College Football Picks: Week 2

Last Week: 8-4                             Season Record: 8-4

So my misses last week were Maryland against Texas (while I did pick Texas, I warned that they were overrated), Ole Miss against Texas Tech, Notre Dame against Michigan, and BYU against Arizona. My upset pick of Cincinnati over UCLA came true, as I predicted there would be some growing pains for Chip Kelly’s debut. So let’s get to the picks. One thing to note, please don’t get upset: I’m abstaining from doing Clemson vs Texas A&M. I got assigned to work that game for Pro Football Focus so I’m going to pull a Kirk Herbstreit and not pick a game I’m doing. My apologies, because I think that’s one of the more interesting games on the docket. So without further ado, let’s get picking.

#18 Mississippi State (-9) vs Kansas State

Mississippi v Mississippi State

Mississippi State STEAMROLLED Stephen F. Austin last week 63-6, scoring at least 2 touchdowns in every quarter. Kansas State’s obviously better than SFA, but now Mississippi State is getting star quarterback Nick Fitzgerald back, who was suspended for the opener. With their Heisman candidate quarterback back in the fold, Mississippi State wins easily.

Projected Score: Mississippi State 42 Kansas State 21

Duke vs Northwestern (-3)

Northwestern vs Purdue was a fun game where Northwestern got out to an early lead and were barely able to hang on after a furious Boilermakers comeback. Duke is always a question mark, as David Cutcliffe’s team sometimes looks like the sneakiest team in the country, others they look like they belong outside the Power 5. I’m going to take the Wildcats for this one.

Projected Score: Northwestern 27 Duke 21

UCLA vs #6 Oklahoma (-30.5)

Goddamn was Kyler Murray impressive in his debut. He absolutely destroyed the FAU defense to the tune of 209 passing yards on 9 of 11 passing with 2 TDs while adding another 23 on the ground, including this run.


If UCLA can’t beat Cincinnati, they stand no chance against the Sooners. Oklahoma wins easily.

Projected Score: Oklahoma 51 UCLA 17

#3 Georgia (-10) vs #24 South Carolina

Georgia made quick work of Austin Peay and they don’t look like they’ve missed a step from the team that was a Tua Tagovailoa heave away from winning a national championship last year. South Carolina’s good, and I think this will be a close game, but Georgia’s winning this thing.

Projected Score: Georgia 30 South Carolina 20

Ball State vs #8 Notre Dame (-34.5)

Bloodbath.

Projected Score: Ball State 77 Notre Dame 0

JK

Projected Score: Notre Dame 52 Ball State 14

I swear to God if Ball State comes back to bite my ass for that…

Colorado vs Nebraska (-3.5)

Colorado was very impressive against Colorado State last week and this is Nebraska’s first game after last week’s scheduled game against Akron was cancelled due to inclement weather. They’re going to try and reschedule it but in the meantime they’ll be sending out true freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez to start. This will be tight but I think I’m going to take Colorado in Scott Frost’s Nebraska debut.

Projected Score: Colorado 35 Nebraska 31

Iowa State vs Iowa (-3.5)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 30 AutoZone Liberty Bowl - Memphis v Iowa State

The Battle for the CyHawk trophy has been quietly one of the best games every year and it never seems to matter who happens to be good in a given season. I think I’m going to take Iowa State in this. Runningback David Montgomery is one of the most underappreciated players in the country and I think he gets a chance to show his stuff against the Hawkeyes.

Projected Score: Iowa State 42 Iowa 38

Virginia vs Indiana (-6)

Peyton Ramsey looked impressive against FIU, though Michael Penix Jr (I giggle every time I say it) showed some playmaking ability himself. I still think the Hoosiers will roll with a dual-QB system depending on what each situation calls for. As for Virginia, they’re going to struggle. They lost all their playmakers from a year ago and they got off to a slow start against Richmond. I think Indiana wins their home opener against the Cavaliers.

Projected Score: Indiana 31 Virginia 21

Kentucky vs #25 Florida (-14)

The Florida Gators looked great against Charleston Southern last week. The defense is expected to be very good this season, though there are still some question marks surrounding the quarterback position. Kentucky has a really good linebacker in Josh Allen but other than that there isn’t a whole lot to speak of on the Kentucky roster, so I think Florida runs away with this one.

Projected Score: Florida 38 Kentucky 14

#13 Penn State (-8.5) vs Pittsburgh

Penn State had a REAL scare last week against Appalachian State, as it took a ballsy performance by Trace McSorley in the final minute and OT to win the game. They face a tougher opponent in Pittsburgh but I think the Nittany Lions will get their shit together and come away with the win.

Projected Score: Penn State 35 Pittsburgh 21

#17 USC vs #10 Stanford (-5)

I feel like this game should be saved for the end of the season, but I’m not complaining. These teams hate each other and this is going to be a damn good game. I think I’m going to go with Stanford just based purely on a hunch. I think Bryce Love reminds us why he’s the Heisman favorite as he leads the Cardinal to victory.

Projected Score: Stanford 31 USC 28

#15 Michigan State (-6) vs Arizona State

UTSA v Arizona State

Michigan State, like Penn State, survived their week 1 “cupcake” opponent, as it took a late touchdown and defensive lineman interception for them to come away with the win against Utah State. Arizona State’s going to be a lot more challenging with a receiver like N’Keal Harry for the Spartans to deal with. The Sun Devils are going to be my upset pick this week as I think they stun Michigan State at home as Herm Edwards moves to 2-0 as a college head coach.

Projected Score: Arizona State 28 Michigan State 24

That’s going to do it for this week’s picks. Let me know if you want my thoughts on any other games in the comments section below or on Facebook or Twitter @jimwyman10.

College Football Picks: Week 1

Last Season: 86-34

Football’s back. And for that reason, it’s time for me to play spoiler to what’s going to happen week-by-week. I’m going to try and do this every week, but given my schedule, this might not always be possible, but again, I’ll do my best. So enough chit chat, let’s get to picks.

Texas Spring Game

#23 Texas (-13.5) vs Maryland

I think Texas is a little overrated again this year, as they seem to be every year by the preseason AP polls, but I do think they’ll come out with the victory against Maryland. However head coach Tom Herman might have some issues coming his way in the future, as he may have also known about the domestic abuse of a former Ohio State assistant while he was there. Who knows what the future holds?

Projected Score: Texas 38, Maryland 31

Ole Miss vs Texas Tech (-2.5)

Ole Miss got ravaged by the sanctions and aside from tackle Greg Little and receiver AJ Brown, all the talent recruited in the Hugh Freeze era is pretty much gone. Texas Tech will likely be a pushover defensively once again but you can pretty much throw anybody at quarterback there and they’ll throw for 5000 yards. This year, it’s a toss-up as to who will earn the job between JUCO transfer McLane Carter and Jett Duffey, but Texas Tech’s offense had the same success with Nic Shimonek (undrafted) as they did with Pat Mahomes (10th overall pick) so whomever it is, I’m sure they’ll be fine. Texas Tech wins.

Projected Score: Texas Tech 55 Ole Miss 38

#6 Auburn (-2) vs #9 Washington

This is going to be a slugfest. Auburn returns a lot of talent from a top-10 team last year so they’ll be in contention for the SEC crown again this year. Washington is the favorite to come out of the Pac 12 so this could be a potential CFP preview. I think Auburn comes away with this one, though. I think they have more weapons both offensively and defensively and I think this is the year that Jarrett Stidham takes the next step.

Projected Score: Auburn 31 Washington 27

West Virginia v Kansas State

#17 West Virginia (-9.5) vs Tennessee

Will Grier is in the conversation to be the top quarterback taken in the 2019 NFL Draft but I think he’s got a little too much of a gunslinger mentality for me to trust him just yet. But I think he shows plenty of flashes as he takes apart the Volunteer defense.

Projected Score: West Virginia 35 Tennessee 24

North Carolina vs California (-7)

I never know what to expect out of North Carolina on a year-to-year basis. Some years, they’re competing for an ACC title. Others they’re struggling to win 3 games. I think this one leans towards the latter, unfortunately for Tar Heel fans, as they don’t have a quarterback like Mitch Trubisky or the defensive talent to compensate for that. Cal wins and I think they do it handily.

California 42 North Carolina 21

Cincinnati vs UCLA (-15)

The Chip Kelly era at UCLA begins and former Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight will get the start. Not sure how Speight fits Kelly’s system, but Nick Foles had success in it with the Eagles and he has even less mobility than Speight does so I’m sure they’ll find a way to make it work. I think there will be some growing pains, though, and I think I’m going to pick this game as my upset. Cincinnati is always a tricky team and can sneak up on you if you aren’t careful. Cincinnati edges UCLA as Kelly drops his debut.

Projected Score: Cincinnati 31 UCLA 30

Outback Bowl -  Michigan v South Carolina

#14 Michigan vs #12 Notre Dame (-1)

The rivalry is back on and it looks to be a defensive slugfest. Michigan has about as loaded a defense as there is in the country while there is some uncertainty on offense. Former Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson is getting the start and while he has shown flashes, he hasn’t quite materialized like everyone expected when he was a 5-star recruit. As for Notre Dame, there’s a little bit of uncertainty at quarterback. Brandon Wimbush showed a lot of ability but was inconsistent at times while Ian Book looked really sharp in relief. It’ll be interesting to see what Brian Kelly rolls out there Saturday night. But I think Michigan’s defense makes more plays and they win a low-scoring affair.

Projected Score: Michigan 20 Notre Dame 17

Louisville vs #1 Alabama (-24)

Alabama has another high profile game to open their season against Louisville and I’m going to be perfectly honest, that line seems a little generous. ‘Bama is as loaded as ever and Louisville lost Lamar Jackson to the NFL, who was the team the last few years. There is some uncertainty at quarterback for the Crimson Tide as Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa both are vying for the spot, but I think Bama wins the game handily with a steady dose of defense and the ground game with Damien Harris and Najee Harris (no relation).

Projected Score: Alabama 51 Louisville 17

BYU vs Arizona (-11.5)

Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate is one of the most exciting players in the country and he’ll have a full season as the starter under his belt to cement himself as the most dynamic player in the country. I think he runs all over the BYU defense and Arizona wins handily.

Projected Score: Arizona 48 BYU 24

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#8 Miami (FL) (-3.5) vs #25 LSU

Miami had a breakout season last year thanks to the Turnover Chain but they finished pretty slowly, as they ended the season with losses to Pittsburgh, Clemson, and Wisconsin with the Turnover Chain getting destroyed and humiliated. I have a feeling that LSU is going to take this one in a low-scoring turnover-fest.

Projected Score: LSU 17 Miami (FL) 13

#20 Virginia Tech vs #19 Florida State (-7)

Last year could not have gone much worse for Florida State. They start the year ranked 4th, Deondre Francois goes down for the year in Week 1, they struggle to reach a bowl game, and Jimbo Fisher leaves for Texas A&M. On the other side, things could not have gone much better for Virginia Tech as Justin Jackson showed a lot of flashes as a true freshman quarterback. They will look to build on last year’s success as they try and take down the Seminoles and I think they do.

Projected Score: Virginia Tech 31 Florida State 24

BONUS GAME: Indiana (-10.5) vs Florida International

Only I care about this game but screw it, it’s my blog. FIU tends to play Indiana pretty tough for most of the game, as they nearly pulled off the upset each of the last two times they played (2015 and 16, 17 was cancelled due to hurricane). Peyton Ramsey has been named the starting quarterback and I think he’s an efficient passer, albeit limited in terms of skillset. Indiana will win, but it’ll be close.

Projected Score: Indiana 28 FIU 20

Are there any games I didn’t do that you want my thoughts on? Let me know what you think in the comments section below or on Facebook or Twitter @jimwyman10.

How Jimmy Garoppolo’s Success Has Reshaped the NFL Offseason

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Heading into the Trade Deadline, the 49ers were having a season from Hell. They were 0-8 and it seemed feasible that they could end the season winless. Then they sent a second round pick to the New England Patriots for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, whom the Patriots had been grooming since they drafted him in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. They went 1-2 with CJ Beathard at quarterback and Garoppolo on the bench before he finally entered the game in the the 49ers’ loss to the Seahawks, throwing a touchdown in the process. After that appearance, it was announced that Garoppolo would remain the team’s starter. They haven’t lost since.

Sure the 49ers sit at a 5-10 record and will surely have a high draft pick, but the future is extremely bright, provided they shell out the money that Garoppolo will command. Jimmy G is a free agent at the end of the year, which was a big deciding factor for New England to trade him despite Tom Brady being 40 years old. I think it’s pretty clear that the 49ers are at worst going to franchise tag him, then work out a long term deal. He’s provided too much of a spark for the team and for the fan base to be allowed to leave. A big pay day is in his future. An argument against this could be that Garoppolo was beating lesser teams. Now yes, his first three wins were the hapless Bears, the injured Texans, and the underwhelming Titans. But then on Christmas Eve he led the ‘9ers to 44 points against one of the toughest defenses in the NFL in their win over the Jaguars. That pretty much confirmed for me that Garoppolo is no fluke. Some fans might complain that he may be playing too well, as a win on Sunday against the Rams could quite possibly knock them out of the top 10 picks (they currently sit at #8), which could’ve been used on a guy like Penn State’s Saquon Barkley. But I’m sure 49ers fans will live with great play out of their young signal caller. The future is certainly bright.

With Garoppolo’s emergence, a different quarterback’s situation changes DRASTICALLY: Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins. The obvious potential destination for Cousins (he developed into a good quarterback under the tutelage of current 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan) is now gone so what this could mean is that Cousins may be stuck with the eternal franchise tag in Washington, which can’t be too bad of a gig as he’s going to be making well over $20 million under it. However there is no certainty around it whatsoever, which often makes players nervous and can put a lot of pressure on Cousins, as he’s basically in a contract year every year. A potential destination could be the Bills, who seem to be very non-committal to Tyrod Taylor and are blessed with two first round picks in 2018 thanks to the trade they made last year with the Chiefs so they could take Pat Mahomes. I don’t think they’ll do it, though. Both of the Bills picks will likely come in the late teens-early 20s range and each of the prize quarterbacks will likely be gone by then. The Redskins will need to acquire a pick in the top 10 to ensure they land one of the various talented quarterbacks in this year’s draft if they decide to trade Cousins. This could make the Browns an enticing option, as they will likely have 2 top 10 picks this year thanks to their trade with the Texans for the right to draft Deshaun Watson.

Garoppolo’s emergence also relinquishes one QB-needy team in the upcoming NFL Draft. I did a couple of personal mock drafts in my spare time earlier this year (because that’s the type of football guy I am) and each time I had the 49ers up, I either had them taking USC’s Sam Darnold or UCLA’s Josh Rosen, my two highest-rated quarterbacks. However not only has Garoppolo’s performance filled the gap the 49ers have had at quarterback that has been there since the height of Colin Kaepernick’s playing career, but it has knocked them out of a position to take one of these guys. This could actually make them into a very enticing trade partner. A team in the later part of the draft could get desperate if they think a team ahead of them will take the quarterback they wanted, so the 49ers’ phones will likely be ringing with calls from teams willing to trade up. Hell, it worked for the Bills last year. The Chiefs were scared the Saints were going to take Pat Mahomes (which they were), so they swapped with the Bills to jump one spot ahead of the Saints and gave up a future first rounder to Buffalo with the trade (the Saints ended up with cornerback Marshon Lattimore, so I don’t think they are too disappointed). I wouldn’t put it past a team like the Bills, possibly the Redskins, the Jaguars, or the Cardinals to part with a 2019 first rounder in order to move into the top 10 and the 49ers could be the beneficiaries of these desperations.

Garoppolo’s emergence could also make the 49ers an enticing free agent destination. They have the second most projected cap space in the NFL, barely trailing the Browns and significantly ahead of the third place Colts, so they ought to be big players in the free agent market. Potential free agents include Le’Veon Bell, Nate Solder, Trumaine Johnson, Dontari Poe, Ziggy Ansah, Malcolm Butler, and many others. If these guys want to be a part of an upstart organization, then the 49ers will be a very sexy pick and they’ll be able to get a little more cash than they would from a team that’s strapped for it such as the Chiefs and Eagles (who are expected to be over budget next season).

It’s pretty amazing how much one guy can change the fortunes of a franchise. The 49ers appear to have an extremely promising future and all it took to acquire it was what currently stands as the 40th overall pick in the Draft. That’s it for today’s blog, let me know what you think of Jimmy Garoppolo in the comments section below or on Facebook or Twitter @jimwyman10 and contribute to my Patreon.

NFL Picks: Week 7

Last Week: 7-7                     Season Record: 27-33

I’m still struggling in the NFL picks department, but how was I supposed to know that the Giants would somehow show up against the Broncos without any wide receivers and win? Or that the Chiefs would pull a 2016 Vikings and start at 5-0 then hit a losing streak (I did finally miss the Thursday night pick this week, I picked KC but Oakland pulled out the win). Both losses at home, no less. So I really have no idea how this week is going to play out, but my hopes at a winning week aren’t off to a great start. Let’s get picking.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) vs Buffalo Bills (3-2)

The Buccaneers have been really inconsistent this season. They looked great to start the year but have been really sluggish the last couple of weeks until Ryan Fitzpatrick led a crazy comeback attempt in relief of an injured Jameis Winston against the Cardinals that fell just short. The Buccaneers have said that Winston WILL start this game against Buffalo, who is coming off their bye after beating Atlanta and losing to Cincinnati. The defense for the Bills has been very good but the offense hasn’t quite matched that production yet. Tampa’s defense has been really banged up, especially at the linebacker position, so this game is going to be close. I think I’m going to go with Buffalo, I think their defense will create turnovers that put their offense in good field position.

Projected Score: Bills 27 Buccaneers 20

Carolina Panthers (4-2) vs Chicago Bears (2-4)

The Panthers have had some really good wins this year but are coming off a Thursday night loss to the Eagles, who all of a sudden have the best record in football. Defensively, Carolina has been sharp and while Cam Newton has been inconsistent, he’s also had some games where he has absolutely torched defenses. They face the Bears who are coming off a huge overtime win over the Ravens, the first win in the young career of Mitchell Trubisky. However, they still appear to be playing Trubisky in a manner that doesn’t put him at risk, as they limited his pass attempts and ran the ball over 30 times with Jordan Howard. It worked last week and they face another tough defense in Carolina, however they will be without superstar linebacker Luke Kuechly due to another head injury. I still think the Panthers will win it, as I think the Bears are playing it a little too safely with Trubisky.

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Cam Newton needs to be more consistent if the Panthers hope to win the NFC South (photo credit: Heavy.com)

Projected Score: Panthers 21 Bears 7

Tennessee Titans (3-3) vs Cleveland Browns (0-6)

Tennessee looked really sluggish for most of the Monday Night game against the Colts but they REALLY turned it on in the second half, as Marcus Mariota, DeMarco Murray, and Derrick Henry led the Titans offense to 36 points in the win. The Browns have given the starting quarterback job back to Deshone Kizer after the disastrous performance by Kevin Hogan against the Texans. Hogan’s performance was so bad, in fact, that he got dropped all the way to third string for this game. Hopefully for Browns fans, Kizer had a fire lit under him when he got benched and he will come out and put on a big performance against an underachieving Titans defense. Myles Garrett has been a beast in the first 2 games of his NFL career with 3 sacks in his first 2 games with limited playing time. I think Tennessee wins, but I have a gut feeling that Cleveland will compete this time around.

Projected Score: Titans 28 Browns 24

New Orleans Saints (3-2) vs Green Bay Packers (4-2)

Aaron Rodgers was officially placed on IR after breaking his collarbone last week against the Vikings, effectively ending his season. It will be up to Brett Hundley now to try and lead Green Bay in a suddenly wide open NFC North. He had his struggles against the Vikings, but I also saw some good things, like his TD pass to Davante Adams, where he baited the defense to come up on him like he was going to run before softly tossing the ball to Adams as he crossed into the end zone. While the Saints nearly blew a 35 point lead to Detroit last week, they have to be feeling really good about where their offense is. 52 points on any team is a feat in its own right but to do it against a solid Lions defense while Drew Brees only throws for 186 yards is pretty crazy to think about. Green Bay’s defense has been solid this season but I still think the Saints score plenty of points, as they have looked pretty good these last few games. I got the Saints in this one.

Projected Score: Saints 35 Packers 20

Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3) vs Indianapolis Colts (2-4)

The Jaguars have gone win-loss-win-loss-win-loss to start the year and there’s no reason to think they won’t continue the trend this time out against the Colts. Jacksonville’s defense has been fun to watch this season and they face a Colts team that has struggled without Andrew Luck. As I’ve said in the past, Jacoby Brissett has kept the Colts from being an embarrassment but that’s about it. Defensively they’ve been bad and will have a really hard time stopping Leonard Fournette, who is absolutely on fire right now after back-to-back big games against the Steelers and Rams. I got the Jags this week.

UPDATE: Leonard Fournette not expected to play due to a bum ankle. I’m still picking Jags,

Projected Score: Jaguars 38 Colts 14

Arizona Cardinals (3-3) vs Los Angeles Rams (4-2)

The Cardinals damn-near choked away a 31-0 lead against a Ryan Fitzpatrick-led Buccaneers team and that’s got to have them nervous going against the Rams. Adrian Peterson played really well in his first game with the Cardinals, showing that he still has some gas left in the tank and that the Saints were just a bad fit for him. Larry Fitzgerald also had a big game but as a team they got complacent with the huge lead and almost lost it. They face a Rams team that quietly has the second highest scoring offense in football as they’ve gotten a huge breakout season from Jared Goff and an MVP-caliber season out of Todd Gurley. I think the Rams win this on the strength of their offense.

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Todd Gurley has had a nice bounceback season with the Rams (photo credit: LA Times)

Projected Score: Rams 34 Cardinals 21

New York Jets (3-3) vs Miami Dolphins (3-2)

I’m not going to sit here and defend the non-touchdown for Austin Seferian-Jenkins against New England last week. I’ll let it be known that I’m a Pats fan, and even I think the Jets got screwed on that call. Sure he bobbled it as he was going out but he never lost the ball, it’s not like he didn’t complete the process of a catch or anything. But I digress, the Jets looked really bad in their first 2 games but in their most recent 4 they’ve been really scrappy, including a 3-game win streak and taking the Patriots to the brink last time out. They’re facing a Dolphins team that erased a 17-0 halftime deficit against the Falcons and came away from Atlanta with a victory. Atlanta really just needs to stop getting out to big leads. Both offenses have struggled this year while their defenses have been really impressive. This is going to be close but I think the Dolphins will win.

Projected Score: Dolphins 20 Jets 17

Baltimore Ravens (3-3) vs Minnesota Vikings (4-2)

The Ravens are coming off a loss to the Bears where their offense and defense struggled but it was their special teams that kept them in the game, scoring two TDs from their return units. The Vikings have to be feeling pretty good about themselves after beating Green Bay and knocking out Aaron Rodgers. Teddy Bridgewater is practicing again for the first time in over a year after it was at one point thought he would never play again. Sam Bradford is still banged up but Case Keenum has been serviceable for the Vikings. Despite losing Dalvin Cook to a torn ACL, the Vikings have gotten solid contributions out of the duo of Jerick McKinnon and Latavius Murray. I think the Vikings win this, I just trust them a little bit more than this Ravens team.

Projected Score: Vikings 27 Ravens 20

Dallas Cowboys (2-3) vs San Francisco 49ers (0-6)

The Cowboys are basically playing week to week as to whether or not they will be without Ezekiel Elliott, as he gets another restraining order on his suspension. Elliott has yet to miss a game this season but it hasn’t led to victories for the Cowboys, as they’ve already matched last season’s loss total. They face a 49ers team that just have to be frustrated beyond belief right now. That’s 5 straight losses of 3 or fewer points with their 26-24 loss to the Redskins last week. As I said last week, this isn’t a talented roster but they’re in every game. A lot of credit has to go to Kyle Shanahan but it has to be a matter of time before these guys either get discouraged, or get really pissed off with these losses and blow up on a team. I’m not confident that this will be the game, though and I’m leaning towards the Cowboys this week.

Projected Score: Cowboys 31 49ers 27

Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) vs Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2)

The Bengals are coming off a bye after 2 straight wins over the Bills and Browns. While those aren’t the greatest teams in the world, the offense has shown a lot of improvement since they changed offensive coordinators. They face a Steelers team that was the first team all season to beat the Chiefs, as they fed Le’Veon Bell over and over again as he wore down the KC defense. I wouldn’t be surprised if they try more of the same against the Bengals, who have a tough defense like KC’s and have a knack for turnovers. This will be a tight game, but I’m going to go with the Steelers.

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Le’Veon Bell has been the workhorse for the Steelers for the last few years (photo credit: Inside the Star)

Projected Score: Steelers 34 Bengals 30

Denver Broncos (3-2) vs Los Angeles Chargers (2-4)

The Broncos have to be kicking themselves for wasting a big opportunity against a hurting Giants team by laying down to the boys in blue. Trevor Siemian has been inconsistent with the Broncos and they’ve had a hard time finishing drives. Despite being above average in yards per game, they’re below average in points. The Chargers have to be on cloud 9 right now after back to back big wins against the Giants and Raiders. I did say that the Chargers didn’t have the look of a bad team and they’ve finally shown some life these last couple weeks. I think this game will come down to the final drive and I actually am going to go with the upset pick in the Chargers, just a gut feeling.

Projected Score: Chargers 24 Broncos 17

Seattle Seahawks (3-2) vs New York Giants (1-5)

The Seahawks are a talented team that hasn’t quite played up to that talent this season. Sure they have some games where they look downright dominant but they’ll also have these games where they just flop. They will need to be on their game against this Giants team, which has to be feeling good about itself after finally getting into the win column in prime time against the Broncos. The Giants defense played extremely well last week and they will need a repeat performance if they’re going to take down the Seahawks. I think the defense will play well, but not well enough to stop Seattle for four quarters.

Projected Score: Seahawks 27 Giants 13

Atlanta Falcons (3-2) vs New England Patriots (4-2)

The Falcons have back to back losses where they lost at home to AFC East opponents. That’s uncharacteristic of this Dan Quinn team that thrived at home last season. They blew a 17-0 halftime lead and now they face the team who they infamously blew a 28-3 third quarter lead in Super Bowl 51 against in the New England Patriots. The Patriots defense has been trash this season, however they do flash the occasional spark, such as their last two outings against the Jets and Buccaneers where they were more of a bend but don’t break type of defense. Atlanta’s offense is a lot more explosive than what they faced against the Bucs and Jets and I think this will be a shootout. I think Tom Brady is going to be the difference, though, as Matt Ryan has struggled the last couple games.

Projected Score: Patriots 45 Falcons 42

Washington Redskins (3-2) vs Philadelphia Eagles (5-1)

This Monday night game features two NFC East opponents that played each other in Week 1, which the Eagles won 30-17. Carson Wentz has been a stud this season and has arguably been league MVP as we approach the season’s halfway point. After the Chiefs lost on Thursday, the Eagles now own the best record in football. Washington is going to be without stud rookie defensive tackle Jonathan Allen for the remainder of the season, which is going to hurt but I think this Redskins defense is tough enough to survive without him. However I think Carson Wentz makes too many plays and the Eagles win.

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The combination of Carson Wentz and Zach Ertz has been deadly this season (photo credit: Philadelphia Magazine)

Projected Score: Eagles 34 Redskins 24

Teams on Bye: Detroit Lions, Houston Texans

Those are my picks this week, I pray that I finally have a good week. The NFL has not been kind to me this season. Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments section below or on Facebook or Twitter @jimwyman10.

 

NFL Picks: Week 5

Last Week: 8-8              Season Record: 14-18

NFL picks have been hard as Hell this year. So many upsets that it makes me look like I don’t know shit about football. Kind of makes me tear up a little bit. But I digress. I picked the Patriots for Thursday Night Football, however I anticipated a shootout. Still counting it in the win column (lord knows I need it). On to the picks.

Buffalo Bills (3-1) vs Cincinnati Bengals (1-3)

How the Hell are the Bills 3-1??  It’s one thing to beat the Jets, but the Falcons and Broncos? Rookie head coach Sean McDermott has inspired life into this defense as they have yet to allow a 20 point game on the season. Rookie corner Tre’Davious White (whom they traded down 17 spots to take) has had a seamless transition from LSU to the pros. He looks to lead the stopping forces against a Bengals team that’s coming off its first victory of the season, a 31-7 thrashing of in-state rival Cleveland. The offense finally looks like a real NFL unit and the defense has been as good as ever. I think this one ends up being a low scoring game and I’m going to have Buffalo getting to 4-1.

Projected Score: Bills 23 Bengals 17

New York Jets (2-2) vs Cleveland Browns (0-4)

So much for tanking, I guess. The Jets are coming off back-to-back victories over the Dolphins and Jaguars in OT and their defense has been playing really well since getting stomped by Oakland. They face a Browns team that still appears to be a mess, but a less filthy mess at that. Top overall pick Myles Garrett is set to make his professional debut after dealing with a high ankle sprain since the preseason. I think he has a big game and inspires life in this Browns team that gets their first win of the season.

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Top pick Myles Garrett will make his professional debut against the Jets (photo credit: Sports Illustrated)

Projected Score: Browns 20 Jets 10

Carolina Panthers (3-1) vs Detroit Lions (3-1)

Carolina’s offense finally broke out against the Patriots last week, as Cam Newton was 22-29 for 316 yards and 3 TDs. They are currently dealing with the drama about some comments Cam made and it’s a bad time to have anything else on your mind when going up against this Lions team with as physical a defense as anyone in football. They’ve shut down the Cardinals, Giants, and Vikings offenses and were able to cause some chaos against a very good Falcons offense in their one loss on the year. I have Detroit winning this one, but Carolina makes it interesting late.

Projected Score: Lions 24 Panthers 20

San Francisco 49ers (0-4) vs Indianapolis Colts (1-3)

The 49ers have yet to really get anything going this season aside from a 39-point outburst against the Rams. They came extremely close to beating the Cardinals in OT last week and they look to ride that momentum into Indianapolis to take on a Colts team that held its own in Seattle for about 2 and a half quarters. They are still without Andrew Luck and while Jacoby Brissett has been serviceable, the Colts need their signal-caller back if they’re going to have any hope of salvaging this season. I think San Francisco finally gets over the hump and gets their first win.

Projected Score: 49ers 28 Colts 17

Tennessee Titans (2-2) vs Miami Dolphins (1-2)

Both of these teams are coming off of really bad losses. The Titans got their bell rung against the Texans 57-14 in Deshaun Watson’s coming out party while the Dolphins return from London having gotten shut out by the Saints. Marcus Mariota may not be able to go in this one after injuring his hamstring in the loss to Houston. He’ll be a gametime decision. The Dolphins haven’t scored a point with time on the clock since Week 2 against the Chargers. Jay Cutler has been poor for the Fish and it begs the question of whether the Dolphins should go with Matt Moore. I think the Titans win this game in a blowout if Mariota plays or a low-scoring affair if Matt Cassel has to start.

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Marcus Mariota’s health will be a big deciding factor in their game against Miami (photo credit: Athlon Sports)

Projected Score: Titans 27 Dolphins 7

Los Angeles Chargers (0-4) vs New York Giants (0-4)

Who the Hell is scheduling all of these matchups between weak teams? This season has been a disaster for the Chargers as not only have they not won a game yet, but nobody is showing up to see them lose. They’ve been unable to sell out the league’s smallest stadium and there are even talks of whether or not the league should send the team back to San Diego. There is a bright side for the Chargers: if you lost, but nobody is around to see you lose, did it really happen? The Giants have begun to show a pulse in these last couple of weeks, as they’ve lost on last second field goals to the Eagles and Buccaneers (yes, the Buccaneers actually hit a field goal). They face a Chargers team that just wants this year to be over with and I think this is when the G-Men finally get that first win, though I’ve picked them each of the last two weeks and they’ve let me down each time. So I’m still picking the Giants, but the Chargers will probably win just to spite me.

Projected Score: Giants 35 Chargers 21

Arizona Cardinals (2-2) vs Philadelphia Eagles (3-1)

Arizona is coming off an OT win over the 49ers and are somehow 2-2 despite all the problems they’ve had offensively. They face a challenging Eagles defense that has made life Hell for opposing offenses, allowing the seventh fewest points per game and the third lowest total yardage allowed. Their offense has been solid as well. Tight end Zach Ertz is having a breakout year while Carson Wentz continues to grow as a QB. Both Cardinals losses have come against good teams and their two wins have come against bad teams. The Eagles are a good team. The Cardinals will lose.

Projected Score: Eagles 27 Cardinals 10

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2) vs Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1)

I have literally no effing clue of what to make of the Jaguars. Their games have gone as follows: murder the Texans, get crushed by the Titans, embarrass the Ravens, suck against the Jets. By that logic, we should assume that this will be a good week for the Jaguars, as their performance has been good-bad-good-bad. But they face a Steelers team that shut down the Ravens almost as well as Jacksonville did and their one loss was a fluky OT blunder against the Bears. The Steelers defense has been solid and will look to stop an inconsistent Jaguars offense. I think this game comes down to the wire, but the Steelers outlast the Jags.

Projected Score: Steelers 31 Jaguars 28

Seattle Seahawks (2-2) vs Los Angeles Rams (3-1)

The Seahawks are coming off a win over the Colts where they were really sluggish in the first half but woke up in the second half and stomped on their throats. Chris Carson has been a revelation for this Seahawks team in dire need of a runningback. They still have a LOT of issues on the offensive line, but the offense is starting to show some life. The Rams have been a lot of fun this season and Sean McVay has Jared Goff looking like Aaron Rodgers. This Wade Phillips defense has been flying around the ball and they caused a lot of problems for a good Cowboys team in Jerry World. I think the Rams take this game and make a statement to the rest of the league that they’ve arrived.

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Jared Goff has look excellent in Year 2 (photo credit: CBS Sports)

Projected Score: Rams 35 Seahawks 20

Baltimore Ravens (2-2) vs Oakland Raiders (2-2)

Both teams are riding 2-game losing streaks where they have gotten nothing to work. Something has to give. The Ravens offense has been putrid since their laughable performance in London while the Raiders, who had been scuffling, will lose star quarterback Derek Carr to a back injury for an unknown period of time, however he surprisingly practiced this week. It’s going to be EJ Manuel at QB for the Raiders and I think that’s all Baltimore needs to get back on track.

Projected Score: Ravens 23 Raiders 14

Green Bay Packers (3-1) vs Dallas Cowboys (2-2)

This is probably going to be the best game of the week. These teams have played instant classic playoff games in two of the last three seasons and they have both provided some exciting football on the year. The Packers offense has been inconsistent but the defense has been impressive with the exception of Week 2 against Atlanta. Meanwhile, Dallas has been really up-and-down this season. They put on a good showing against the Giants and Cardinals in prime time games, but they’ve struggled mightily when the game has been during the afternoon. This game is at 4:25 this week and I think the Packers will take a fun one.

Projected Score: Packers 38 Cowboys 31

Kansas City Chiefs (4-0) vs Houston Texans (2-2)

The Chiefs have been the best team in football through the first quarter of the season and they are the lone unbeaten team in the NFL. Alex Smith has come back down to Earth a bit but Kareem Hunt continues to be a maniac, leading the NFL in rushing by 140 yards. Their defense has also been good despite losing team leader Eric Berry for the season in Week 1. They face a Texans team whose offense finally has an identity under Deshaun Watson, who seems to get better every week. This will be a close game, but I think Kansas City pulls it out and gets to 5-0.

Projected Score: Chiefs 28 Texans 23

Minnesota Vikings (2-2) vs Chicago Bears (1-3)

The Vikings are still without Sam Bradford however that may not be for much longer, as he reportedly feels “much better” on his injured leg. The defense has been impressive all season while the offense has been inconsistent, though losing stud rookie Dalvin Cook for the season to a torn ACL is going to hurt. The Mitchell Trubisky era has begun in Chicago as the Bears benched Mike Glennon in favor of the second overall pick in the draft. Trubisky had a reallly impressive preseason and Glennon has struggled this season, especially in last Thursday’s game against the Packers. The Bears’ offense will be a little neutered in starting the rookie and I think the Vikings defense takes over this game.

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Second overall pick Mitchell Trubisky will make his professional debut Monday Night against the Vikings (photo credit: Sporting News)

Projected Score: Vikings 21 Bears 7

Teams on Bye: Washington Redskins, Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons

Those are my picks for this week, hopefully I can get a winning record for the first time all season. Do you like my picks? Do you think they’re the worst thing since Joe Flacco’s London QBR? Let me know in the comments below or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter @jimwyman10.

College Football Picks: Week 4

This is a segment I will be doing on a weekly basis until the end of the season. The analysis will be short and sweet. Think of it like ESPN’s College Gameday, but on a blog…but don’t actually because that sounds insanely boring and I’m trying to build an audience here.

On to the picks:

NC State vs #12 Florida State (-12.5)

Believe it or not this is FSU’s first game since losing to Alabama week 1 and losing their starting quarterback, Deondre Francois, for the season. Normally, I would put FSU on upset alert in this situation, especially considering NC State has some exciting playmakers, such as pass rusher Bradley Chubb. But the Seminoles have had 3 weeks to prepare for this game and Jimbo Fisher is a good enough coach to where I believe he will have true freshman QB James Blackman ready to go.

Projected Score: Florida State 35 NC State 19

Texas A&M vs Arkansas (-2.5)

TAMU coach Kevin Sumlin has been on the hot seat all year and it caught fire after the Aggies blew a 34-point lead against UCLA in the opening week. Suddenly 28-3 doesn’t look so bad, Falcons fans. They were also put to the test by Nicholls State, who nearly rallied to upset the Aggies, and they trailed Louisiana-Lafayette at halftime. If they struggled against low level competition such as these teams, then an SEC team such as Arkansas is going to go to town on them. Kevin Sumlin’s hot seat:

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Projected Score: Arkansas 28 Texas A&M 17

Pittsburgh vs Georgia Tech (-9.5)

Oklahoma State just scored again. The Pitt defense was absolutely embarrassed by Mason Rudolph and the Oklahoma State Cowboys last week. This team lost a lot last season, including quarterback Nathan Peterman and runningback James Conner, a former ACC player of the year as well as a point of inspiration for the team after his bout with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Pitt was so bad last week that the university was offering free drinks to anyone who stayed the entirety of the game. The contents of those drinks are unknown, however. Georgia Tech barely lost to a good Tennessee team in week 1, electing to go for the win rather than a tie to send to another overtime and failing, then did their jobs and stomped all over Jacksonville State. For whatever reason, their wishbone triple option offense seems to work. Yellow Jackets big.

Projected Score: Georgia Tech 45 Pittsburgh 13

#1 Alabama (-18.5) vs Vanderbilt

Alabama is unquestionably the top team in the country facing a Vanderbilt team that traditionally is a bottom dweller in a loaded conference. However Vanderbilt has played very well to start this season, especially on defense, having only given up 1 total touchdown in their first 3 games, which includes a victory over then 18th-ranked Kansas State. This could be a dangerous game for Alabama. However, Nick Saban is the greatest coach in the history of college football and his guys will outlast the Commodores. I have Bama winning, but I think Vandy beats the spread.

Projected Score: Alabama 27 Vanderbilt 17

#5 USC (-17) vs California

I’m going to be frank: USC has NOT impressed me this season. For a team with as much preseason hype as they’ve gotten (Lee Corso picked them to win it all), they haven’t shown me much these first few weeks. They barely beat Western Michigan in a Week 1 game where I legitimately felt that they were dangerously close to losing. They did bounce back nicely and beat then #14 Stanford pretty convincingly, but they follow that up by escaping a Texas team that refuses to prove they’re still a legitimate football program. Cal, on the other hand, already has 2 non-conference Power-5 wins and has looked pretty solid offensively. Plus, this game is being played in Berkeley. I think Cal scores the upset.

Projected Score: California 42 USC 34

#16 TCU vs #6 Oklahoma State (-13.5)

This is going to be a fun game, I can feel it. Both offenses have shown they can light up a scoreboard with the best of them. OKST QB Mason Rudolph looks like a legit Heisman contender after he scorched Pitt for 497 yards and 5 TDs through the air. Did I mention his day was done midway through the third quarter? TCU’s Kenny “Trill” Hill (remember when he was supposed to be Manziel’s heir at TAMU?) was also really sharp in a 56-36 beatdown of SMU, throwing for 365 and 4 TDs. This one is going to be a defense-optional shootout that will last 5 hours but the plethora of offense will totally be worth it.

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Oklahoma State Quarterback Mason Rudolph has proven to be a legitimate candidate for the Heisman Trophy. (photo credit: Pistols Firing)

Projected Score: Oklahoma State 56 TCU 52

#8 Michigan (-10.5) vs Purdue

I’ll be the first to admit, I am SHOCKED at how well Purdue has played these first three games. This was a team that struck fear into the hearts of MAYBE a Mighty Might team these last few years, but no one else. Yet they take Louisville and reigning Heisman winner Lamar Jackson to the limit in Week 1, beat down on Ohio in week 2, and absolutely embarrass Missouri on their home turf in week 3. Whatever new head coach Jeff Brohm is doing over there is Big Ten Coach of the Year-level stuff, and this is coming from an IU student who would rather chug Everclear than think about a Purdue victory. Michigan, on the other hand, has looked sluggish offensively. Being mediocre against Florida is one thing, but looking slow against the likes of Air Force and Cincinnati? Unacceptable. The defense hasn’t missed a step from last year, however, despite losing 10 starters to the NFL. Michigan will still win this game, but it will be on the strength of their defense, not their offense.

Projected Score: Michigan 20 Purdue 14

#17 Mississippi State vs #11 Georgia (-4.5)

Holy shit, did Mississippi State put the beatdown on LSU or what? I’m not sure if I’ve ever been more impressed by a single effort than I was last week by Nick Fitzgerald and the Bulldogs. Fitzgerald has officially taken the torch from Dak Prescott as the new face of Mississippi State football and has a legitimate Heisman case. However, the other Bulldogs in the SEC will have something to say about that. Despite the loss of starting QB Jacob Eason for an unknown period of time, Georgia has looked very good to start this new season, which included a very physical victory over Notre Dame and a convincing win over an underrated Appalachian State squad. Jake Fromm has looked pretty sharp to start the young campaign and the best runningback duo in the nation in Nick Chubb and Sony Michel has given the Bulldogs a huge lift.

Projected Score: Georgia 24 Mississippi State 20

#4 Penn State (-12.5) vs Iowa

Penn State has not missed a beat after winning the Big Ten last season, though that’s to be expected considering how little they lost in the offseason. Saquon Barkley continues to cement his claim as the best runningback in the nation and Trace McSorley continues to prove that Christian Hackenberg’s struggles were his own, not James Franklin’s. The defense has also been impressive. They’ve shut out 2 out of their 3 opponents so far this season. Granted those shutouts came against Akron and Georgia State, but a shutout is a shutout. Even Alabama let up points to Chattanooga last year. Iowa is going to struggle to score and will struggle to stop this Penn State attack, despite the talent they have on both sides of the ball. Penn State will get some voters considering them for the number 1 ranking after this week’s game.

Projected Score: Penn State 49 Iowa 17

Notre Dame (-3) vs Michigan State

It is hard to tell what to make of either of these two teams. Both had disastrous campaigns last season and have gotten off to solid starts to begin this new year. Notre Dame has been inconsistent offensively, though that could be due in large part to Brandon Wimbush adjusting to being in the starting role. The defense has impressed, however, especially considering how poor they were last season. Michigan State’s 2016 season was an unmitigated disaster and despite being 2-0 to start this new season, they haven’t really impressed in those two wins over lower level competition. But 2 wins is 2 wins and the Spartan defense has also looked impressive to begin the year. But I think Notre Dame avenges the loss last year and gets themselves back on track.

Projected Score: Notre Dame 27 Michigan State 20

#7 Washington (-11.5) vs Colorado

A rematch of last year’s Pac 12 championship game, Washington will look for a repeat performance, where they throttled Colorado en route to a playoff spot. Colorado will look for revenge, but they simply don’t have the weapons to compete with Washington’s talent in all three phases of the game. Sefo Liufau overachieved for them last year and he’s now being stashed away by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (was totally rooting for him to make the team, he came off as very likable on Hard Knocks). Washington, despite losing record-breaking burner John Ross, still has too many weapons for Colorado to keep up with and will coast to another victory.

Projected Score: Washington 45 Colorado 20

Bonus Game: Georgia Southern vs Indiana (-24) 

This is more a bonus for me than anything as I’m the only person in the world who would really give a damn about watching this game. I’ll be enjoying this one from the comforts of the IU student section. IU looked really good in the first 2 and a half quarters against Ohio State and rebounded nicely against Virginia the following week. Due to Hurricane Irma cancelling their tilt with Florida International, IU has had a week to prepare for the triple option of Georgia Southern and their staunch defense should have no problem containing the winless Eagles.

Projected Score: Indiana 38 Georgia Southern 14

Those are my picks. Probably will have made an absolute fool of myself with a few of them but that’s the fun in picking games. Unless you’re using this blog for insights on who to bet on. In which case, you’re getting REALLY desperate and should probably go seek out help if you’re using a barely established blog written by some kid who isn’t making any money off of it…yet.