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Beats' picks: Can Duke football close the regular season with a win?

<p>Duke could not stop Clemson in the second half last week.</p>

Duke could not stop Clemson in the second half last week.

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 records throughout the season. Here are their takes on the Blue Devils’ matchup with Wake Forest Saturday:

Game predictions:

Ben Feder: Duke 30-24

This is going to be a Daniel Jones game. Playing against a defense that bleeds points, Duke’s star quarterback will put the Blue Devils on his back as they will answer every Wake Forest score. Although the game may be a little too close for comfort, Duke will take any type of victory given how beat up its defense is.

Derek Saul: Duke 34-24

It’s hard to not dream of what this Duke team would have accomplished had they avoided a rash of injuries. I believe the Blue Devils will overcome their depleted defense, and the much-hyped  Jones will bounce back after being quieted against an elite Clemson defense. 

Michael Model: Wake Forest 27-23

Last year the Blue Devils were 4-6 before completing a comeback against Georgia Tech and beating Wake Forest on the road to earn bowl eligibility. The Demon Deacons started this season 4-6 and took down a ranked N.C. State squad in their last contest. With bowl eligibility on the line and facing an injury-battered defensive front from Duke, I think Wake Forest will prevail with the upset on the road. 

Mitchell Gladstone: Duke 31-24

Part of me wants to go with Wake Forest—after all, I did have the Blue Devils finishing the season 7-5 with a bowl victory to reach eight wins. But just looking at the matchup, I think Duke gets to that plateau in its regular-season finale. The Demon Deacons have a miserable pass defense that has allowed more yards than any in the conference and they aren’t much better at stopping teams on the ground. After a tough offensive week at Clemson, the Blue Devil offense rebounds and carries the load for a banged-up defense en route to a win.

Winston Lindqwister: Duke 35-21

Although the Blue Devils are far from full strength—especially on the defensive end—Duke still boasts a solid offensive unit propped up largely by transcendent play by Jones. Facing a porous Wake Forest defense and considering Saturday afternoon may very well be Jones’ last outing in Wallace Wade, I fully expect the Blue Devil offense to deliver Duke one more victory to close out the regular season.

Overall results:

Ben Feder: 6-5

Derek Saul: 7-4

Michael Model: 6-5

Mitchell Gladstone: 8-3

Winston Lindqwister: 7-4


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