Tebow, Broncos CAN beat the Patriots
Either you love Tim Tebow, or Tim Tebow makes you crazy.
Regardless, even a screenwriter couldn't make up this stuff -- which is ironic since it seems to be the same script every week:
It begins in the days leading up to the game. Pundits near and far pick against the Broncos, assuming that Denver can't keep winning with a simplistic offense and late-game heroics. Recently, many of these experts add a God-fearing disclaimer, such as, "It is Tebow, so you never know."
Then they pick against Denver again, anyway.
Right on cue, Tebow then spends most of the game floundering. Statistics suggest that he might be the NFL's worst quarterback over the first three quarters of games, as his 19.5 Total QBR in that span is the worst of any QB in the league.
The Broncos offense looks out of sorts. Running plays dominate the game plan. Denver falls behind.
Then the fourth quarter arrives, and similar to how Clark Kent transforms into Superman, Tebow becomes the NFL's best quarterback. In the final seven minutes of games this season, Tebow's Total QBR of 96.3 is the best in the NFL.
Of course, Denver wins. Then we rack our brains trying to figure out what just happened.
Rinse and repeat.
This week, New England is cast as the villain, which isn't unfamiliar territory for Bill Belichick. The Patriots opened as a 4½-point favorite last Sunday, and that number quickly ballooned to seven. VegasInsider.com estimates that 90 percent of the wagers on this game have been placed on the Patriots.
Broncos skeptics believe New England is simply too good for Denver. After all, the Patriots rank No. 2 in the NFL in passing offense. The Broncos couldn't possibly beat the Patriots, right?
But wait a second. We've seen this script before: Doubt Tebow. Tebow bad. Tebow good. Tebow win.
So why are the masses so convinced New England will beat Denver? Have we already forgotten Denver's wins over the Dolphins, Raiders, Chiefs, Jets, Chargers, Vikings and Bears?
Remember, it was
Norman Albert Einstein who once wrote that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Patriots at Broncos, Sunday, 4:15 p.m. ET, CBS
Pick: Broncos (+7)
This week's NFL picks
Ravens at Chargers, Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC
Baltimore has already lost on the road to Tennessee, Jacksonville, and Seattle -- not exactly a who's who of Super Bowl contenders. The Ravens are 1-4 against the spread in their previous five games against teams with losing records. San Diego will keep its slim playoff hopes alive with a win on Sunday night.
Pick: Chargers (+1½)
Jets at Eagles, Sunday, 4:15 p.m. ET, CBS
Prior to the beginning of this season, observers picked this Week 15 matchup as a potential Super Bowl preview. Instead, the Jets will try to solidify their playoff positioning, while the Eagles try to keep their postseason hopes alive -- slim hopes in Philadelphia's case. The Jets are 8-1 in their past nine games as an underdog of three points or less, and they should win this game outright.
Pick: Jets (+3)
This week's college picks
Gilden New Mexico Bowl
Temple vs. Wyoming, Saturday, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN
Wyoming's strength of schedule is impressive, as the Cowboys have played Nebraska, TCU and Boise State. Granted, they lost each of those games, but the high level of competition should have the Cowboys ready to cover this New Mexico Bowl spread. Temple is 1-4 against the spread when facing teams with winning records.
Pick: Wyoming (+7)
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Ohio vs. Utah State, Saturday, 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Ohio has never won a bowl game, but Utah State is 0-5 against the spread in its last five games as a favorite.
Pick: Ohio (+1½)
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
San Diego State vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, Saturday, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
The New Orleans Bowl will be played 135 miles from from Lafayette. Having a pseudo-home game is the quite the luxury for an 8-4 team from the Sun Belt Conference. San Diego State is 1-4 against the spread in its past five games as a favorite. Expect a close game.
Pick: Louisiana-Lafayette (+5)
Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl St. Petersburg
Florida International vs. Marshall, Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Marshall defensive end Vinny Curry is one of the best-kept secrets in college football. Projected to be a first-round pick in the 2012 NFL draft, Curry leads the Thundering Herd with 11 sacks, six forced fumbles, 21 tackles for loss and three blocked kicks. Marshall is 6-1 against the spread in its past seven postseason games. Take Vinny Curry and the points.
Pick: Marshall (+4)
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
TCU vs. Louisiana Tech, Wednesday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
By finishing 18th in the final BCS standings, TCU missed out on a BCS bowl berth by two measley spots. So, rather than playing in Louisiana at the Sugar Bowl, the Horned Frogs instead will play Louisiana Tech in the Poinsettia Bowl. This has letdown written all over it. Louisiana Tech is undefeated against the spread in its past seven games.
Pick: Louisiana Tech (+11)
Last week's picks: 1-4
Season record: 61-49-2 (55.5 percent)
You can follow Sarah Phillips on Twitter @SarahPhilli.
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