The Christmas holiday is just days away and for some teams in the state of Florida, it’s a time to be grateful and enjoy what the future could hold.
For the Miami Dolphins, it’s a chance to continue a win streak among the longest in recent seasons with the playoffs looking like a real possibility. Now, it’s back on the road after the holidays for a chance to get a winning record over the opposing conference this season.
In college football, the Miami Hurricanes may not play for another week (baring a COVID outburst cancelling the game) but that doesn’t mean the state of Florida won’t be paying attention to a game that may show there is room at the table for more than just the ‘Big Three’ programs.
Can the Fins have fun in the Big Easy keep hopes of the postseason alive? Can the Gators and Knights give the state one final game between teams to end 2021 on the right now? As always, we break it all down with NBC 6’s not-so-scientific system.
Miami Dolphins at New Orleans Saints (Monday)
Say what you want to about the level of competition the Dolphins have faced over the last six games (admittingly, it wasn’t the best). But the fact remains that Miami bounced back from a seven-game losing streak to do something done just one before since the merger. At 7-7, the possibilities are endless about what the rest of the season holds.
Now starts the final three game stretch of the regular season with two games on the road, starting against a Saints team who used the leg of their kicker last Sunday to beat the defending Super Bowl champs. With the same record as the Fins, the men from New Orleans know they need a win just as much to keep their playoff hopes alive as well.
Florida Gators vs. UCF Knights (Gasparilla Bowl in Tampa on Thursday)
After getting past rival FSU in the final game of the regular season, the Gators are rewarded with their first bowl game against a team from the Sunshine State since losing to Miami in what is now called the Peach Bowl to end the 2004 season. At this rate, many in orange and blue might be wanting to just end things and move on the Billy Napier era of the 2022 season.
For the Knights, this game is big because a win over one of Florida’s ‘Big Three’ teams (no matter how down of a year Florida is having) would give them bragging rights and show they deserve the same respect as the ‘Canes, Seminoles and Gators.
Other State Games
The Jacksonville Jaguars are on the road for a pillow fight against the equally bad New York Jets while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, fresh off that shocking loss to the Saints, head back on the road and face off against the Carolina Panthers.
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