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Beats' picks: Will Duke football make it a winning streak against Northwestern?

<p>Daniel Jones led the Blue Devils to a 41-17 victory against Northwestern in last year's matchup.</p>

Daniel Jones led the Blue Devils to a 41-17 victory against Northwestern in last year's matchup.

Prior to each Duke football game, The Chronicle’s Ben Feder, Derek Saul, Michael Model, Mitchell Gladstone and Winston Lindqwister make their predictions for the contest and we’ll track their accuracy throughout the season. Here are their takes on the Blue Devils’ matchup with Northwestern Saturday:

Game predictions:

Ben Feder: 24-17 Northwestern

I’m going to go with the home team here. As seen against Army, Duke may have some issues in its secondary this year, and veteran quarterback Clayton Thorson will do just enough to get the win. The Blue Devils will struggle getting going on offense, and an opportunistic Wildcat attack will do enough early to bury Duke.

Derek Saul: 27-21 Duke

Ultimately, I just do not believe that Northwestern has the talent to approach the 10-win total that they reached in 2017. In their nine-game winning streak dating back to last season, the Wildcats have a plus-16 turnover differential. This is entirely unsustainable, as many turnovers boil down to luck, and if Daniel Jones can be smart with the football I believe the Blue Devils’ superior talent will lead them to a road victory.

Michael Model: 28-24 Duke

This game will be a back and forth affair throughout the contest with a pair of evenly matched teams. Jones builds off an extremely efficient performance against Army, using his ability to create on the ground to keep Northwestern’s defense off balance. Key contributions in the new-look kicking game will be the difference for the Blue Devils, though kicker Collin Wareham may give head coach David Cutcliffe a heart-attack in the process. 

Mitchell Gladstone: 30-23 Duke

Ultimately, I’ve got the Blue Devils going 1-1 on the road in these next two contests, so I wouldn’t be shocked if they wind up losing this one. That said, Jones looked about as good last week as I’ve ever seen against an FBS opponent and I think Duke opens up the playbook in this one, getting some offense against a Northwestern defense that looked underwhelming last week at Purdue.

Winston Lindqwister: 31-28 Northwestern

This Wildcat squad is itching to get revenge after the Blue Devils embarrassed them in Wallace Wade, and with Thorson and a gifted group of wide receivers helming the offense, I can see Northwestern doing just that. Duke’s offense will definitely keep it close—Brittain Brown, Aaron Young and T.J. Rahming were all incredibly effective in the Blue Devils’ opener against Army. However, I’m not yet convinced that Duke’s secondary will be able to keep the Wildcats at bay, and I can see this Saturday ending in a bitter back-and-forth affair with the home team barely coming out on top.

Overall results:

Ben Feder: 1-0

Derek Saul: 1-0

Michael Model: 1-0

Mitchell Gladstone: 1-0

Winston Lindqwister: 1-0

Michael Model

Digital Strategy Director for Vol. 115, Michael was previously Sports Editor for Vol. 114 and Assistant Blue Zone Editor for Vol. 113.  Michael is a senior majoring in Statistical Science and is interested in data analytics and using data to make insights.

Mitchell Gladstone | Sports Managing Editor

Twitter: @mpgladstone13

A junior from just outside Philadelphia, Mitchell is probably reminding you how the Eagles won the Super Bowl this year and that the Phillies are definitely on the rebound. Outside of The Chronicle, he majors in Economics, minors in Statistics and is working toward the PJMS certificate, in addition to playing trombone in the Duke University Marching Band. And if you're getting him a sandwich with beef and cheese outside the state of Pennsylvania, you best not call it a "Philly cheesesteak." 


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