Saturday, October 29, 2016

Benster and D Pick Your Games -- Contiential Divide Edition

Before I begin, I wanted to issue a correction on last week's post. When I was doing my research for writing last week's edition, I made the mistake of saying that Knox was playing Lake Forest, when Knox is playing Lake Forest this week. It was a total error on my part, and I should have double checked the date. Thankfully, this is a new week.

The good news is we made the pick last week, so we don't have to address the game this week. That's called working ahead.

Good point, Geritol Fan! Yeah, we all make mistakes. It was just a case of a bit too much HYYYYYYYPPPEEE, and my brain going on autopilot.

It just means you're getting older. You have more things to think about now and keeping 'em all sorted is a task in itself. But your adoring audience wants football picks, not fatherly advice, right?

For a guy born in the McKinley administration, you know a few things! Lots of interesting games this week, including a crucial Big Ten game that some people are ignoring the significance of. Watch me work!

Minnesota Golden Gophers (-9) vs. Illinois Fighting Illini. Illinois has not been a factor this year, but is a team I expect will be a factor soon. Lovie Smith is a great man, and still is remembered fondly among Bears fans for having a good amount of success in his tenure. My only concern about Lovie is that he has never been a college head coach, and he really hasn't demonstrated recruiting expertise yet. The Gophers needed a late field goal to beat Rutgers at home last week, and one of my Gopher sources was really not happy about that. I figure that Illinois is going to get better, especially if Lovie can recruit Chicago well. Maybe this game is one he can use as evidence. Illinois 25, Minnesota 18.

I heard a lot of grumbling about the Gophers around town this week. I think Tracy Claes had better win this game, and a few more, or else the new AD will need to clean house and start over. We've heard that before in Minneapolis. Gophers 24, Illini 20.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (+9) vs. Beloved Wisconsin Badgers. This game is, bar none, a huge Big Ten game, and the playoff committee would do well to understand why. I feel that the line Nebraska is getting is a little unfair, since they are undefeated and control their own destiny to Indy and a top 4 finish. Nebraska has only beaten the Badgers once since coming into the conference, and all the games they have played in Camp Randall were nightmare games for the passionate Husker faithful. The Badgers have hung on and are coming out of the hellish part of the nation's most demanding schedule, and will have star linebacker Vince Biegel back and playing more snaps. I still think that this game is a bridge too far for Nebraska, but I would not be surprised if this game is close and comes down to the wire. Wisconsin 24, Nebraska 21, in overtime.

This game won't be a blowout, because this edition of the Badgers is not capable of hanging 50 on a quality opponent. The calling card here is defense, and the Badgers are outstanding. It all comes down to Tommy Armstrong, the Nebraska quarterback. Can he make enough plays to win? I don't think so. Badgers 31, Cornhuskers 17.

UEFA Champions League: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Bayer Leverkusen, at Wembley. How about talking a bit of soccer, and focusing on Decrepit's beloved Tottenham? This is a critical game for Spurs in their group, since they are third, and need a win in order to make their chances of progressing in 1st or 2nd place as likely as possible. I figure that Spurs will play a full strength side against a solid German side in Leverkusen. This should be a close match, but I like Tottenham, since they are used to playing midweek at Wembley now. Tottenham 2, Bayer Leverkusen 1.

Spurs are still unbeaten in the Premier League and defense has been their strength. They have a world-class goalkeeper in Hugo Lloris. Watch for Lloris to come up huge this time. Spurs 1, Bayer Leverkusen 0.

Minnesota Vikings (-4) vs. Bear Down Chicago da Bearz. If you are a Bears fan, I really hope you are a Cubs fan as well, since the Bears have told their fans for many years to get used to disappointment, and that life as a Bears fan is pain, and if you are told something else, they are just selling you something. The Vikings had their first stumble in Philly last weekend, but this should be no issue since the Bears are a pathetic team. Vikings 278, da Bearz 27.

I'm not convinced the Vikings will score 278 points all season, so this prediction seems a bit much. Jay Cutler returns for da Bearz, and following a vigorous rehab regimen he is ready for action:

Tanned, rested and ready
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer called his team soft after the game in Philly. I don't think they'll be soft against the Bears. Vikings 27, Bears 14.

Glorious Green Bay Packers (+3) vs. Hotlanta Falcons. The Packers figured some things out last week, though the jury is still out on them since they did beat the Bears. The additional break was good, since Knile Davis has had the time to learn the offense, and Ty Montgomery can properly prepare as a running back. Atlanta is a good outfit as you would expect, and the Packers are still not getting some of their better corners back, so Julio Jones is a good fantasy start this week. This game should be a shootout, but the Packers offense looked better last week, and Aaron loves playing on a faster surface in a dome. Packers 45, Falcons 31.

This game concerns me. The Packers have been uneven as hell so far. I think Montgomery is a key player in this game, but stopping the Falcons running game may be even more of a challenge than Julio. Bet the over. Packers 38, Falcons 35.

Thanks again for reading, and enjoy your football weekend. Ben out!

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