No. 5 Alabama heads on the road to meet No. 15 Auburn in the annual Iron Bowl rivalry game Saturday, and it will be as intriguing as any game during rivalry weekend as the 2019 regular season hits its conclusion. Crimson Tide quarterback Mac Jones will stand toe-to-toe with his toughest test of the season in Alabama's final game before the College Football Playoff field is set on Selection Sunday. In the committee's eyes, more than likely, a strong showing from Alabama against its rival on the road may end up going a long way.
Auburn can polish off a nine-win season and clean up what could potentially be a messy College Football Playoff picture if it can upset its in-state rival.
So who wins the Iron Bowl on Saturday afternoon in Auburn? Let's take a closer look at this matchup and make some picks both straight up and against the spread.
Alabama: Jones threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns last week against an overmatched Western Carolina team and had 235 yards and three touchdowns against Arkansas in his only other start this season. He will be under pressure from a Tigers defense that's second in the conference with 82 sacks on the season. The most important development over the last month has been the play of running back Najee Harris. The junior has averaged six yards per carry and scored five touchdowns while adding 107 yards and three more scores in three November games. The defense has been banged up lately with injuries to Raekwon Davis and D.J. Dale -- both of whom should play. They might need to be near 100 percent, otherwise that depth will be tested.
Auburn: The Tigers have been feasting on bad defenses this year, but running against a Crimson Tide unit that is giving up 3.69 yards per carry this year will be one of its biggest challenges to date. Pressure will be on quarterback Bo Nix to have the best game of his young career against a Crimson Tide secondary that gained plenty of momentum last week thanks to two picks from Xavier McKinney. Defensive tackles Marlon Davidson and Derrick Brown have had an ongoing battle for SEC defensive linemen of the week honors and will have to keep it up in order to pressure Jones into mistakes.
Game prediction, picks
Alabama's offense didn't look much different last week against Western Carolina, which doesn't bode well for a Tigers defense that thrives when quarterbacks drop back in order to sling it. The Crimson Tide use swing passes, tunnel screens and quick slants to do their damage, which will neutralize the Tigers biggest strength -- their front four. Jerry Jeudy, DeVonta Smith and the rest of the Crimson Tide receivers will have enough big plays to put this game away late and allow the Tide to cruise into "Selection Sunday" with a big win over a rival on their resume. Pick: Alabama (-4.5)
So which picks can you make with confidence in Week 14? And which line is way off? Visit SportsLine now to see which teams win and cover the spread, all from a proven computer model that has returned almost $4,000 in profit over the past four seasons.