Bowl season officially begins for college football this weekend, with three games on Saturday. The afternoon starts with the Temple Owls taking on the Wyoming Cowboys in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. Afterward, the MAC runner up Ohio faces Utah State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. (fantastic name) In the nightcap, San Diego State plays Louisiana Lafayette in the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. For some college football fanatics, these match-ups will be an interesting part of the college football bowl season. However, they could still take place before or during a playoff if there ever is one. Even if there is never a playoff system in major college football, hope springs eternal.
A look at key NFL match-ups
The National Football League is beginning to heat up because the pro game does have playoffs to look forward to. The Atlanta Falcons host the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday Night Football tonight. The 8-5 Dirty Birds saved their season with a comeback victory over Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers four days ago. A quick turnaround is not ideal, but the Jags are just 1-5 away from Jacksonville, and 4-9 overall. Atlanta can not afford a letdown at home after erasing a 23-7 halftime deficit last week.
The Falcons need at least ten wins to have a shot at the postseason in the crowded NFC. The Dirty Birds may need to win out, because 10 wins is not a sure playoff birth this year. After tonight’s game the Falcons travel to New Orleans, before they host Tampa at home in the regular season finale. It is critical that the Falcons rise up and win on Thursday Night Football.
Tim Tebow Flavored Kool-Aid
If the Broncos win again this week then Kool-Aid needs to see if Tim Tebow wants his own flavor. Tebow mania has officially spread from college to the NFL. Denver versus New England is being bet on five times more than a typical NFL regular season game. As a result the line for the Sunday afternoon game has moved up to 6.5, and then 7. Tim Tebow and the Broncos struck again last week, erasing a 10 point deficit late in the fourth quarter. Bronco kicker Matt Prater deserves a ton of credit for his two long field goals, as does every Denver Bronco for believing in their unconventional offense. It will be interesting to see if Tebow and company can keep up if The Brady Bunch score early and often. The good news for the Broncos is that the Patriot defense comes into week 15 as the worst statistical defense in the NFL.
The Green Bay Packers will try to go to 14-0 on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs fired Todd Haley as head coach this week, so they will be playing with nothing to lose. Aaron Rodgers will be without one of his favorite options as wide receiver Greg Jennings was hurt during last weekend’s rout against the Raiders.
Monday Night Football has a potential barn burner to cap off week 15 in the NFL as the San Francisco 49ers take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is questionable for the contest with a sprained ankle. Rothelisberger usually plays through injuries, but if big Ben can not play through the pain it will be left up to Charlie Batch, or Dennis Dixon to strike gold against the 49ers.
Picks–First the three bowl games, then five NFL selections.
Temple-Wyoming-Gildan New Mexico Bowl-Temple wins because the Owls only gave up 13.8 points per game on average during the regular season. Temple will give up more than 14 points to the Cowboys but the Owls will win in a hoot of a ballgame. Temple 27, Wyoming 20
Ohio-Utah State-Famous Idaho Potato Bowl- Ohio Bobcats win because Utah State is too one dimensional. Ohio 31, Utah State 21
San Diego State-Louisiana Lafayette-R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl- The Aztecs win in a high scoring romp with the Ragin’ Cajuns. San Diego State 35, Louisiana Lafayette 31
Atlanta hosts Jacksonville- Falcons win and avoid the bird trap set by Blaine Gabbert and the visiting Jaguars. Falcons 35, Jaguars 20
The Denver Broncos welcome the New England Patriots to town in what many fans hope will be the Tim Tebow and Tom Brady show. New England wins and slows the momentum of the Broncos just a little. Patriots 48, Broncos 27
Green Bay stays perfect in Kansas City. Packers 35, Chiefs 21
Dallas wins at Tampa Bay on a Saturday night. Cowboy quarterback Tony Romo should not be blamed for the trouble in Big D. In fact, Cowboy fans should be thankful he has not hurt his back trying to carry them to the playoffs. Cowboys 31, Bucs 28.
Pittsburgh steals a win with or without Ben Roethlisberger. Pittsburgh’s defense saw what Baltimore did to Alex Smith on Thanksgiving night. The Steelers will have a similar formula. Steelers 21, 49ers 14. Enjoy the weekend.
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