The best thing for all concerned is to not dwell in the past – especially after last week’s predictions were …how do we put this?… errr, less than accurate. There are a lot of interesting matchups this week, so let’s get right down to it.
•Florida (-7) at Missouri
The Gators have only lost two games this season and according to the polls, both losses were to top five teams in the race for the playoffs. That said, I think they are a very good team and like them to both win and cover this week. Florida 30, Missouri 17
•Michigan State at Michigan (-14)
Yes, this is a rivalry game deeply steeped in tradition, close games and upsets. But the Spartans are a pedestrian 4-5 this season; while Michigan (7-2) looks to be hitting its stride. Like the Gators above, I like the Wolverines to both win and cover in this one. Michigan 30, Michigan State 14.
•Cincinnati (-14) at South Florida
Whether we are talking offense, defense or special teams, Charlie Strong’s South Florida team has been a mess this year. They lost by 10 to Temple last week, and Cincinnati is lot better than Temple. Go ahead and give the points on the road, especially because that South Florida home field advantage of an “announced” crowd of 28,000 will be more like 15,000. Cincinnati 35, South Florida 10
•Alabama State (-40.5) vs. Florida State
Interim Head Coach Odell Haggins got the win last week, but the fact remains it wasn’t exactly like they beating Alabama or LSU. Of course the Noles are going to overwhelm an under-manned opponent this week, but they have not been a very good team against the spread the past couple of years. Wavering on this one, but will take the points and the dog. Florida State 49, Alabama State 10.
•Georgia (-2) at Auburn
Dawgs could be ripe for an upset here, but a second loss would dash their national championship hopes and I do not see that happening. When in doubt, pick the team with the better quarterback and Bo Nix is no Jake Fromm. Georgia 24, Auburn 14
•New Orleans (-5 ½) at Tampa Bay
Turnovers aside, Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay offense have actually been pretty good this year. Are they good enough to beat a solid defensive team in New Orleans at home? I just can’t see the 7-2 Saints playing two bad games in a row. New Orleans 28, Tampa Bay 21
•Buffalo (-5 ½) at Miami
Regardless of how bad a team management has bestowed upon him, Brian Flores is proving to be a pretty good coach in the NFL. Miami has won its last two games and Buffalo, despite its 6-3 record, is suspect. In a take the points, three wins in a row and upset special: Miami 21, Buffalo 17
•Jacksonville (+2.5) at Indianapolis
Nick Foles returns as the starting quarterback for the Jags, while the Colts have injury problems at wide receiver. A Jags win would go a long way in salvaging a less than stellar season and I can see that happening here. Jacksonville wins outright, 24-20
•New England (-3) at Philadelphia
Let’s be honest. Although 8-1, New England has not looked like world beaters the last couple of weeks. Add to the fact that at 5-4 and tied for first place with the Cowboys, this game means a lot more to the Eagles than it does to the Patriots. In another upset special: Philadelphia 24, New England 23
Season Scoreboard: I would crow about telling you to take LSU straight up against Bama, but with a 4-5 week straight up and a 3-6 mark against the spread, it might be best to say nothing at all and beg your forgiveness. Last week’s dismal performance leaves me 75-32 straight up (.701), but a not so healthy 48-57-2 (.458) against the spread, and yes, right my dog could make more accurate picks than me.