Predicting Week 8 of the NFL season

By Sam Cowan

Last week was fairly uneventful with the Panthers and Patriots remaining undefeated, the other three undefeated teams having the week off and most of the results being fairly predictable.

With that said, let’s move on to this week, which should provide a lot of interest with a huge Sunday night game to cap everything off.

Patriots over Dolphins

The Dolphins have caught fire the last two weeks, but they did it against the Titans and the Texans. Talk to me when they beat a decent team. The Patriots win an easy home game here.

Chiefs over Lions

This is our third and final London game of the season. It’s always amazing how the teams that get signed up to go to London are never contenders.

Falcons over Buccaneers

I still have no idea what to think of the Falcons. They haven’t really beaten anyone good, but they’re still clear contenders based on their record. The Falcons string of winnable games continues here against the hapless Buccaneers.

Cardinals over Browns

The Cardinals have the makings of a Super Bowl contender. However, they need to win their division to have a shot. The good news for Cardinals fans is that the Seahawk’s early struggles have given them a huge early lead.

Rams over 49ers

Todd Gurley has quickly become one of the most entertaining players in the NFL and the Rams have silently become a playoff contender. They should take care of business against a 49ers team that looks lost week-to-week.

Saints over Giants

I thought the Saints were dead in the water after Week 5. Now, they’re a winnable game away from being at .500 and I have them winning in the Superdome.

Vikings over Bears

Add the Vikings to the list of wild card hopefuls in the NFC. They’re not going to catch the Packers, but they will definitely be in the playoff hunt.

Ravens over Chargers

This looked like an exciting at the beginning of the season. Now, it’s a game between two teams that have no absolutely no shot this season and fell apart out of nowhere. I have to go with the home team on principle here.

Bengals over Steelers

Andy Dalton and the Bengals have survived every test so far this season. Even with Ben Roethlisberger playing, I think the Bengals will come out on top and set a new franchise record for most consecutive wins.

Texans over Titans

This is, by far, the most skippable game of 2015. There is nothing else to say about it.

Jets over Raiders

I love watching both of these teams play right now and will likely make a point of watching this game in full. I’ll pick the Jets because they nearly beat the Patriots last week.

Seahawks over Cowboys

Will the Cowboys win a game without Tony Romo? I think the answer will still be “no” after this game.

Packers over Broncos

This is the must-watch game of the week. One of these teams will lose their first game of the season. I give the slight edge to the Packers because Aaron Rodgers is playing at such a high level and I don’t think Peyton Manning can do enough to match him.

Panthers over Colts

The AFC South is the new NFC South because the winner could very likely finish below .500 on the season.

That will wrap things up for this week. Come back next time to see where I was right and where I was wrong here at the Cowan Corner.

Week 7: 10-4

Overall: 67-38

Predicting Week 7 of the NFL season

By Sam Cowan

As we enter Week 7 of the NFL season, there are five undefeated teams, the most in the history of the league this far into the season.

Last week, four of those five teams won by a touchdown or less to continue an unprecedented start to the year. This week, the Bengals, Broncos and Packers all have byes, but the Panthers and Patriots will be competing to keep their perfect runs alive.

With that, let’s go into my picks for Week 7 beginning with a Thursday night game between two less than perfect teams.

Seahawks over 49ers

I was shocked when Cam Newton connected with Greg Olsen for a game-winning touchdown against the Seahawks on Sunday. Now, I think this is a must-win game for the Seahawks if they want to win their division this season.

Bills over Jaguars

This is our second London game of the season. The Bills are 2-0 when coming off losses so far this season so I think they will win here. If only they could figure out a way to win multiple games in a row.

Redskins over Buccaneers

Two teams with subpar quarterbacks going at it. This game will not be a classic by any means.

Falcons over Titans

Even coming off a bad loss to the Saints, I have to give the Falcons the nod because the Titans are just terrible on both sides of the ball and they are not getting better anytime soon.

Colts over Saints

Kudos to the Colts for not getting blown out like many predicted they would. Andrew Luck has benefited from terrible division competition over the last several years and the team should be able to widen their lead with a win here.

Vikings over Lions

Matthew Stafford has been in the NFL for seven years. If he isn’t a good quarterback by now, he never will be.

Unfortunately for the Lions, he is not a good quarterback and the Vikings defense should eat him alive in this game.

Steelers over Chiefs

It doesn’t matter who the Steelers start at quarterback, they just keep on winning. Were it not for Josh Scobee’s leg, the Steelers would be 5-1 right now.

They will pick up their fifth win of the season here against a hurting Chiefs team.

Rams over Browns

This might be the game to watch during the Sunday afternoon slate. Two frisky teams who have played well the last couple of weeks.

I’ll take the Rams because of their solid home field advantage.

Dolphins over Texans

The Dolphins defense actually played like the studs they were supposed to be last week. This game will be a test to see if that game was a mirage or if they are now for real.

Patriots over Jets

Expect Darrelle Revis to come up with some big plays in his return to Foxborough. However,  the Patriots should win comfortably in their friendly confines.

Chargers over Raiders

Both of these teams have had up-and-down seasons to this point in the year. I have the Chargers winning a close game here.

Giants over Cowboys

Try as they might, the Cowboys cannot get me excited about Matt Cassel starting an NFL game in 2015. I think the Giants will win by a landslide.

Panther over Eagles

The Panthers will join the ranks of the 6-0 teams this season with a Sunday night game against the Eagles. The team’s true test to win the division will come when they have to play the Falcons for the first time in Week 15.

Cardinals over Ravens

The Raven’s dramatic fall from grace will continue with a blowout loss to a Cardinals team that has firm control of the NFC West right now.

With that, another week comes to a close. Come back next week for more discussion and analysis of the NFL season here on the Cowan Corner.

Week 6: 8-6

Overall: 57-34

Predicting Week 6 of the NFL season

By Sam Cowan

You never know what you’re going to get in the NFL on a week-to-week basis.

Week 5 saw three overtime games, home teams going a dismal 6-8, a team coming back from a 17-point fourth quarter deficit for the first time since 2010 and a rare walk-off touchdown in regulation to cap off the week.

Now we move on to Week 6, which probably won’t be as crazy, but you never know what could happen. Here are my picks.

Falcons over Saints

I think at least one of the six undefeated teams will lose this week. However, I don’t think the Falcons will be that team.

Atlanta’s time will come eventually, but Matt Ryan and Davonta Freeman will have no trouble running all over this Saints team.

Bengals over Bills

Through five games, Andy Dalton is averaging 300 yard per game and has more than five times as many touchdown passes as interceptions. The last two quarterbacks to do that through five games in the Super Bowl era are Aaron Rodgers in 2011 and Peyton Manning in 2013.

Needless to say, Dalton is having the best year of his career and that combined with the news of Tyrod Taylor missing time with an MCL sprain has me picking the Bengals.

Jets over Redskins

The Jets are back in America and primed to dominate a bad Redskins team.

Cardinals over Steelers

I will admit to being surprised by Michael Vick’s success as a starting quarterback for the Steelers. Was it not for Josh Scobee hooking a couple field goal tries, the Steelers would be 2-0 with Vick at the helm.

However, the Cardinals are just a better team and even in Pittsburgh, I have to choose Arizona to win.

Vikings over Chiefs

Jamaal Charles’ ACL tear ended his season and basically killed any hope that the Chiefs had this season. In contrast, the Vikings have the look of a fringe playoff team and have yet to lose at home this season.

Lions over Bears

The Lions are the NFL’s only winless team after five weeks. I think they will pick up their first win of the season at home against a bad Bears team.

If the Lions lose, Matthew Stafford’s job could very well be in jeopardy.

Broncos over Browns

Say what you will about Peyton Manning’s arm this season, the Broncos defense is no joke and could single-handedly bring them a first-round bye.

Browns won last week in an overtime thriller, but stand little chance against this Broncos team.

Jaguars over Texans

Probably the most entertaining part of Thursday night’s game was the shots of Ryan Mallett looking disgruntled on the sidelines.

We will probably get more of those shots as the Texans dig themselves a deeper hole in the division.

Dolphins over Titans

I’ll take the Dolphins here because the Titans are just as much of a mess and the Dolphins have a better defense.

Seahawks over Panthers

The Panthers will fall from the ranks of undefeated in Seattle. The Seahawks are coming off an overtime loss in which they led by as much as 17 points.

Coming off that loss, I expect the Seahawks to come out determined and focus.

Packers over Chargers

It’s Aaron Rodgers at home. Need I say more?

Ravens over 49ers

Remember when the Ravens were a trendy Super Bowl pick? Now, they’ll barely scrape by a pretty bad 49ers team.

Patriots over Colts

Tom Brady’s going to be playing to kill due to all the fallout from Deflategate that started with a game against the Colts. Even if Andrew Luck plays, I don’t see much hope for the Colts here.

Giants over Eagles

Giants have by far the best team in their division and a win here will solidify their first place standing.

Whatever the next week of action brings, come back next week for more discussion of the week that was and what is to come at the Cowan Corner.

Week 5: 8-6

Overall: 49-28

Predicting Week 5 of the NFL season

By Sam Cowan

I thought for sure my streak of correct Thursday night predictions would come to an end against the Steelers last week.

Then, Josh Scobee shanked a couple of field goals and the Ravens somehow clawed back to win as I improved to 4-0 on Thursdays.

That win was the beginning of another successful week of predictions at the Cowan Corner as I went 11-4 on the week. Now, I look to continue that run of good fortune with an interesting slate of games coming up.

Let’s start with the Thursday night game for this week.

Texans over Colts

Even if Andrew Luck plays, I don’t see a win here for the boys in blue. The AFC South is a wide-open race at the moment and I see the Texans picking up a key win at home here to bring themselves even with the Colts.

Bengals over Seahawks

This is the first real test for a Bengals team that looks as strong as any team in the Marvin Lewis era. The Seahawks are traveling cross-country on a short week and are coming off a game in which they needed a fumble on the one-yard line to beat the winless Lions.

I expect this game to be a comfortable Bengals win to put the Bengals at 5-0 for the first time since 1988.

Chiefs over Bears

The Chiefs 1-3 record is deceiving because those three losses were a heartbreaker to the Broncos, a loss in Lambeau Field to the Packers and a loss to the aforementioned Bengals.

Meanwhile, the Bears somehow beat a good-looking Raiders team on a last minute field goal. I’ll take the Chiefs here, mainly because Andy Reid is a master of beating bad teams.

Falcons over Redskins

Falcons will remain undefeated this season with an easy home win and the Redskins will lose to add more intrigue to the NFC East race.

Jaguars over Buccaneers

No one wins in this battle of bad Florida teams. I’ll take the Jaguars on the road because they have actually showed flashes of competence with a win over the Dolphins and an overtime loss to the Colts.

Saints over Eagles

Neither of these teams are very good, but I’ll take the Saints because they have a pretty good quarterback in Drew Brees. That’s more than the Eagles can say right now.

Ravens over Browns

Ravens are hard to beat at home and Josh McCown is not capable enough to beat them here.

Packers over Rams

I will say I was shocked that the Rams beat the Cardinals in Arizona. However, playing the Packers at home is a completely different animal.

Bill over Titans

I know the Bills just suffered an embarrassing loss at home to the Giants, but I also know that the Titans are not a good team.

On the bright side, Marcus Mariota still looks like a promising NFL quarterback.

Cardinals over Lions

The Lions winless woes will continue here against a motivated Cardinals team. The Lions will win at some point, just not this week.

Patriots over Cowboys

The Patriots have steamrolled everybody they’ve faced so far this season and the Cowboys will be no different. My question is if the Cowboys will win any games before Tony Romo returns to the field.

Broncos over Raiders

It’s Peyton Manning in a division game against a team who just lost to the Bears. Even in Oakland this was an easy decision for me to make.

Giants over 49ers

Man, if it weren’t for those terrible collapses in the first two games of the season, the Giants would be sitting pretty at the top of their division. As it is, I expect them to jump into sole possession of first place in the NFC East with a win on Sunday night.

Chargers over Steelers

To cap off Week 5 in the NFL, I expect Philip Rivers and the Chargers to easily handle the Steelers in a Monday night encounter which would have been much more interesting before the Ben Roethlisberger injury.

Come back next week for more discussion on the week that was and predictions on what is to come in the NFL.

Week 4: 11-4

Overall: 41-22

Predicting Week 4 of the NFL season

By Sam Cowan

Welcome back for another week of NFL prognostication at the Cowan Corner.

Week 3 of the NFL season was my most successful yet this year with a 12-4 record and I’m back to see if I can repeat that performance this week.

Without further ado, let’s get to Week 4 starting with an interesting Thursday night encounter.

Ravens over Steelers

Prior to the Roethlisberger injury, I would have taken the Steelers without question. Now, I think the Ravens run defense is too good and Michael Vick is not the type of passer who can take advantage of a bad Baltimore pass defense.

The Ravens will take a very physical division game here.

Jets over Dolphins

No home-field advantage in this game as both teams travel to London.

The Dolphins just got stomped by the Bills and are the clear weak link in the AFC East this season. The Jets will win here on the back of their stellar defense.

Bengals over Chiefs

This has potential to be a trap game for the Bengals with the Seahawks coming to town next week. However, I don’t see a loss here because the Bengals are better on both ends of the ball.

Colts over Jaguars

What is wrong with the Colts this season?

The Colts needed a late rally to beat the lowly Titans on Sunday and Andrew Luck has turned into a turnover machine.

Despite that, the Colts will continue to benefit from playing in the worst division in football with a win against the struggling Jaguars on Sunday.

Bills over Giants

I predict Eli Manning to throw his first pick of the season in front of the raucous Buffalo crowd and the Bills defense to smother the Giants all day.

Panthers over Buccaneers

The Panthers will continue their undefeated season as Cam Newton continues to carry this team on his back.

On the other side, the Buccaneers will lose their 11th straight home game stretching back to 2013. The Buccaneers have not won a home game since Dec 8, 2013

Falcons over Texans

Meanwhile, the Falcons will keep pace with the Panthers with a win here against a Texans team without an identity.

JJ Watt may be the best player in the NFL, but not even he can help this team right now.

Eagles over Redskins

The NFC East is anyone’s to win right now with the injury to Tony Romo. I think the Eagles take this one only because they are much less of a mess then the Redskins right now.

Raiders over Bears

Maybe getting blown out by the Bengals in Week 1 was exactly what the Raiders needed. The Raiders have followed that loss with wins against the Ravens and Browns and now get the chance to play arguably the worst team in football.

Look on the bright side, Bears fan. You’ve got a great shot at the No. 1 overall pick and the NFL Draft is coming back to Chicago next year.

Chargers over Browns

I don’t know what to think of the Chargers this season. They looked like a team on a mission against the Lions, played very competitively against the Bengals two weeks ago and then got blown out by the Vikings on Sunday.

I still feel confident picking the Chargers because they are back at home and the Browns are going nowhere this season.

Packers over 49ers

Vegas has the Packers as 9.5-point favorites and I think that might be a little generous. This game will probably be over by the third quarter as the massive mismatch at quarterback will allow the Packers to dominate.

Cardinals over Rams

The NFC West is a two-team race this year and the Cardinals hold the early edge. I think they maintain that edge with a convincing win at home against the Rams.

Broncos over Vikings

Even after blowing out the Chargers, I can’t pick the Vikings over the Broncos here. The Broncos defense is way too solid and Peyton Manning is still among the top-tier quarterbacks in the league.

Saints over Cowboys

Even if Drew Brees doesn’t play, I still think the Saints take this game. The Cowboys are a one-dimensional team without Romo and Dez Bryant and Luke McCown actually looked pretty competent against the Panthers on Sunday.

Seahawk over Lions

The Lions will continue their winless ways on Monday night against a game Seahawks team. The one solace they can take is that they might score unlike the Bears.

With that, another picks column comes to an end. Join me next week for more thoughts and analysis of the week that was and the week that will be in the NFL

Week 3: 12-4

Overall: 30-18

Predicting Week 3 of the NFL season

By Sam Cowan

Welcome back to the Cowan Corner for my Week 3 NFL picks.

For the second week in a row I finished with a 9-7 record last week and I remained winless on Monday nights. This week I hope to change that with an easy pick for Monday, but more on that later.

Let’s get down to the picks starting with our Thursday night game.

Giants over Redskins

The injuries to Tony Romo and Dez Bryant combined with the poor play of the Eagles has opened the door for either of these teams to win the NFC East.

I think the Giants will take care of business at home after two straight weeks of late-game collapses.

Ravens over Bengals

The Ravens are better than their 0-2 start implies. This is also the first home game for the Ravens and I expect them to play well in front of their fans.

The Bengals will put up a fight and the game will be close, but Joe Flacco and John Harbaugh should take this one.

Falcons over Cowboys

Whether Matt Cassel or Brandon Weeden starts for the Cowboys, it doesn’t affect my pick. The Falcons find themselves as potential contenders early in the year and the Cowboys have no offensive weapons for a few weeks.

Colts over Titans

Andrew Luck has looked average at best in his first two starts, but that may have been a factor of the defenses that he played rather than a reflection of his skill.

The Colts will pick up their first win of the season against a mediocre Titans team.

Raiders over Browns

I still don’t trust Johnny Manziel as an NFL quarterback and the Raiders are coming off a big upset of the Ravens.

Even in Cleveland, I have to take the Raiders.

Update: Josh McCown has returned as the starter for the Browns this week and Johnny Manziel has been benched. My pick remains the same

Patriots over Jaguars

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are going to carve up another defense. This one will probably be over by the third quarter.

Panthers over Saints

It’s looking like a two-horse race for the NFC South title this year with the Panthers and Falcons. Saints struggle on the road even when they’re good and that will not change in this game.

Jets over Eagles

The Jets might make the playoffs based on their defense alone. Meanwhile, if you listen closely, you can hear the angry ranting of Philadelphia fans echoing in the distance.

It’s going to be a long season for the Eagles and their fans if the first two games are any indication.

Texans over Buccaneers

If I keep picking the Texans, they’ll eventually win, right?

All joking aside, Jameis Winston still has a lot to prove and he is going up against the best defensive player in the NFL on Sunday.

Chargers over Vikings

Chargers barely lost against the Bengals in Cincinnati and the Vikings have not been the most impressive over the past two weeks. I would expect Philip Rivers to have a solid bounce-back game here.

Rams over Steelers

This was my toughest pick of the week. I expect both of these teams to be contending for playoff spots at the end of the season.

I decided to go with the Rams here because they are very hard to beat at home as the Seahawks found out in Week 1.

Cardinals over 49ers

The Cardinals season lives and dies on Carson Palmer’s body not falling apart. To this point, Palmer has played well and stayed healthy.

I expect that to continue against a 49ers team that got blown out by the Steelers last week.

Bills over Dolphins

The Bills were unable to beat the Patriots on Sunday, but the game was very close and the Bills have catapulted into the spotlight as a trendy playoff pick.

The Dolphins, meanwhile, are in danger of finishing in last place in the AFC East for the first time since 2011.

Seahawks over Bears

Of the nine teams that currently sit at 0-2, the Seahawks are arguably the most surprising. I expect the Seahawks to pick up their first win of the year against a bad Bears team.

The Bears have given up the most points of any team since 2013.

Broncos over Lions

You never bet against Peyton Manning in night games.

Packers over Chiefs

The Packers are dominant at home and look to be an offensive juggernaut even without Jordy Nelson. The Chiefs are coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Broncos and struggle outside of Kansas City.

That’s it for this week. Join me next week for more predictions and thoughts on the week that was in the NFL.

Week 2: 9-7

Overall: 18-14

Predicting Week 2 of the NFL season

By Sam Cowan

Welcome back for the next set of picks for the upcoming week in the NFL.

The inaugural picks column started off strong through Sunday last week. Then, I completely whiffed on the Monday night games and had to settle for a 9-7 record.

Still, we’re starting off the year above .500 and that’s always a good thing.

Without further ado, let’s get to the action.

Broncos over Chiefs

Peyton Manning isn’t going to go two straight weeks without a touchdown pass and the Broncos defense mauled the Ravens last week. The same should happen here on the Thursday night game.

Bengals over Chargers

The Bengals picked up a win on the road last week in the first victory in Oakland in franchise history. Now, they return to Cincinnati for their first home game.

It will be a close game, but the Bengals come up on top.

Texans over Panthers

Cam Newton has no one to throw too and JJ Watt is the master of everything.

Steelers over 49ers

I underestimated the 49ers last week. However, now they are on the road and facing a much better offensive unit in the Steelers.

If they prove me wrong again, I’ll start looking at them more seriously.

Saints over Buccaneers

Winston looked generally unimpressive against the Titans in his NFL debut.

While Drew Brees is on his last legs, he’s still better than Winston at the moment.

Vikings over Lions

The Viking were the only team that didn’t score a touchdown last week. At the same time, the Lions are bad on the road and coming off a loss in which they blew an 18-point lead.

I’ll take the home team, but I will avoid watching this game at all costs.

Cardinals over Bears

The Bears put up a surprising fight last week against the Packers, but they are playing another playoff-caliber team here and I expect the same result.

Patriots over Bills

This was my toughest choice of the week. The Bills looked great against the Colts and might actually have something in Tyrod Taylor.

That doesn’t change the fact that Tom Brady dominates the AFC East and I don’t think that will change. However, don’t be surprised if this one comes down to the wire.

Titans over Browns

I firmly believe Marcus Mariota has a bright future ahead of him in the NFL and proved it with his four touchdowns and no interception on Sunday.  Johnny Manziel, on the other hand, has yet to prove he belongs on an NFL field.

Both of those trends should continue.

Falcons over Giants

The Giants should still be recovering from that incredible collapse Sunday night and the Falcons are still flying high after a win on Monday.

Rams over Redskins

Kirk Cousins is 2-8 as a starter for his career. The Rams just beat the defending NFC champions. My choice here was incredibly easy.

Dolphins over Jaguars

Neither of these teams is going anywhere this season, but the Dolphins are definitely the better team.

Ravens over Raiders

It was an incredibly tough break for the Raiders with Derek Carr’s hand injury. The fact that they are playing two straight playoff teams to start the year doesn’t help matters.

Ravens will pick up their first win of the season here.

Cowboys over Eagles

Even without Dez Bryant, the Cowboys have enough weapons to beat the Eagles.

Let the countdown begin until Philadelphia fans start calling for Chip Kelly’s head.

Packers over Seahawks

The road back to the Super Bowl will be a difficult one for the Seahawks as I now think they start 0-2. Ending the holdout of Kam Chancellor is a must for them to have any shot of making it back.

Colts over Jets

I’ll take Andrew Luck over Ryan Fitzpatrick in prime time, thank you very much.

With that, another column comes to a close. Come back next week for more analysis and predictions of what is to come in the NFL.

Week  1: 9-7

Overall: 9-7

Predicting Week 1 of the NFL season

Welcome to the first-ever Cowan Corner picks column, where I give the run-down of the NFL slate for the week and tell you who might come out on top.

The opening week of the 2015 NFL season brings us two contenders clashing on Thursday, two top rookie picks facing off and division rivals butting heads in several games. Without further ado, let’s get into the picks.

Patriots over Steelers

Prior to Friday, I had the Steelers taking this one home easily. Now, there is no way I can pick against the Patriots.

The crowd for the season opener in Foxborough is going to be ridiculous as they cheer on their conquering hero, Tom Brady. The game has the potential to turn ugly if the Steelers don’t come to play.

Packers over Bears

Rivalry or no, the Packers are clearly the better team and should win easily on the road. The Packers should be considered a favorite to win the NFC and will start their season strong here.

Texans over Chiefs

Vegas is showing an even score line this game and I agree with it. The game could go either way, but I can’t in the right mind pick Alex Smith on the road against JJ Watt.

Texans win a close game here.

Browns over Jets

Two mediocre quarterbacks go head-to-head to open the season! In the battle of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh McCown, I have McKown doing just enough to lead the Browns to victory.

Colts over Bills

As much as I admire the Bills for giving career back-up quarterback Tyrod Taylor a starting position this season, there is no way I can pick the Bills over Andrew Luck.

Dolphins over Redskins

In my opinion, having Kirk Cousins as the starter gives the Redskins a better chance to win than Robert Griffin III.

It isn’t much of a chance, but it’s a chance nonetheless. Dolphins still pick up a road win to start the season.

Panthers over Jaguars

Expect Cam Newton to have a good game to start the season and the Jaguars to kick off another year of mediocrity.

Seahawks over Rams

The Seahawks begin what should be another successful campaign with a division win on the road.

The more important story is whether or not Kam Chancellor will rejoin the team. If his holdout keeps going for too long, it might cost the Seahawks games later in the season.

Cardinals over Saints

If Carson Palmer doesn’t blow out his knee again, the Cardinals have a chance to be top contenders this year.

Otherwise, expect another early playoff exit this year if they make the playoffs at all.

Chargers over Lions

Phillip Rivers should have no trouble picking apart the Lions defense. The Lions are a team that has consistently underachieved the last few years and I expect that trend to continue this year.

Bengals over Raiders

Teams from the Eastern time zone have a poor history on the west coast. However, the Bengals seem primed for another playoff run and I don’t see them losing to the Raiders here.

Buccaneers over Titans

The professional careers of Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota begin with this game. This game is very important for both franchises.

I have the Buccaneers winning here because they are playing at home and because I think their team is better overall.

Broncos over Ravens

It doesn’t matter how old he is or who he has playing around him, Peyton Manning is still one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.

Peyton gets to start his 18th pro season at home and I have him winning here to begin another playoff run.

Cowboys over Giants

The Cowboys have no running game to speak of, but they have one of the best offensive lines in football and a solid quarterback in Tony Romo.

They can ride those two factors to a win on Sunday night against a major rival in the Giants.

Eagles over Falcons

This season will go one of two ways for the Eagles. Either the team will go 12-4 and Chip Kelly will be lauded as a genius or they’ll go 4-12 and Kelly will be run out of town by the Philadelphia fans.

I’m thinking the former happens and that will start with a win on Monday night.

Vikings over 49ers

The final game of Week 1 pits a returning Adrian Peterson against the depleted 49ers defense.

I predict the game to be competitive, but the 49ers don’t have anyone left who can stop Peterson up the middle consistently.

Check back next Wednesday for more NFL picks and thoughts on the week that was in football.