NFL Week 10 Picks

First things first — I can’t believe it’s week 10 already. It’s a little sad. And exciting. Last week’s games reminded us just what playoff football feels like: Saints-Rams, Patriots-Packers, and to an extent Ravens-Steelers and Seahawks-Chargers.

We’re inching closer to cold, see-your-breath, winter football.  And with that comes tighter match-ups and games that carry a lot of meaning come January.

Secondly, how’d I do with my picks last week you ask? Oh, let me tell you. How about 13-0 straight up and 10-3 against the spread!!! Your boy was on fire!!! For the season, I’m 81-33 straight up and 60-53-5 ATS. Let’s carry that good mojo over to this week!!!

Must See

Carolina (+4) at Pittsburgh

What a treat on Thursday night. Cam Newton is playing at an MVP-caliber and Norv Turner is calling games like he’s Sean McVay. I like the Panthers offense to find ways to get in the end zone a lot in this one.  Panthers, 24-20


Seattle (+10) at Rams

Despite the loss at home to the Chargers last week, we need to seriously recognize that Seattle is a running team. Thirty-four carries for over 150 yards is evidence of a team that is committed to running the rock. In their last six games, Seattle has rushed for over 950 yards on 216  carries. Gone are the days of Russell Wilson slinging it 40 times. Seattle might not win this game, but if they can run, they’ll control the clock and limit the Rams’ offensive possessions — and that’s a huge key to beating L.A. Rams, 27-24

New Orleans (-4.5) at Cincinnati

Everyone wants to talk about Dez Bryant and his impact on this offense. Listen, if any coach can scheme him into the game plan, it’s Sean Payton; and if any QB can get him involved, it’s Drew Brees. I have major doubts that Dez can physically perform, though. But the good news for the Saints is that they don’t need him. Great teams have the luxury of taking flyers like this. Saints come in riding high after taking down the previously undefeated Rams, but the Bengals rush the passer and have the capability of getting to Brees. But no A.J. Green and that hurts. Plus, New Orleans has been getting great play out of their offensive line. Saints, 27-20

Detroit (+6.5) at Chicago

The Lions offense has looked anemic after their bye week — 14 points at home against Seattle and then 9 points in Minnesota. Offensive Coordinator Jim Bob Cooter might start wanting to collect his personal items from his office if this trend continues for another week. And it won’t be easy to turn things around at Chicago. Bears, 20-16

New England (-7) at Tennessee

Yes, Tennessee won on Monday night in Dallas, but they don’t look great. Offensive inconsistencies and awful play in the secondary by Malcolm Butler are two reasons this team is a game and a half back of the Texans in the division. The Patriots offense won’t hold back either. Patriots, 28-17

Worth a Look From Time to Time

Chargers  (-10) at Oakland

The Chargers are a statistical enigma. They have faced the fewest 3rd downs in the league yet they are in the bottom third of total first downs per game. They also have two of the top-8 players in the league for MVP in Phil Rivers and Melvin Gordon, however they rank in the bottom third in time of possession. On the other hand, the Raiders are a mess — statistically, stylistically, and however else you want to look at them. Chargers, 31-16

Dallas at Philadelphia (-6.5)

Philly might be hitting their stride — a bye week, a win in London, and  trading for Golden Tate might all help turn the Eagles’ season around. Doug Peterson and Carson Wentz should be able to pick apart this Cowboy defense — heck, Marcus Mariota hung 28 on them on MNF. Not to mention, Dallas never seems ultra-prepared and a short week won’t help. Eagles, 24-10

Washington at Tampa Bay (-3)

This match-up reminds me a lot of last week’s Redskins-Falcons game. Tampa Bay will air it out and Washington’s secondary isn’t equipped to stop them. And if they get behind, the Redskins offense isn’t built to win a shootout. Bucs, 30-24

Watch Reruns of Seinfeld

Giants at San Francisco (-3)

Two of the four worst teams in the NFL. That said, I like the Niners and their scrappiness. Keep it going, Nick Mullens!! 49ers, 27-23

Buffalo (+7.5) at Jets

Question: more offensive touchdowns or defensive touchdowns in this game? Sam Darnold, once touted the savior of the Jets franchise, now looks like a rookie who had ball control issues coming out of college. And Buffalo is, once again, rolling out Nathan Peterman in what has become the worst joke of all-time. Just stop!!! I don’t know how the Jets are giving 7 to anyone, including the hapless Bills. Jets, 19-13

Miami (+10) at Green Bay

Is this 10-point because the Packers almost beat the Rams? I’m not seeing a very good Green Bay team right now. I know Miami is the worst 5-4 team in NFL history (prove me wrong — I dare you), but the Packers are riddled with injuries and they look like an offense that has to work so hard just to gain positive yardage. Packers, 24-20.

Jacksonville at Indianapolis (-3)

I know the Giants go to SF this week, but this game might be even less watchable to me. Andrew Luck is going to get MVP consideration, especially if the Colts get to 7 or 8 wins. Marlon Mack has been a pleasant surprise the last few games, rushing for more than 100 yards in all three. Then there’s the Jaguars who are inconsistent on defense, terrible on offense, and vastly underachieving across the board. These games are usually dogfights — but maybe the Jags punt on the season if this one starts to get away. Colts, 26-20

Atlanta (-4) at Cleveland

Yes, Cleveland’s defense is one of the best in the league by simple stats. But Matt Ryan is back playing at an MVP level and he’s got the Falcons right back in the thick of the playoff race in the NFC. Plus, Cleveland’s offense has sputtered, Baker Mayfield is statistically one of the worst QBs through 9 weeks, and Denzel Ward is banged up. side the Atlanta offense in this one. Falcons, 31-23

Arizona at Kansas City (-16.5)

Josh Rosen is gutsy, he’s got a good arm, he’s smart, and he’s the reason I think the Cardinals will fall into a few wins along the way. This game isn’t one of them, though. Chiefs, 38- 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 96 (“NFL’s Legit Contenders Plus Lev Bell Saga & the Detroit Lions Making Moves”):


Listen to Episode 97 (“NFC East Getting Clearer, Packers Need to Get Right, Falcons Surging, and Seattle’s Plan in L.A.”):




Week 9 NFL Picks

The first month of the season is really difficult as far as picking games in the NFL goes. No one is quite what you thought they’d be and there’s a feeling out period for everyone. Once we get into October and closer to Halloween, teams have settled into what they are, and we, as fans and bettors, feel much better about projecting winners and losers week-to-week. But then, our love-hate relationship with match-ups and point spreads gets ugly again for a week or two thanks to the trade deadline. Teams are much more willing to make deals in the last few years then in the past. And yes, it’s fun and it’s an exciting element we are rewarded with for following the sports; however, it puts everything we thought we knew and understood in limbo. We kind of have to start over — who
is this team, REALLY and how much better are they now with Player X? And will Player X make an impact this week…or next week….when???

Although my record against the spread last week (6-8) would indicate I haven’t really figured much out so what’s the swapping of some players to different teams really going to do to my (in)ability to pick games? For the season, I’m 50-50-5 (ATS), and after another 11-3 week straight up, I’m at 71-33. Let’s see how week 9 goes.

The Most Watchable Games You’ll Get All Year

Rams at New Orleans (-1.5)

This has NFC Championship Game written all over it. Both offenses are outstanding and coached by two of the most innovative minds on that side of the ball that the NFL can offer. Which defense can do a little bit more, though? Saints have playmakers and I expect them to show up. The Rams are 8-0, but they have to prove themselves in big, close games that they have to battle. Saints, 30-27

Green Bay (+6.5) at New England

Throw all the stats and numbers and match-ups out the window. This is Tom Brady versus Aaron Rodgers, plain and simple. Period. Brady makes one more play than A-Rod at Foxboro. Patriots, 34-31

I Mean, They’re Not Awesome, But We Can Watch

Pittsburgh (+3) at Baltimore

History says this one will be a slugfest, but these two offenses are the ground and pound of years past. The Steelers are the more balanced attack thanks to the emergence of James Connor. Steelers, 30-24

Detroit (+5) at Minnesota

So Lions fans are upset because Bob Quinn flipped Golden Tate and his expiring deal for a third round draft pick. News to Lions fans — you weren’t re-signing Tate and you’re not contending this year. Take the draft pick and run. As for this game, I like the match-up for the Lions: (1) Minnesota’s defense can be thrown on; (2) the Vikings throw the ball more than they run it (and that’s good because the Lions can’t stop the run); and (3) the Vikings offensive line has holes. The question is can the Lions take advantage of these areas. Maybe not, but it should be close. Vikings, 27-23

Tampa Bay at Carolina (-7)

Fitzmagic is back, but Cam’s got a little magic as well. Newton has put himself in the MVP conversation — and deservedly so. His 66% completion rate and 10 sacks through 7 games are career-bests. Cam and his numbers look better than his 2015 MVP season, when the Panthers ruled the NFC with a 15-1 record. Until he regresses, I’m not picking against him. Panthers, 31-20

Chargers (+1.5) at Seattle

I know Seattle has won 4 of 5 and have a renewed commitment to running the ball. But the Chargers are pretty good so this line makes me side-eye it. I like and appreciate how Seattle has transformed their offense on the fly after the 0-2 start to the year. But give me the better team. Let’s keep it simple. Chargers, 27-10

Please Don’t Ask Me to Watch 

Chicago at Buffalo (+10)

Ahhh, the long awaited return of Nathan Peterman. Here we go!! It’s not like the Bears have some unstoppable offense, but it’s Nate Peterman. You’ve got to assume 3 picks and one will be a pick-6, right? The Bears offense might only need one touchdown in order to cover the ten. Bears, 20-6

Kansas City (-8) at Cleveland

The upheaval in Cleveland will not help matters this week, although for the long term, clearly our boy, Hue, had to go. Gregg Williams’s head coaching abilities will be on full display Sunday. Get your popcorn ready!! Chiefs, 31-20

Atlanta (+2) at Washington

Talk about two teams on opposite ends of the spectrum. Atlanta’s air attack can score at will, but injuries have ravaged their defense; while Washington prides themselves on the old school theory — run the ball and stop the run. Matt Ryan should be able to find the holes in the Skins secondary, which is the weak link on that defense. Falcons, 28-24

Tennessee (+6.5) at Dallas

Wow, the Cowboys are getting some respect from Vegas!! I’m not sure Dallas can afford to give any team 6.5 points. But what has this Titans done lately? Nada. This line might be about right, but I don’t think either offense can separate from the other. And if I need a tiebreaker, give me Mike Vrabel over Jason Garrett. Titans, 20-17

Houston (+2.5) at Denver

I do not understand what Vegas thinks of the Texans. The past two weeks they were huge favorites over Buffalo and Miami (they covered one of the two), and now after reeling off five straight wins, they’re 2.5-point dogs in Denver? This line stinks and I’d be nervous about betting it. But I can’t take Denver — they’re done and they know it. Texans, 24-17

I Openly Refuse to Watch

Oakland (+3) at San Francisco

The Toilet Bowl Game of the Year!!! The Battle of the Bay!!! I don’t have anything to say. 49ers, 15-11 sounds about right

Jets (+3) at Miami

The promising 3-0 start by the Dolphins is long gone and so is Ryan Tannehill, it appears. This whole thing seems really strange and not good for the QB’s future — which was already shaky — in Miami. Dolphins should be eyeing quarterback prospects in the draft. That said, the Jets are exactly scaring anyone either. The home team should play well enough in a game that probably doesn’t feature too many points. Dolphins, 20-19

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 93 (“Playoff Feel to Some Week 9 NFL  Games”):


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:


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:


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


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:


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.


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.


Week 4 NFL Picks

I feel like I need to rationalize my picks for week 3. But there’s really nothing to be said. You can’t explain craziness — that what makes it crazy!! So my 6-10 mark against the spread wasn’t good, but who, seriously, picked the Bills to cover — I know it was 17 points but come on!! The Bills had a player retire at halftime a week ago!! I wasn’t much better straight up, going .500.

For the year, I’m 12-19-1 (ATS) and 16-15-1 straight up. Let’s have a big week 4, huh? Here goes nothin’!

Find a TV and Sit

Minnesota (+6.5) at L.A. Rams

The question to me is can Kirk Cousins have himself a resume’ game? He really doesn’t have one. And for the last two weeks, Minnesota luckily managed to avoid going 0-2 because the QB hasn’t been great. The Rams are dinged up with both Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib set to miss multiple weeks due to injuries. On a short week, I favor the Vikings weapons on offense. But the Rams offense will not be stopped. Rams, 27-24

Cincinnati (+6) at Atlanta

Andy Dalton missed Joe Mixon last week in Carolina. But the quarterback should be able to move the ball all over the place on the banged up Falcons defense. The middle of the field should be wide open. Bengals, 28-27

New Orleans (-3.5) at New York Giants

I think this could be a fun game. The Saints seem to have forgotten how to play defense. This rendition reminds me of the Saints teams of 5 years ago when they were slinging it all over the field and couldn’t play a lick of D. The Giants offense has struggled, but they will do their best to keep up. Saints, 34-24

Tampa Bay at Chicago (-2.5)

Ryan Fitzpatrick and the high-powered Bucs offense will face their first really good defense of the season in Khalil Mack and company. I like the Bears to win that battle; but can Mitchell Trubisky do enough to put points on the board? Tampa’s defense has struggled greatly. Could be a nice opportunity for Matt Nagy to get loose with the playbook. Bears, 23-17

Kansas City at Denver (+4.5)

I don’t think Denver’s defense is good enough to take on Pat Mahomes and this Chiefs offense blow for blow. But I am interested to see how the young gunslinger handles the ferocious pass rush from Von Miller on the edge. If Miller can help force Mahomes into a few mistakes, it will be interesting to see how the Chiefs deal with a little adversity. And playing at Mile High is no joke. Chiefs, 27-23

Laundry Games (You can do laundry or other things around the house with these games on. You’ll pay enough to attention to get what’s going on.)

Philadelphia at Tennessee (+6)

If the Titans can pull off back to back wins over the Jaguars and the Eagles, people will quickly forget about the loss in Miami in week 1. The Philly offense is not healthy and Carson Wentz could be weeks or months from regaining his 2017 form. The key matchup here is how Blaine Gabbert/Marcus Mariota handle the Philadelphia defense. Titans, 20-17

Cleveland at Oakland (-2.5)

Who’d have thought this would be a watchable game? Mostly, I’m only interested in Baker Mayfield. While I certainly don’t think Oakland’s defense is good enough to foil the Todd Haley offense, going on the road is a different animal in the NFL. Will this be the week Jon Gruden’s offense puts together a complete game from start to finish? Raiders, 24-20

Miami at New England (-6.5)

Oh boy. Miami’s got team speed and can stretch the Patriots linebackers across the field. New England needs to hunker down and get back to the basics on defense. Offensively, I’m thinking OC Josh McDaniels throws a little spice into he gameplan this week. It’s been 10 quarters since the Patriots looked like the Patriots. Patriots, 31-24

Baltimore (+3.5) at Pittsburgh

With the new rules changes, you wonder if this battle will resemble past games between these two rivals or if a little luster will be gone. The hard hits might be fewer, but the desperation will be there — Pittsburgh doesn’t want to fall to 1-2-1 and the Ravens could build some separation by moving to 3-1. Ravens, 20-19

Visit the Apple Orchard

San Francisco at L.A. Chargers (-10.5)

Who’s playing QB for the Niners? The Chargers defense shouldn’t have difficulty in disrupting the 49ers offense; and the Phillip Rivers-led offense should be able to score. Chargers, 31-20

Rather Stare Out the Window

Houston (+1.5) at Indianapolis

Andrew Luck is getting better and better, and surprisingly the Colts defense hasn’t looked brutal. Houston is in a must-win situation. Bill O’Brien might be coaching for his job here. The Texans defense came alive last Sunday against a bad Giants o-line. The Colts line isn’t great. This has all the makings of a sloppy, weird road win. Texans, 22-20.

Buffalo (+10) at Green Bay

Don’t look for the perennial MVP candidate, Aaron Rodgers, to make the same mistakes Kirk Cousins did a week ago against this Buffalo defense. And Josh Allen isn’t going to catch the Packers defense off guard. Packers, 30-24

New York Jets at Jacksonville (-7.5)

I don’t like Sam Darnold versus Jacksonville defense in this matchup. The rookie QB will make a few mistakes and I expect some turnovers to result in points for the Jags. Blake Bortles won’t be perfect but it won’t matter. The defense will score all they need. Jaguars, 24-10

Detroit (+3) at Dallas

After their huge win at home in primetime against Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, how do the lions respond when they hit the road and head to Jerry’s World? The Lions are the better team, but this game has “trap” written all over it. I don’t like the Cowboys, but they’re at home and there’s no telling what Detroit’s energy level will be for tis one. Cowboys, 23-21

Seattle (-3) at Arizona

Josh Rosen gets is first career start — he can’t be worse than Sam Bradford. He could have a Nathan Peterman-type game and be better than Bradford. Seattle’s offense has been boring, but the balanced run attack was productive against Dallas in week 3. I’d look for Seattle to do the same in the desert. And if Earl Thomas misses a few more practices this week, he’s likely to add to his interception total and maybe add a pick-6 and a sack. Seahawks, 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.

Listen to episode 76 right here:


Listen to episode 77 right here:


Week 3 Reflections: I Know Nothing About the NFL

Usually, the deeper into September we get, the proverbial glass clears up, the fog dissipates, and we can see NFL teams for who they really are. I said usually. This past weekend proved to frustrate and confound many of us who, stupidly, think we can predict NFL games or, in the very least, point to the things teams do well and not so well and use those as indicators of team success. I come away from week 3 feeling like I know nothing about this season. I need a reboot. That said, it won’t stop me from looking back at week 3 and coming to some (mostly) sensible reactions.

  1. Pat Mahomes is fun to watch. I’m not going to re-hash what I’ve been saying about waiting to see Mahomes and this KC offense in meaningful games when weather is a factor. Forget that for now. At this moment, there’s not a more exciting player in the league.
  2. I guess having a player retire in the middle of halftime can be used as a motivating factor for an NFL team. So, feel free to thank Vontae Davis, Buffalo fans. (Seriously, how’d the Bills beat the Vikings?)
  3. Here’s how. Maybe. What if Kirk Cousins isn’t the answer the Vikings need? He’s fine, but is that change from Case Keenum to Kirk Cousins really going to put Minnesota over the top? I haven’t been sold, I was never sold, and I’m not sold now.
  4. “Paging Julian Edelman!!! Tom Brady and the Patriots offense need you!!!” The Pats looked slow and inept Sunday night against the Lions. Edelman’s week 5 return should help as far as the offense goes. The defense? Well……
  5. New England’s week 4 opponent, the Dolphins are 3-0 after wins over the Titans, the Jets, and the Raiders. Not exactly the toughest 3-game stretch. But the Dolphins have team speed. That offense could have success against a slow Patriots defense.
  6. Former Patriots OC Bill O’Brien entered this season with the Houston Texans with high expectations. But Deshaun Watson still doesn’t look right and patience, you’d imagine, may be wearing thin after this 0-3 start.
  7. Has there ever been a more talented team that just can’t seem to put it all together than the Chargers? Lack of execution at critical moments on top of bizarre coaching decisions give me the impression this team is missing “it”.
  8. It was a throwback weekend — Tiger won a tournament and Eli Manning went 25-29. Eli did. Eli Manning.
  9. Every sack, interception, or tackle for a loss by Khalil Mack gives me great joy, as I wait for John Gruden to somehow explain why Mack didn’t fit in with the Raiders.
  10. The Rams are by far the most complete team in the NFL right now. Injuries to Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters will test this team’s defense, though. And they get Minnesota’s dynamic wide receiving duo on a short week.
  11. The Titans might not be great, but judging that team through 3 weeks is a mistake. The hurricane game in week 1 and then the quarterback issue shouldn’t be dismissed.
  12. The Jaguars had their come-down week after playing in their Super Bowl against the Patriots in week 2. I don’t get a ton of these right so let me just bask in the fact that I called that one.
  13. If everything isn’t perfect for Dak, he’s not very good.
  14. Why did Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks choose the final 5 minutes of the game to bench quarterback Sam Bradford in favor of the rookie Josh Rosen? That’s a page from the Hue Jackson book of bad coaching.
  15. Typical shootout between the Saints and Falcons. Great offensive outputs, but I don’t trust the Falcons coaching staff in close games.
  16. Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey have the potential to be a scary tandem in the Panthers backfield.
  17. Andy Dalton came back down to earth a bit after tossing 4 picks in Carolina. In fairness, Joe Mixon was out. I think Mixon might be the most important piece to their offense.
  18. I’m not the biggest Baker Mayfield guy. But I am excited to see what he does with the Cleveland offense.
  19. The Lions played with heart and passion and excitement on Sunday night against head coach Matt Patricia’s former employer. After their 0-2 start, they needed that one. And you’d have to believe Matty P. put a little more emphasis on this one throughout the week.
  20. After his fast start on MNF, Sam Darnold has lost some of his shine. After a few weeks, will we be saying the same thing about Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield, and Josh Rosen?

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 75 of the Sports Talk Center podcast here:


College Football Top 10: The Brian Goodwin Power Rankings (BGPR) #1

1. Alabama (6-0)

The defensive play hasn’t been typical lights-out like we are used to seeing with Nick Saban-coached teams. But that’s the growing trend in college (and NFL football) — offenses are going to score lots of points and defenses have to do just enough to win and make the key play at the key moment. And Alabama does that. Itncaa-football-cfp-national-championship-media-day-1-590x900 doesn’t hurt the the Tide’s offense is electric, itself, led by freshman Jalen Hurts, who’s proven he has the arm and the legs to lead the offense. Bama is the clear number one right now. Even if they lose a game, it’s hard to not view them as a top-4 team in the country.

2. Clemson (6-0)

The Tigers definitely came out of the blocks slowly in 2016 with sloppy, unimpressive wins over Auburn and Troy. Since, Clemson has looked more like the team we expected would show up this year and contend for the number one spot in the country right from the start. The win over Louisville is what puts the Tigers at 2, above the Cardinals and Ohio State.

3. Louisville (4-1)

The Cardinals could be the best team out there. It’s very questionable how any defense in the nation would do against Lamar Jackson. Even Clemson — who’s defense is outstanding — could only hold the Heisman Trophy front runner in check for a half. This is the most exciting offense to watch and if the defense can hold up, they’ll be in prime playoff position all season long.

4. Ohio State (5-0)

The Buckeyes are doing what the Bucks always seem to do early on — win and win big. Usually against substandard teams. This year, the win in Norman against the Sooners stands out, but it’s hard to tell just how good this team is right now after seemingly going at half-speed against the likes of Rutgers and Indiana.

5. Texas A&M (6-0)

Head coach Kevin Sumlin has raised the bar at A&M and, often, his teams fail to meet expectations. But this year — so far, so good. The Aggies have a high-powered offense that dominated an improved Arkansas team and held off a valiant charge from the Volunteers this past Saturday. Of the remaining teams on this list, A&M looks the most impressive against decent competition.

6. Washington (6-0)

With Stanford getting taken apart by Washington State over the weekend, the Huskies big win over the Cardinal looks less impressive. But U-W has done it’s job so far and has a look of a team that should win the Pac-12. Now, winning the conference out west doesn’t automatically mean we’re talking about playoffs. But the Huskies have a lot of season left to change the experts’ mindsets.

7. Michigan (6-0)

Like Washington, Michigan has gotten it done over teams they are clearly much much better than. Their best win is over Wisconsin, who played real tough in Ann Arbor. We’ll know more about Michigan when they play on the road — Rutgers doesn’t count. But in all honesty, this is a really weak schedule, especially with Michigan State looking off this season, and the only game that matters is the one at the end in Columbus. It’s a one-game season for the Wolverines.

8. Ole Miss (3-2)

I know, 2 losses — how can the Rebels be slotted at 8? Easy, they held double-digit leads on both Alabama and FSU before surrendering them. Ole Miss plays tough teams and are tested. Put them in a big game and they will be ready. I relate it to those college basketball teams — like MSU and Tom Izzo — who front load tough matchups in the early portion of the schedule to test themselves and get them “postseason-ready”. Ole Miss isn’t and won’t be afraid or intimidated to play against anyone.

9. Tennessee (5-1)

This is the team of 9 lives. Big comeback wins against Florida and Georgia helps make the Vols a team that won’t give  up in any game. They never think they’re out of it — and they’ve got an offense that supports that thought. Despite losing to Texas A&M on Saturday, the Vols showed that never-say-die attitude and came back from a double-digit deficit to force overtime. Big game against Alabama this weekend will show us exactly how good this team is. A win could vault Tennessee into the top 6 and make them a real, legit playoff contender.

10. Wisconsin (4-1)

The annihilation of the Spartans in East Lansing a few weeks ago had the shine come off after they went into Ann Arbor and lost to Michigan at their own game — slow, sluggish, pound-it-out. Not to mention, MSU has lost 3 straight so how impressive was the Badgers win there? All that said, Paul Chryst’s team is tough and has that very important ability to make teams play the game that Wisconsin wants. If Michigan keeps winning (and the Badgers do too, of course), the loss in Ann Arbor shouldn’t hurt them too much. Get to Indy and anything is possible.


Feedback is always welcome through the website in the comments box or on my Twitter feed — @brian22goodwin.