NFL and College Football Highlight Thursday Sports Calendar
An NFL game between one of the league’s best defenses and one of the best offenses featuring the Minnesota Vikings visiting the Los Angeles Rams and a college football game featuring an ACC showdown in south Florida between the North Carolina Tar Heels and the host Miami Hurricanes highlights Thursday Night Football.
Vikings vs Rams – NFL
While the Rams up-tempo offense has been consistent through two weeks, its strong defense will be missing one and possibly two important cornerbacks as Marcus Peters is questionable for the game and Aqib Talib has been put on injured reserve. This will make the Rams secondary much weaker against Minnesota’s star quarterback Kirk Cousins and his top receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen.
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The Rams offense is led by quarterback Jared Goff and his three top receivers Cooper Kupp, Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods. Running back Todd Gurley II makes the Rams offense as scary on the ground as it is through the air.
Minnesota could have running back Dalvin Cook back in the lineup against the NFL’s top scoring defense, which would help keep the Rams defense off balance between run and pass. Vikings top defensive end Everson Griffen will miss his second straight game.
Who wins: The Rams are in a much better place on both sides of the ball. Rams win 30-20
North Carolina vs Miami – NCAAF
Both team were victorious last week, with North Carolina earning is first win of the season 38-35 over Pittsburgh and Miami now ranked No. 16 in the nation following its 31-17 win over FIU.
North Carolina could see a change at quarterback during the game as Chazz Surratt returns from a three-game suspension along with six other players, but Nathan Elliott will start following his 313 yards passing and a pair of touchdowns against Pittsburgh. Last season Surratt led the Tar Heels in passing with 1,342 yards and eight touchdowns.
Miami has its own quarterback decision to make. N’Kosi Perry the redshirt freshman replaced senior signal caller Malik Rosier on Saturday in what was a planned decision during the third series, but Rosier never returned to the game. Perry ended the game with 224 yards passing and three TDs and an announcement has not been made as to who will start Thursday.
The Miami running game will be up against a Tar Heels defense that is allowing just 78.7 yards per game, which is No. 4 in the country.
Who wins: Miami’s offense is much better than that of the Tar Heels and Perry has injected some spark into that side of the ball. Both defenses are playing well, but the Miami defense forces turnovers and that will be the big difference. Miami wins easily here 38-14.