the NFL in yards gained with Peyton Manning having one of the worst overall years of his career.

The Carolina Panthers also had some close games throughout the year, but were bolstered by blowouts during the season. Nine of the Panther’s wins this season were by double digits including a 35-point thrashing of the Cardinals in the NFC championship game.

Cam Newton came into his own as a quarterback this season, leading a Panthers offense which led the NFL in points scored. The defense of the Panthers was also top-notch and finished sixth in yards allowed this season.

In 1975, the NFL began basing home-field advantage for playoff games off regular season records. This year’s Super Bowl will be just the 12th matchup between two No. 1 seeds since the change. Historically, the history of 1-seeds facing each other favors the Panthers as the NFC has won eight of the previous 11 matchups.

Nine of the 11 1-seed games have also been decided by double digits, which is another factor in favor of the Panthers.

With that being said, I have to go with the Panthers here. Every single historical precedent favors them and as good as the Broncos defense is, it will be difficult for the Broncos to overcome an offense that often becomes stagnant.

Maybe I’ll be wrong. Maybe Peyton Manning finds a way to drag himself and the offense down the field for a few touchdowns. Maybe the defense steps up big and forces Newton to throw a few interceptions.

However, I don’t see it happening. I see the Panthers powering through the Broncos on offense and the defense of Carolina shutting down pretty much anything the Denver offense tries.

This game won’t be as bad as the Seahawks-Broncos Super Bowl from 2014, but it won’t be close either.

Final Score: 34-17, Panthers

Regular season: 156-100

Postseason: 3-7