NFR, Patriots-Texans among 5 best events to watch this weekend

Here are the five best events to watch this weekend (in chronological order):

National Finals Rodeo (7 p.m. today, Saturday, CBS Sports Network): The world’s richest rodeo, with a $10 million purse, has sold out 290 straight performances at the Thomas & Mack Center. The final two nights of the 10-round Super Bowl of rodeo should provide some drama as world titles are still up for grabs in virtually ever one of the NFR’s seven events (bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, barrel racing and bull riding).

Army vs. Navy (noon Saturday, CBS): The No. 21 Midshipmen (9-2) have won a record 13 straight in the series and — for our fellow degenerate gamblers out there — are favored by 22 points over the Black Knights (2-9) in the only major college football game of the weekend. Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds needs one touchdown to break the FBS record for career TDs (83) and 65 rushing yards to climb to third place on the career list for QBs with 4,344.

UCLA at No. 17 Gonzaga (7 p.m. Saturday, ESPN2): A little more than a week removed from knocking off then-No. 1 Kentucky, the Bruins (6-3) will try to beat another ranked team in the Bulldogs (6-2) in a rematch of last season’s Sweet 16 showdown won by the Zags. Gonzaga has arguably the best frontcourt in college basketball in National Player of the Year candidate Kyle Wiltjer (20.6 ppg), Domantas Sabonis (14.4 ppg, 10.4 rpg) and Przemek Karnowski. UCLA’s 7-foot center Thomas Welsh had 21 points and 11 rebounds in the win over the Wildcats and Bryce Alford is five points shy of 1,000 for his career.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals (10 a.m. Sunday, CBS): The Bengals (10-2) are the AFC’s top playoff seed and can clinch their second division title in three seasons against the rival Steelers (7-5), who haven’t been swept in the season series since 2009 and have won eight of the last 11 meetings and 20 of 25 on the road. Cincinnati pulled out a 16-10 victory at Pittsburgh on Nov. 1 during which Steelers star running back Le’Veon Bell suffered a season-ending knee injury on a tackle by Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict. Pittsburgh players were upset when Burfict celebrated as Bell clutched his knee in pain.

New England Patriots at Houston Texans (5:25 p.m. Sunday, NBC): The Patriots (10-2) will try to avoid their first three-game losing streak since they lost four straight in 2002 in Tom Brady’s first full season as a starter. Defensive end J.J. Watt, who leads the NFL in sacks with 13½, broke his hand during practice Wednesday but plans to play for the surging Texans (6-6), who had won five straight before Sunday’s loss at Buffalo. Houston has several ties to New England as coach Bill O’Brien spent six seasons working for the Patriots, quarterback Brian Hoyer was a backup to Brady, defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel and linebackers coach Mike Vrabel each won three Super Bowl titles with New England, and nose tackle Vince Wilfork won two.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0354. Follow him on Twitter: @tdewey33

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