Worst NFL Game of the Week – There are a couple that could fit the bill here. There’s an NFC North showdown between Detroit and Minnesota that doesn’t have a lot to offer. I know Minnesota is coming off a big Monday night win, but I am still stunned how a team can be outplayed that badly and still come out ahead. Detroit is just plain terrible. There’s another game, though, that I think has the potential to be even worse – the Holmgren Bowl. Green Bay is a struggling team – they lost to Atlanta, after all. Seattle’s just a mess. They won’t be at their worst because this isn’t in the eastern time zone, but they still aren’t very pretty. Two flawed teams in a funk meeting up – sounds like a recipe for a late afternoon nap.
Best NFL Game of the Week – Coming into the season it was clearly going to be New England at San Diego. I don’t trust the Pats, though, and San Diego is just coming off a loss to Miami. It goes from a must watch to one I’d skip if I got a better offer. In terms of pure fireworks, Dallas at Arizona should be fun – especially if you like scoring. I’m also personally intrigued by Carolina and Tampa Bay, though that might not be shared by most people.
Game With Teams With The Most To Prove – This is where San Diego and New England fit in. San Diego desperately needs to get their act together and prove that they are worthy of making the playoffs, never mind being a legitimate contender. New England needs to show that they are the team that beat San Francisco comfortably last week, not the one who got beat up by Miami in the previous game.
Ridiculously Over-hyped – There’s not really one that the media will get truly crazy about this week. The pick probably has to be the Dallas – Arizona game. The media has a lot to bite into here between Jerry Jones meddling with his bench during the game, and Kurt Warner rather publicly discusiing retirement.
Oddest Line – I understand that they are at home, but it seems very odd that a team that was not only beaten by Miami but thoroughly handled would still be favored by six over a New England team coming off a nice win. In my mind that’s a bit more respect than the Chargers have earned this year.
Best College Game – LSU and Florida will be interesting, and Oklahoma State and Missouri should have its share of fireworks, but there is no contest here. The Red River Rivalry, or Shootout, Or Showdown, or whatever we are supposed to call it now, is one of the great football rivalries. It is always interesting to watch, and especially so this year when Oklahoma may be the best team in the country, but we won’t know for sure until after this test. Both of these quarterbacks are at the top of their game, so it should be an offensive clinic.
Filling Me With Dread – Coming off an ugly, ugly win against Illinois, my beloved Michigan now plays Toledo. As rough as the season has been for Michigan, they should completely outclass Toledo. They are favored by 16.5. Given how they played in the last three quarters against the Illini, though, my real fear is that they will find a way to lose this one. That would hurt. A lot. I still have hopes for bowl eligibility – even if it means a meaningless pre- Christmas bowl – and thes is the kind of game we need to win to get there.
Four Interesting Games Between Unranked Teams – Minnesota (+12) at Illinois. A showdown between teams fighting to occupy the second tir in the Big Ten. Minnesota has played very well this year, and this is their chance to rpove that they are a changed team. To do that they will have to find a way to contain Juice Williams – no easy task. Notre Dame (+7.5) at North Carolina. Here are two overachieving teams. Only one can come out victorious. Obviously. The real difference here is that I don’t hate North Carolina. Arizona (-6.5) at Stanford. Arizona is putting together a decent season, and perhaps just in time to save Mike Stoops’ job. This is another decent test for them – the kind they need to win. Louisiana Tech (+7.5) at Hawaii. The Warriors showed a surprising spark last week in beating Fresno State. This s a chance to see if it was for real or just a fluke.
Biggest Line – Idaho (+34) at Fresno State. The Bulldogs are coming off an ugly loss to Hawaii. There are few better ways to break out of a funk than playing the Vandals. Despite the pathetic competition, Fresno State doesn’t inspire a lot of hope here – they haven’t covered n their last four tries.