By the way, sorry I'm late, but I had pressing social engagements.
That would be the Sadie Hawkins dance, right?
Yes. An Irondale tradition! But enough of my social life -- watch me work!
Beloved Wisconsin Badgers (-7) vs. Indiana R. Dean Taylors. Lord, the Badgers can go back there, because they've won 5 of the last 6 times they've visitied Bloomington. But, this time the game actually means something. Somehow Indiana has won enough games to have a chance to jump the Badgers in the Leaders Division standings if they win the game today. I expect Indiana to come out hot early, but if recent history means anything, the Badgers will eventually pound the Hoosiers into submission. The last two scores in this series were as follows: in 2011, it was Wisconsin 59, Indiana 7. In 2010, it was Wisconsin 83, Indiana 20. It will be a lot closer this time. Wisconsin 35, Indiana 28.
It's tough to read the Badgers this year -- they've looked very good at times and terrible at other times. I think this one will go well. Wisconsin 42, Indiana 24.
Minnesota Golden Roadkill (-3) vs. Illinois Fighting Cheatin' Weasels. The Illini really suck this year. Not sure why, but they are, as our old friend Charles Barkley would say, turrible. The Gophers haven't won a Big Ten road game in a while, but the last one they won was in Champaign. History repeats itself. Gophers 10, Illini 0.
Actually, that could happen. I think the Nelson kid is going to be a pretty good quarterback and the Illini are a mess. Minnesota 24, Illinois 13.
Our beloved Packers are on bye this week, so we'll give attention to the other teams in the division, two of which are conveniently playing each other. This analysis will be noticeably free of HYYYYYYPPPPPPE! Because I'm serious these days.
Detroit Motor City Kitties (-2) vs. Minnesota Vikings. So let's "ponder" this one. Earlier in the year, the Vikings went into Detroit and beat them like a rented mule. Now, the Lions come back to Minnesota as a favorite? What's up with that? I'll tell you why -- Minnesota has come crashing down to earth. It's becoming less clear that Christian Ponder is the right guy to lead this team. If he continues to underperform, he'll probably lose Samantha Steele and find himself dating a significantly less desirable sideline reporter. If that's not incentive enough for our man Ponder, I don't know what is! Lions 35, Vikings 7.
Uh, no. While I'll agree that the prospect of trading in Samantha Steele for Craig Sager is pretty terrifying, there's one thing you can count on with the Lions, which is inconsistency. They're due to screw up and this is the week. Vikings 24, Lions 17.
Houston Texans (+1) vs. Bear Down Chicago da Bearz. Ooh, it's a titanic defensive struggle, with the opportunistic Bears defense dealing with Arian Foster, while the Texans match wits with Jay Cutler. The Bears are due for a loss and Arian Foster will help me win my fantasy matchup this week. Houston 79, da Bearz 10.
Uh, no. Bears fans hate it when everyone says they win by luck. This year, it hasn't been luck at all. They are playing very, very well, especially on defense. If they've had any luck at all, it's that they've largely stayed healthy and put their best players on the field, week after week. Peanut Tillman is an amazing player, by the way. The key here is whether the Texans are willing to change up their base defense. You might remember that the Packers crushed the Texans because they refused to get out of their single high safety coverage. The Bears have the weapons to defeat that defense, too. If the Bears can at least slow down J. J. Watt, they'll win, perhaps easily. Bears 34, Texans 28.
Sorry we didn't have more time, but my stellar social life matters. And be glad that we didn't actually post the picture of Craig Sager. Ben out!