FRONT SEVEN ON THE SPOT: Auburn has an amazing running game. Opponents know what's coming and they still can't stop it. The Tigers ran for 296 yards against Alabama last week, which has the only run defense better than Mizzou's in the SEC. But the Tigers can't start using safeties and have the defensive backs biting on play fakes because Nick Marshall and Sammie Coates are capable of beating them deep. The defensive line and the linebackers need to contain (not stop, that's not happening) Auburn's run game and let the defensive backs worry about the receivers. I think Mizzou will go with plenty of man coverage in this game. If Auburn can beat you throwing the football, tip your cap and take whatever bowl bid you get. But make them do it that way, not by jamming the ball down your throat.
RED ZONE FOCUS: Mizzou and Auburn both score touchdowns on better than 70% of their red zone possessions. Both teams also allow touchdowns by the opponent on 51% or fewer of their red zone possessions. There will be yards in this game, but how many points? The offense that has a better success rate when it gets inside the 20 probably wins the game.
BIG PLAYS BY BIG RECEIVERS: The best way to beat a great red zone defense? Don't get in the red zone. The biggest single mismatch in this game is Missouri's receiving corps against Auburn's defensive backs. Dorial Green-Beckham has had his two best games as a Tiger in the last four weeks. L'Damian Washington led the comeback at the start of the second half against A&M and is playing like a guy that knows he doesn't have many games left. Marcus Lucas doesn't get the headlines of those two, but actually leads the team in catches. Missouri's got to take some shots and win this matchup.
PREDICTION TIME: Three weeks ago, I told you I was all in with this team. When I said all in, I meant it. After the business-like approaches to the last two games that they absolutely had to win, I really feel like this Tiger team is good enough to win the SEC title. I think we see a breakout game from James Franklin. I think the Tigers (Missouri's) make enough plays on defense. Auburn will get its yardage on the ground, but Missouri will make more plays. Auburn is 11-1. You can argue it should have lost three more games (Mississippi State, Georgia, Alabama). Missouri is 11-1. You really can't argue any of their wins should have been losses (only UGA and A&M were really even close in the fourth quarter) and in fact, you can easily argue the one loss shouldn't have happened. Auburn has beaten teams the same way over and over and over this season. Missouri has beaten teams in a variety of ways. Give me the Tigers that have shown an ability to win games in a variety of ways. Missouri 34, Auburn 24