BRIAN BLESSING THE LINEMAKERS SPORTINGNEWS.COM (10-6)
DENVER BRONCOS (-14) over Oakland RaiderS
As a general rule of thumb, you ask for big trouble playing double-digit favorites in the NFL. The Raiders have won three straight at home, but sandwiched in between those enjoyable moments were embarrassing road losses to St. Louis and Kansas City. Peyton Manning and the Broncos, in ill humor after a Monday loss at Cincinnati, need the win to lock up a first-round bye in the AFC. Denver won the first matchup in a 41-17 boat race, and it’s likely that scenario is in play again in the regular-season finale.
STEVE COFIELD ESPN1100.COM (9-6-1)
New York Jets (+6)
over MIAMI DOLPHINS
Just as they did last week, the Jets will play hard for Rex Ryan in what is likely his last game as coach. Ryan’s defense was all over Tom Brady in a 17-16 loss to New England. The Jets have been much more competitive lately, losing to the Dolphins 16-13 on Dec. 1. Miami (8-7) is going to miss the playoffs, but coach Joe Philbin is returning. In a rather meaningless game, there is more motivation for the Jets, who want to send Ryan out a winner. Take the points.
ED GRANEY LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL (7-9)
OKLAHOMA (-3½) over Clemson
I’m not a big fan of Russell Athletics, maybe because it employs Colt McCoy as a leading spokesman (nice star power) and the colleges to wear its brand include the Fighting Saints from Carroll and the Golden Bulls of Johnson C. Smith. The Russell Athletic Bowl on Monday between the Sooners and Tigers is also incredibly insignificant, a perfect spot for “Big Game” Bob Stoops to come through in such a meaningless game. Stoops does unimportant moments really well, and the Oklahoma coach also has the better team.
MATT YOUMANS LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL (11-5)
ARIZONA (-3) over Boise State
Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez is focused on finishing with a win after his team was embarrassed by Oregon in the Pacific-12 Conference title game. Arizona’s offense appears to be back to full strength for the Fiesta Bowl on Wednesday. Its defense, led by star linebacker Scooby Wright, is solid enough to slow Broncos running back Jay Ajayi. Mountain West teams are 2-4 in bowls, and the two wins were meaningless. The Wildcats, who are playing close to home, are the better team from a much better league.