We talk about most of these games on The Steve Sandmeyer Show all week — particularly those with a local flavor — and often we make our predictions Friday, but I thought I’d start producing my selections all in one place. You know, so you can make fun, pick against me, talk trash, or whatever other purpose such an exercise can possibly serve.
I started out with Saturday’s college slate, focusing on the Pac-12 Conference and key matchups around the country. As you can see, the home-field advantage didn’t sway me much this week.
The Washington Huskies tilt at Oregon State and the Washington State Cougars hosting of the Utah Utes could go either way. If Utah gets a decent game from backup quarterback Adam Schulz, they are probably the better bet, even on the road. They play solid defense, but in losing Travis Wilson they lost not only their leader and best bet to do some damage through the air, but also their second-leading rusher.
The Dawgs have yet to win a meaningful road game in 2013 — and none in conference play — but I do believe they are a better football team than Oregon State, and was actually encouraged by what transpired last week; they fell behind 14-0 and 27-7 after some uncharacteristic fumbles by Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Bishop Sankey, and fought their way through a touchdown-robbing and ghost of a penalty call back to 27-24 before losing 41-31.
Washington has done well in games versus one-dimensional opponents under Justin Wilcox, and the Beavers’ defense bends, a lot, and relies on turnovers. Even with Cyler Miles at the helm, I think the Huskies score points, and if Wilcox can replicate the recent success teams have had against Sean Mannion and Brandin Cooks, they should be able to hold the home team down just enough to win.
Here are all my college picks for the weekend:
In the National Football League, the marquee matchup is the Sunday night pitting of the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots, at Foxboro. It’s Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning, yes. But this is really about coach Bill Belichick at home versus a Broncos offensive front that kept Manning as clean as can be last week against the sack-happy Kansas City Chiefs front seven.
I’ll take Brady and an improved running game, which sets up a three-team race for the top seed in the AFC and a heck of a division battle between the Broncos and Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium next week.
The one NFC West team I don’t like this week is the one, outside of Seattle, playing the best. I also like the Giants to continue to make things interesting in the NFC East, and for the Carolina Panthers to remain on a roll.
Here are all of my NFL picks for this week. I started making picks at CBSSports.com in Week 1 and am currently 103-60 for the season, which is about average. I did go 10-5 last week, however.
– Jason A. Churchill, 1090 The Fan
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