Week 8 NFL Picks

This is the time in the NFL season where you really start to have a good feel for who teams actually are. Perhaps, teams haven’t reached their potential per se, but we can see what they want to be and what they are trying be. This is also the time of the season when we tend to forget about a team or two, who’s under the radar, not really grabbing anyone’s attention; but the potential is there for them to all of a sudden be right in the mix in a few weeks. Maybe it’s the Chargers or Titans or Packers or Bengals or Ravens. I’m not sure, but you know that there will be a couple “surprise” teams that come Thanksgiving are just sitting in the middle of the playoff race and we can’t remember how they got there. Week 8 has some games that could impact the teams that might be in that boat.

Last week, your boy won you some money!! Against the spread, I was 8-5-1 (44-42-5 for the year) and straight up I was 11-3 (60-30 for the year). You’re welcome. Let’s see what we got this week:

Big Time Games

New Orleans (+1) at Minnesota

If this is a shootout — and nothing tells me it won’t be, give me the Saints. I trust Drew Brees in a game like this over Kirk Cousins. Saints, 30-27

Green Bay (+9) at Rams

The Rams will get anything they want against this Packers defense. But don’t dismiss Aaron Rodges against the Rams D. That secondary isn’t completely healthy and hasn’t been uber impressive this year. Brace for a shootout and take the over. Rams, 41-34

Philadelphia (-3.5) v. Jacksonville

Philly was a measly fourth quarter away from beating the Panthers and being 4-3. As it is, though, they blew the lead and can’t shake this stigma of not being able to put together a complete game on a consistent basis this year. But the Jags are in some turmoil and could be on the brink of something worse. Eagles, 24-20

Baltimore (-2.5) at Carolina

Put me on the side of thinking neither of these two teams is a very good. Yes, the Ravens hung with the Saints, and Panthers are 4-2 and just had an epic fourth quarter comeback in Philadelphia. I’m just not a believer in either one. This should be a low scoring game with a premium placed on running the ball, controlling the clock, and not turning the ball over. Baltimore has athletes to contain Cam, and they’re 5th in the NFL in time of possession. Ravens, 24-21

There’s a Reason to Tune In

Jets (+7) at Chicago

The Jets have a good defense that can give problems to Mitchell Trubisky. There’s a lot of potential for this one to be very tight. I expect a defensive struggle — something we don’t see much of anymore. Bears, 20-17

Denver at Kansas City (-10)

Let me get this straight: the Broncos get ramrodded by the Rams and Jets running games for two straight weeks, but then get right and beat the God-awful Cardinals so they feel good and decide to throw some big “cocaine-filled” party? Oh, also they seem to be wiling to trade team captain Demaryius Thomas. That’s great. Forget that you still have no quarterback or head coach. This thing in Denver is on the verge of complete collapse. Chiefs, 42-13

Cleveland (+8) at Pittsburgh

Cleveland is in every game. They might not be be all that good, but no one blows them out — they could realistically have four ties on the year!! I don’t think either team is good enough to back an 8-point spread. Steelers, 30-27

Seattle at Detroit (-3)

The Lions seem to have found their running back, finally, in Kerryon Johnson. I don’t have a lot of faith in Seattle going on the road. Detroit has more weapons and I don’t see the Seahawks keeping up. Lions, 27-20

Tampa Bay at Cincinnati (-4.5)

Expect a bounce-back for the Bengals, coming off back-to-back losses. Tampa’s defense struggles and going on the road won’t help matters. Bengals, 30-21

Washington (-1) at Giants

Usually these divisional games are tight and nasty and you just hope to come away with the win no matter how you get it. But the Giants are atrocious, and if Washington wants to be the class of the NFC East, they win this game and make a statement. The Redskins defense should be able to get after Eli. Redskins, 24-17

There’s No Reason to Tune In

San Francisco at Arizona (-1)

I can’t believe I have to pick this game. I’ll keep it brief. The Cards might be the absolute worst team in the league. It’s hard to find something they do well. At least the Niners can run the ball, and against the Arizona defense, they should be able to move up and down the field and control the clock. Plus, I give Kyle Shanahan the advantage over Steve Wilks. 49ers, 23-20

Miami (+7.5) at Houston

I don’t know what it is, but Vegas loves Houston. For the second straight week, the Texans are giving an inordinate amount of points. DeShaun Watson’s lung is busted and the o-line stinks. Too many issues for me to take Houston to cover. Texans, 23-17

Indianapolis (-3) at Oakland

I’m convinced Jon Gruden does not want to win this year. He denies it and that’s fine. But this team is more interested in getting the top pick in the draft. Gruden’s already on to 2019. Colts, 34-24

New England (-13.5) at Buffalo

Whoever plays QB for the Bills is going to have a tall order because Bill Belichick isn’t going to make life easy for them. On the offensive side for the Patriots, Tom Brady should be able to get anything he wants at any time in this one. Patriots, 31-13


Thanks for reading. Subscribe to the Sports Talk Center blog and you can receive emails when content is updated. Also, follow me on Twitter @brian22goodwin. You can also subscribe and download the Sports Talk Center Podcast, wherever you get your podcasts from: Apple iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play, or Spotify. Just subscribe, download, listen, and enjoy.

Listen to Ep. 90, “Week 8 Preview” right here:

Listen to Episode 89, “The Amari Cooper Trade & My CFB Rankings” right here:

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College Football Power Rankings: Stop with Michigan

If you listen to my podcast, you are aware that I’m not buying the Michigan stock despite their win at East Lansing over the weekend and their good fortune of Ohio State losing at Purdue, putting the Wolverines in sole possession of first place in the Big Ten’s East Division. My eyes, however, tell me all I need to know. And what I know is that U-M is far from a top 4 team in the country.

  1. Alabama: This is an easy one. Did you think it was going to be anyone else. Oh, and give Tua the Heisman already.
  2. Clemson: The Tigers haven’t looked great in every game, but that’s ok. They’re still clearly the second best team in the land.
  3. LSU: The “other” Tigers have been very impressive this season, and Coach O’s boys have the most dominant win of the year when they rolled up last year’s National runner up, Georgia, 36-16.
  4. Georgia: Aside from the LSU loss, the Bulldogs are not worse than any team below them on this list.
  5. Texas: After LSU’s thumping of Georgia, it’s Texas’s win in the Red River Shootout over OU that is the win of the year to this point.
  6. Oklahoma: Lincoln Riley’s team hasn’t looked as unbeatable as they did in the first few weeks of the season, and then the shine really came off after the loss against rival Texas. But this offense can still do plenty of damage, and I wouldn’t bet against them in any of their remaining games.
  7. Florida: The Gators only blemish is a loss to a much-improved Kentucky team. That’s a game you need to win, though, if you plan on making the final four. But they’ll have many opportunities to make up for it, starting this weekend against UGA.
  8. Ohio State: The Buckeyes always do this it seems: a midseason night game on the road against a much lesser opponent that the Bucks lose. Embarrassing and unacceptable, but not a season killer.
  9. Notre Dame: The Irish beat Michigan and Stanford, and over the remaining weeks they’ll play a host of not-very-good schools. There’s a completely realistic road map that has Notre Dame going undefeated. And they’ll get rewarded with a trip to a National Semifinal — and that’s an example of voters just not watching the games.
  10. Michigan: I’ve said all there is to say about U-M. I’m not going to re-hash it. While I think their defense is top 3 in the nation, the team overall has a lot of improvements to make, starting with the inefficient offense. The good thing for the Wolverines is that they sit in the catbird seat and will be in the Playoff if they win the Big Ten — no matter what I say. They’re in a great spot as it stands, and if the offense starts clicking and they start imposing their will over opponents, then I’ll be eating my words. (Check out the link below to the Sports Talk Center podcast, where I give you more about why I feel this way about Michigan.)

Thanks for reading. Subscribe to the Sports Talk Center blog and you can receive emails when content is updated. Also, follow me on Twitter @brian22goodwin. You can also subscribe and download the Sports Talk Center Podcast, wherever you get your podcasts from: Apple iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play, or Spotify. Just subscribe, download, listen, and enjoy.

Listen to Episode 88 right here:

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Week 7 NFL Picks

Usually, I try to avoid making sweeping generalizations or issuing hot takes that only serve to stir the pot of people’s emotions. I think it’s silly — and I know the hot take artists out there get all traction on social media because of what they say. In short, I don’t care. I’d rather be known as a rational thinker who errs on the side of waiting and seeing than jumping to conclusions. In 2018, no one has the patience to wait. So, I guess, place me in the minority. So be it.

All that said, here’s something I’ve gathered six weeks into this NFL season. Defense doesn’t win championships. Rather, defense only has to do “just enough.” Make a big third down stop in the fourth quarter or get a sack that forces a fumble when the opposing team is driving in waning minutes of the game or create an interception on a potential game-winning drive. Just make the play when you need it, in crunch time. That’s what defense has come to be in the NFL today. Offenses are the engines that run this machine. The Chiefs, Patriots, Rams, Saints have played very questionable defense this season (to be kind) — and yet no one thinks that will be the downfall of any of them when it comes to winning a championship. And the reason is simple: those offenses can get points whenever they need to.

Alright, let’s pick some games. Last week, I went 10-5 straight up (49-27 for the year) and 9-5-1 against the spread (36-37-4). Here’s to keeping the mojo in my favor!

Games of the Week

New England (-2.5) at Chicago

I’d imagine Bill Belichick will scheme up something on defense to mess with Mitchell Trubisky. On offense, is it dumb that I trust Tom Brady and company to handle this vaunted Beards D? The fact I’m not worried worries me. Patriots, 27-20

New Orleans (+2.5) at Baltimore

This is what happens after bye weeks — we forget how good a team is and we think the team we most recently saw is better than they really are. The Ravens defense might be good, but their offense isn’t and I’m not convinced the D is good enough to make up the offense’s shortcomings. You need offense against the Saints. Saints, 24-20

Cincinnati (+6) at Kansas City

Pat Mahomes in primetime, again. Get used to that. I think Cincy can score, but they can’t score like the Chiefs can. If we’re going to bed Sunday night having the Bengals dropped their last two to the Steelers and then on the big SNF stage, we’re going to be saying, “Same old Bengals.” Chiefs, 34-30

Watchable

Cleveland (+3) at Tampa Bay

Baker Mayfield gets to have a little fun against a defense that’s, well, been suspect this year. Actually, let’s not mince words: they can’t stop a nosebleed and this Sunday won’t be any different, I don’t care who’s out there calling the plays. Baker shines. Fantasy Advice: Pick up Baker. Browns, 40-35

Minnesota (-3) at Jets

The Vikings offense is on fire. Adam Thielen is the first WR in NFL history to open the year with 6 straight 100 yard games. He’s on a tear, and the Jets defense will have their hands full. That said, the Minnesota defense hasn’t really impressed so far this season. I’m doubtful either defense can stop the opposing offense. Vikings, 31-27

Carolina (+4.5) at Philadelphia

This has the feel (on paper at least) of a playoff game. But on the field so far, Carolina is up and down and Philly hasn’t hit their stride. But I don’t think Carolina has enough weapons to beat the Eagles. Plain and simple. Eagles, 23-20

Giants at Atlanta (-6)

Let’s make this quick and simple: Atlanta’s defense can’t stop anyone and the Giants won’t stop the Falcons offense. I don’t anticipate much defense in this game. Falcons, 38-30

Barely Watchable

Tennessee (+6.5) at Chargers

Another London game. Just when you think the Chargers are dealing and the Titans are reeling (you like that?), we are reminded how the NFL works from week to week. This is one of those games that keeps me away. Titans, 24-21

Dallas at Washington (-1.5)

If Dallas parlays last week’s win with a win on the road in the division, I might have to consider taking all those mean things I’ve said about them back. Redskins, 24-20

Rams at San Francisco (+10)

It’s at the point in the season where these big spreads give me major pause. San Fran is not tanking — yet. And the Rams realize they don’t need to score 40 every week just for giggles. A win is a win. Rams, 31-23

Is Anyone Watching?

Houston (+5) at Jacksonville

This is just the game that tells us nothing about either of these two teams. We won’t learn anything new no matter how it goes. Both will play hard and the commentators will say it’s a scrappy game. And close. Texans, 23-17

Buffalo (+6.5) at Indianapolis

Indy is so banged up that they really can’t afford to give anyone any points — but we are talking about the Derek Anderson-led Bills here. The Colts are, dare I say, feisty. But it concerns me that with all the weapons Houston had last week, they managed to squeak out the win thanks only to their defense against the Bills. Buffalo plays hard and the Colts don’t play defense. Colts, 26-23

Detroit at Miami (+3)

This game was off the board for a while with all the uncertainty surrounding Miami’s QB situation. The last time an NFC North team came into Miami off a win and bye week, they lost. If the NFL has taught me anything, it’s that don’t draw too many conclusions from week to week. Plus, common sense tells me the Fins can’t possibly be 5-2 and the BrockStar won’t win two straight. Lions, 27-26

Denver at Arizona (+2.5)

Denver can’t stop the run and Arizona doesn’t run! Case Keenum should be the better QB in this one, but he might not be. Von Miller should be able to be Vonn Miller against this Cardinals o-line. The problem is both these teams are pretty bad — so who knows what will end up happening on the short week. Gimme the home dog to cover! Broncos, 19-17


Thanks for reading. Subscribe to the Sports Talk Center blog and you can receive emails when content is updated. Also, follow me on Twitter @brian22goodwin. You can also subscribe and download the Sports Talk Center Podcast, wherever you get your podcasts from: Apple iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play, or Spotify. Just subscribe, download, listen, and enjoy.

Listen to Episode 87 right here:

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Week 6 NFL Picks

One minute you’re up, flying high, loving life. The next, you can’t pick a football game to save my life– I mean, YOUR life. This is all hypothetical, of course.

Alright, let’s face it, week 5 was a tough pill to swallow, especially coming off of the great week 4 I had. But, hey, I’m not a sharp. I’m no wiseguy. What do I know about picking NFL games? Was I really supposed to take the Giants and the points on the road  against a good defense ? How did Denver give up 219 rushing yards to Isaiah Crowell? I was supposed to see that coming? Philly at home is supposed to be a gimme; Mason Crosby isn’t supposed to miss 5 freaking kicks (!!!!!); and the Rams should bury the Seahawks. Ugh. Just another week in the NFL.

Before we move to week 6, here’s where we stand, folks: 39-22 straight up and 27-32-3 against the spread. Let’s get a nice little bounce back this week. I’ve got mouths to feed.

Must See Games of the Week

Kansas City (+3) at New England

Speed kills. That’s how the Chiefs win this game. If the Patriots can’t get off the field on third downs and can’t keep up with the weapons that the Chiefs will deploy on offense, this could be ugly. But I have to believe Bill Belichick will have a plan. If they can limit the big plays from Pat Mahomes, Tom Brady and the Pats offense should be able to do their own share of scoring. Patriots, 33-31

Pittsburgh (+2.5) at Cincinnati

Both offenses can light up the scoreboard. I’d favor Cincy’s defense even though Pittsburgh flashed some explosiveness in getting after Matt Ryan a week ago. If that continues, the Steelers could turn things around. But at the moment, the Bengals have the more balanced attack on offense and have played defense at a more consistent level this season. Bengals 28-27

Tune In

Tampa Bay (+3.5) at Atlanta

Will any defender even bother to show up for this one? The over/under is 57.5. Take it!!! Atlanta might be feeling sorry for themselves. We’ll find out. Bucs, 34-31

Chargers at Cleveland (+1)

The battle of 2 inept coaching staffs. I like Baker Mayfield, but playing against this Chargers defense will be a little different than what he’s faced so far. On the other side of the ball, if the Chargers don’t kill themselves with drops and turnovers, Phillip Rivers and company should have enough weapons to give this improved Browns defense trouble. Chargers, 24-20

Philadelphia at Giants (+3)

We know the Giants aren’t good and won’t be. The thing is that the Eagles aren’t either — and it’s not totally clear if they’ll fix their issues. Their defense had to play 35 minutes against the Vikings last Sunday and that’s not a winning script for Philly. Converting third downs and long has been the area the Eagles offense has dropped off the most in comparison to last year. In 2017, they converted at a 30% clip; so far this season, they’re at 15%. Short week, on the road, divisional rival — not a great equation for the defending champs. Giants, 23-21

There’s Potential

Indianapolis at Jets (-2.5)

Somehow, some way the Jets put up over 300 yards of rushing and 500 total yards against the Denver defense last week. That’s a winning formula with a rookie QB. Indy is decimated with injuries across the board — on both sides of the ball. Andrew Luck looks healthy, but he doesn’t have a ton to work with. And if he has to keep throwing 60 times a game, we’ll really find out how that arm is doing. Jets, 24-20

San Francisco (+9.5) at Green Bay

I’d hate to have shared a locker room with Aaron Rodgers this week. The thing is the offense wasn’t bad at all in the second half in Detroit and the defense only looked bad because they were put in tough spots thanks to turnovers on offense. Call me crazy, but I don’t things are nearly as bad as some want to us to think in Green Bay. Pack get right in primetime against a not-very-good 49ers team. Packers, 31-23

Chicago at Miami (+3)

The Fins have come back down to Earth after their 3-0 start. Meanwhile, the Bears have had 2 weeks to hear and read all the praise after they smashed the Bucs and Michell Trubisky tossed a career-best 6 TDs. To me, this is a dangerous spot for the Bears — they’re feeling really good and the Dolphins are wounded, desperate animal. Gimme the animal at home. Dolphins, 20-17

Rams at Denver (+7)

I want to like this game. But the Broncos performance in New York last week was pathetic. Vance Joseph must have been getting jealous with all the talk over Jason Garrett and Bill O’Brien competing to see which coach would get fired first. Bottom line here is the Denver defense has not been good lately and Vonn Miller seems to have sputtered out after a very nice start to the year. But sometimes weird things happen in the NFL. Denver keeps it close. Rams, 27-21

Tune Out

Baltimore at Tennessee (+3)

These two teams mirror each other quite a bit. They both play solid defense and on offense, they want to run the ball, but find themselves passing more than they’d like. Defensively, both rank in the top 7 in yards per game, first downs per game, and third down conversion percentage. So the question becomes, “Who’s offense plays better on Sunday?” I like Baltimore’s supporting cast better, but the Tennessee o-line should be able to protect Marcus Mariota, giving him the edge over Flacco. Titans, 17-16

Carolina (+1) at Washington

Washington’s embarrassing effort on MNF is stuck in my head. And the NFC East looks like a clown show. But let’s keep in mind the Redskins defense is top 5 in yards given up per game, and Cam Newton probably won’t be carving up that predictable zone coverage like Drew Brees did. Carolina is banged up and don’t forget — they were the first to give up 30 points last week to the Giants since the 2015 season. Redskins, 24-21

Arizona (+10.5) at Minnesota

There’s not a single scenario I can invent that has Arizona doing enough in this game, especially after Buffalo went into Minneapolis and popped that Vikings defense for 27 points. But Minnesota’s defense isn’t right — even in the win in Philly, they let the Eagles stay in it until the very end. The offense will play well, but the defense won’t let them pull away. Vikings, 30-20

Gauge Out My Eyeballs

Buffalo (+8.5) at Houston

How does Houston give anyone 8.5 points??!! I thought this was a mistake. I running my betting slip in for this one. Don’t give me “it’s a rookie QB on the road against a good defense.” No chance Houston wins by more than a touch. No freaking way. Texans, 23-20

Seattle v. Oakland (+3)

Ahh, the London Game. I don’t expect either defense to play well. The problem is both offenses have been sloppy this year. Seattle has found a run game, though. That’s the edge. Seahawks, 20-19

Jacksonville (-3) at Dallas

I can’t imagine this Dallas offense getting on track against this Jacksonville defense. There’s just no way. I’m not falling for it. Jaguars, 26-13


Thanks for reading. Subscribe to the Sports Talk Center blog and you can receive emails when content is updated. Also, follow me on Twitter @brian22goodwin. You can also subscribe and download the Sports Talk Center Podcast, wherever you get your podcasts from: Apple iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play, or Spotify. Just subscribe, download, listen, and enjoy.

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Week 5 NFL Picks

Admittedly, I was struggling to pick games through the first three weeks of the season. But then week 4 happened. It was like a flash down from the heavens. It was a tidal wave of joy and excitement. It was, yours truly, absolutely making it look easy!!!! How does a perfect 15-0 sound? To quote my boy, Kirk Cousins, “You like that?!”

I spot on nailed the Chiefs-Broncos score, 27-23, and called Dallas by 2 and Tennessee by a field goal. Against the spread, I wasn’t too shabby either, if you don’t mind me saying, going 11-3-1.

Some weeks you got it — and in week 4, I HAD it!!! Through the opening four weeks, I’m 23-22-2 ATS and 31-15 straight up. Let’s hope we can replicate last week’s performance in week 5.

Get to a TV Now

Jacksonville (+3.5) at Kansas City

What a classic matchup of a sensational offense against a fast, physical defense. So many questions arise when digging deeply into this game. Can the KC receivers get separation? Will Blake Bortles be allowed to throw the ball on first down? Will Pat Mahomes make his first big NFL mistake? This matchup has it all. This Jags defense will be unlike anything Mahomes and the Chiefs offense have faced this season. How will they adjust if the throws aren’t there? I expect Jacksonville OC Nathaniel Hackett to open the playbook for Bortles, like he did in week 2 against the Patriots. One or two turnovers by Mahomes in his own territory might be enough to give the Jaguars the edge. Jaguars, 27-20

Atlanta (+3) at Pittsburgh

Neither team plays defense and both offenses have the firepower to break the scoreboard. Whoever wins will need every ounce of explosiveness in order to outscore the other. Both teams desperately need this one. I typically avoid Matt Ryan on the road and outdoors. But I’m certain he can torch this Steelers D. Falcons, 38-34

Minnesota at Philadelphia (-3)

I’d say this is a bigger game for Minnesota — in particular their defense. But the Eagles haven’t exactly been very impressive on either side of the ball, themselves. Last year, the offense was a league-best 33% at converting 3rd down and 8 or more yards. Through 4 games in 2018, the Eagles are at 15%. That’s a major drop off and helps explain why that offense doesn’t look as efficient as it did a year ago. On defense, the Philly secondary is weakened without safety Rodney McLeod, and relying on rookie cornerback Avonte Maddox has not yielded great results. The Vikings come to the Linc with stud wideouts, who are coming off a spectacular offensive showing in week 4 against the Rams. If the Eagles are going to slow Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, it will start with them putting pressure on the QB. It’s also worth noting how different this Eagles team is at home than on the road. Eagles, 31-24

I’ll Watch

Indianapolis at New England (-10)

The TNF game should be unwatchable, and, as a Pats fan, I’m hoping it is. Julian Edelman’s return should have positive effects on all aspects of the offense. Patriots, 31-13

Denver (+2) at Jets

This game feels like a “WWE Loser Goes Home” Match. The winner can right the ship for a week or so, but the loser will have finally met their fate after having intermittent moments of hope in the first 4 weeks of the season. Broncos, 23-17

Baltimore at Cleveland (+3)

In a road loss at Oakland in his first career start, Baker Mayfield still put up the numbers and, more importantly, still gave Cleveland the energy they needed to nearly pull off the victory in overtime. This Baltimore defense is a different animal, yes. But Baker may just have enough creativity to give the defense fits. Browns, 24-20

Washington (+6.5) at New Orleans

Washington is sneaky, frisky, under-the radar, kinda/sorta decently good-ish. Their defense is game and Alex Smith limits his mistakes. They just seem like the type of team that won’t ever get blown out, and at the same time can embarrass an opponent if they don’t take the Redskins seriously. Also, Washington has had 2-plus weeks to prep for this game. Redskins, 31-27

Thank you, But I’ll Pass

Miami at Cincinnati (-6)

I think Miami showed their true colors in week 4 against New England. Their 3-0 start was perfect example of a team that didn’t lose those games, but really didn’t win them either. Bengals, 27-17

Giants at Carolina (-7)

Bad offensive lines don’t travel well in the NFL. And, boy oh boy do the Giants have a bad line. Carolina’s defense should be up to the task of limiting the Giants running game and OBJ. Panthers, 24-13

Rams (-7) at Seattle

Put me down as someone who is utterly confused by this line. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it go to double digits by the time Sunday rolls around. Rams are cruising on the offensive side of the ball while the Seahawks struggle to put points on the board. No way Seattle can keep pace. Rams, 38-17

Green Bay (-1.5) at Detroit

Has a team ever had such an unimpressive 3 touchdown, shutout win than what the Packers had last weekend over Buffalo? And I’m not talking about our interpretations of the game — I’m talking about how the QB felt afterwards. Aaron Rodgers is masterful at manipulating and poking at his teammates (and coaches) in a way that leads to production and improvement. I’d expect a version of the Green Bay offense this weekend in Detroit that A-Rod is quite pleased with. Packers, 24-20

Cancel My NFL Ticket Package Please

Tennessee at Buffalo (+3.5)

I hate this game. After wins over the Jags and Eagles in back to back weeks, it would be reasonable to think this could be a major “let-down” game for the Titans. It all adds up — the Bills can play defense, they’re at home, and Marcus Mariota can’t possible play as well as he played against Philly. Tennessee wins ugly and I don’t imagine they’ll beat any opponent by more than 10 points all year. Geez, did I say I hate this game? Titans, 23-20

Arizona at San Francisco (-4.5)

Josh Rosen has gotten his feet wet the last couple weeks against the Bears and the Chargers. This 49ers defense should feel more like a JV high school team after having faced those two defenses. The Niners were game last weekend, but that’s typical after switching QBs. I would expect quite a fall off from here on out this season for Kyle Shanahan’s bunch. Cardinals, 20-17

Oakland (+5.5) at Chargers

Oakland has been in every game except the opener against the Rams. Derek Carr and the offense might have found something last week — it’s called getting Amari Cooper the ball. Crazy, I know. The Chargers love to shoot themselves in the foot so this one could be closer than it should be. Chargers, 30-27

Dallas at Houston (-3.5)

The Cowboys are probably good enough to beat bad teams this season. Houston’s 1-3 record might make them appear to be a candidate for a Cowboys’ win, but think again. Deshaun Watson is starting to move around with more confidence on that knee and the defense can get after the quarterback. Dak will be running for his life. Texans, 24-17


Thanks for reading. Subscribe to the Sports Talk Center blog and you can receive emails when content is updated. Also, follow me on Twitter @brian22goodwin. You can also subscribe and download the Sports Talk Center Podcast, wherever you get your podcasts from: Apple iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play, or Spotify. Just subscribe, download, listen, and enjoy.

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A Look Back at Week 4 in the NFL: What We Think We Know

Alright, we’re a quarter of the way through the regular season, and this is typically where things start to become clearer in the NFL. For instance, the Raiders miss Khalil Mack, these rookie signal callers need some time, and no one is challenging the Rams in the NFC West. Ok, so maybe I didn’t need a month to come to those conclusions. But here’s some more thoughts that I feel pretty good about. Mostly. Kind of.

  1. With all the Bill O’Brien job security talk entering Sunday, it was the coach on the opposite sideline who looked like he should be worried about coaching next weekend. Frank Reich’s boneheaded decision to throw the ball on 4th down at his team’s own 43 with 24 seconds left in OT, tied at 34 made no sense. Don’t tell me how he was being gutsy and coaching to win and he’d rather go for it and lose than succumb to a tie. Shut. Up. That was a coach over-thinking it and trying to outsmart everyone. He’s not a bad coach. But that was a very bad decision.
  2. Tennessee is boring, unassuming, and they don’t do anything exceptionally. But they are solid and they play smart. That starts with Marcus Mariota. The former Oregon Duck proved his moxie coming back twice on the defending champs, ultimately playing his best down the stretch.
  3. The Detroit Free Press posted a question on Twitter whether Golden Tate was selfish for showboating. He’s an @$$. Was one in Seattle and showed those qualities again yesterday. In a loss mind you.

4. Zeke Elliott is a machine. I get it. Trust me. I’ve said my piece about the QB and the way that roster’s been constructed. But Zeke is the truth. The question is how far can he drag this team and for how long?

5, Earl Thomas is  (as friend of the podcast Jay Jackson would say) a G!!!! The injury and the scene after only fuel what should be an interesting offseason for the player and the Seahawks.

6. Arizona is a bad football team. That’s obvious. But Josh Rosen’s stat line shouldn’t and doesn’t tell you everything. He put some passes exactly where they needed to be, but was not helped by WR drops. He threw it deep and was accurate. You can work with that.

7. San Fran stayed with the Chargers until the bitter end. Don’t let that fool you. I’ve seen this story before. It only gets worse the longer you roll with C.J. Beathard.

8. On the other hand, will the Chargers play to their potential for crying out loud???!!!!!

9. Derwin James, I’ve said it before, is a stud. Three QB hits, 2 PBUs, a sack, and a pressure to force the game winning INT. All in a day’s work. If not for Khalil Mack, James is my Defensive MVP.

10. Speaking of playmakers on defense, hello Raiders. Well, can’t help you there, but on the offensive side, see what happens when you get Amari Cooper involved. Congrats to Coach Gruden on the first win of at least 2 or 3 more.

11. If Atlanta’s defense could just make a few stops here and there, that offense is humming along with the best in the league. The problem is the defense can’t.

12. In week 4, Cincinnati’s offense was the beneficiary of the Falcon’s depleted D. And without Joe Mixon and Tyler Eifert exiting halfway through, it didn’t matter. These are games the Bengals typically lose. Something seems different in Cincy this season.

13. If you still don’t think the NFL is predicated on high-powered offenses, look no further than Mitchell Trubisky’s performance against Tampa Bay this week. Six touchdowns and over 300 yards? For Mitch? That’s today’s NFL. A 48 to 10 whoopin’ and I still say it was thanks to Khalil Mack and not the offense.

14. The Bucs looked so lifeless and Ryan Fitzpatrick was so uninspiring that it made me forget all about the excitement that had surrounded that team up until 1:00pm on Sunday. I imagine Jameis starts in 2 weeks and I stop rooting for them.

15. For 2 weeks Josh Allen looked good. Then he came back down to earth at Lambeau, going 5-19, 58 yards, and a pick in the first half. Like Sam Darnold and Baker, let’s pump those brakes.

16. I, for one, was fearful of Miami’s team speed on offense matching up with New England’s ungodly slow linebackers. Apparently, Miami’s coaches thought there were better game plans to execute. Thank you, Adam Gase.

17. James White is the freaking man!!! This guy gets no love ever. I love him. (Ok, done gushing over the Pats.)

18. Week 1 was a long long long time ago, wasn’t it Jets fans?

19. The Jags offense is just going to be Jekyll and Hyde all season, isn’t it?

20. I said on Friday’s podcast that the Saints defense needed a “turnaround” game to spark their season. They held OBJ to 17 yards on 5 catches until garbage time. And the run defense kept Saquon Barkley in check to the tune of 44 yards on just 10 carries.


Thanks for reading. Subscribe to the Sports Talk Center blog and you can receive emails when content is updated. Also, follow me on Twitter @brian22goodwin. You can also subscribe and download the Sports Talk Center Podcast, wherever you get your podcasts from: Apple iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play, or Spotify. Just subscribe, download, listen, and enjoy.

Listen to Ep. 79 right here:

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