Week 2 Saturday Six-Pack: A Potential Playoff Play-In



Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT


Las Vegas Line: Cincinnati -7; O/U 54.5

The American Athletic Conference’s East division could very well be settled in Week 2. Temple and Cincinnati came into the 2015 season looking like the East’s most formidable teams, and Temple more than lived up to its billing with a defensively dominant win over Penn State.

The Owls sacked Nittany Lions quarterback Christian Hackenberg 10 times in their 27-10 win and held Penn State to just 183 yards of total offense.

However, Cincinnati has a markedly better offensive line than Penn State. All-America caliber linebacker Tyler Matakevich will make plays, but the terrific Temple defense must find other ways to limit another future NFL quarterback, Gunner Kiel.

The best way to limit Kiel is to force him to throw more. Cincinnati’s run game was stymied when these teams last met, totaling just 81 yards.

The Owls also effectively took away his deep pass attempts, holding Kiel to just 174 yards on 19 completions. The Bearcats offense managed just two scores in total — but that was all it needed to come away with a win.

Temple’s season-long offensive woes came to a head last November against the Bearcats, as one of the team’s better defensive efforts was squandered with the Owl offense mustering just two field goals.

Last week against a presumably good Penn State defense, Temple managed 313 yards of offense and quarterback P.J. Walker was efficient (16-of-21) if not unspectacular (168 yards, no touchdowns).

Pace should dictate the winner. We should know the flow for the entire game by halftime, as Temple’s strategy is to pound away on defense, then chip on offense.

If the Owls are ahead or within a field goal by intermission, Temple scores another marquee for head coach Matt Rhule. However, Cincy’s three-man backfield and Kiel should be able to take advantage of the few opportunities they get from Temple’s defense to score a key American win.