College Football Picks, Predictions, and Previews: The Way It Oughtta Be

Wisconsin vs. Northwestern 11/21/2020 College Football Picks, Prediction, and Preview

The Wisconsin visits Northwestern on 11/21/2020 at 3:30PM.

Wisconsin and Northwestern face off in an important game for both teams as every game in this shortened season with limited or no fans in attendance means more. Wisconsin has a record of 2-0 this season. Northwestern is 4-0 this season. Both have players to meet and know.

Wisconsin Team Defense Preview

Wisconsin has had 18 defensive drives in non-garbage time minutes and they yield 4.17 plays per drive. Relatively speaking, Wisconsin is not a team that allows many plays per drive. This defense either gives up big plays quickly or induces a lot of three-and-outs, we shall find out more. Opponents face third and long situations a lot against this defense. This is a defense that forces opponents to commit penalties, have compromised offensive line play, and fail to convert on crunch possessions. Passing plays make up 54.67% of their opponents’ play calls.Wisconsin tends to face teams that prefer to air it out or opponents want to air it out against them.

Wisconsin opponents have struggled with running the ball and this defense has crushed the spirits of their opponents with zero or negative yard plays. 4th and Short is not a cake walk against this defense, maybe passing on 4th and Short or having some sort of RPO is the way to go here because if an Offensive Coordinator thinks that they can just line and run a Quarterback Sneak or hand it off to a tailback, they are mistaken. How effective are opposing offensive lines given what we know about their ability to force negative yardage rushing plays? Wisconsin can take credit for holding the offensive line of their opponent to 2.83 yards per carry. Generally speaking, this is an average defense when it comes to how offensive lines control or fail to control them on the ground. This is also a team that is allowing running backs and quarterbacks to get to the second-level in an average fashion. They are capable of giving up a long run, which is really demoralizing when the opposing team has the ball deep in their own territory.

Wisconsin has made the turnover belt, chain, pads, lunch pail or whatever gimmick they use change hands a lot. This is a Defense that causes pure aggravation. Getting more specific, this front seven is a cause of a lot of headaches for offenses. They may be good enough to cause trouble in pass rush with just four rushers!Wisconsin is better at stopping the run than the pass this season.

Wisconsin Team Offense Preview

Wisconsin has had 20 drives in non-garbage time minutes and they average 5.5 plays per drive. There is not much to take away here when it comes to how many plays per drive they run, but they are a team that falls in the average window when it comes to plays per drive. Any defense is in for a challenge with Wisconsin, given their ability to accrue more than 5 yards on 1st Downs and their ability to convert on 3rd and 4th Downs. They put a lot of pressure on opposing defenses.Wisconsin passes the football 39.09% of the time.They favor running the ball as opposed airing it out.

On first downs, getting ahead of the chains is crucial and running the ball well on first down can get a team there, Wisconsin has done a good job avoiding the negative yardage rushing plays. How effective is the offensive line given what we know about their ability to prevent negative yards on rushing plays? More than you think, thanks to the Adjusted Line Yards metric. Wisconsin can take credit for 3.62 yards per carry. This is an elite offensive line when it comes to generating a push for the running game. They know how to create creases for running backs to break loose. Playing 7 in a box may not be enough for opposing defenses, this is a great O-Line. This is a team that is rather above-average when it comes to gashing defenses. The threat of the run should force opposing to play more honest and assignment defensive football is a must. They feature a relatively average explosiveness in the running game, maybe there will be a breakout rushing play, but it is not something to count on from them.

Wisconsin has bullied and controlled defenses this season, defenses have not been able to dictate what this offense is able to do to them. Opponents should consider a containment strategy. Wisconsin is among the best in the country at keeping defensive front sevens at bay. Opposing defenses need their secondary players to step up and cause trouble in order for this Offense to be disrupted. Wisconsin has shown themselves to be a better running team than passing team this season.

Northwestern Team Defense Preview

Northwestern has had 45 total defensive drives this season and they yield 5.51 plays per drive. There is not much to take away here when it comes to how many plays per drive opponents run, but they are a team that falls in the average window when it comes to plays per drive. Opponents face third and long situations a lot against this defense. This is a defense that forces opponents to commit penalties, have compromised offensive line play, and fail to convert on crunch possessions. Passing plays make up 68.15% of their opponents’ play calls.They are a team that faces a lot of Air Raid Offenses.

Northwestern opponents have struggled with running the ball and this defense has crushed the spirits of their opponents with zero or negative yard plays. 4th and Short is not a cake walk against this defense, maybe passing on 4th and Short or having some sort of RPO is the way to go here because if an Offensive Coordinator thinks that they can just line and run a Quarterback Sneak or hand it off to a tailback, they are mistaken. Opponent rushing yards attributed to their offensive line this season comes out to 2.52 yards per carry. Opponent offensive lines have been simply unable to support their running games against this defense. This is a team that is getting gashed too much for the tastes of their base. Linebackers are not stopping the bleeding well enough. Opponents have shown a relatively average level of explosiveness in the running game, maybe there will be a breakout rushing play against them.

Northwestern has made the turnover belt, chain, pads, lunch pail or whatever gimmick they use change hands a lot. This is a Defense that causes pure aggravation. Getting more granual into the front seven and their ability to cause trouble, they are just average in this regard. Northwestern has shown themselves to be better at stopping the pass than the run this season.

Northwestern Team Offense Preview

Northwestern has had 45 drives in non-garbage time minutes and they average 6.16 plays per drive. When you are among the best at plays per drive, you are certainly a team that aims to wear down the opposition with a high play count or with long, physical grinding drives that eat up a lot of clock. We need to find out more here when it comes to Northwestern. Northwestern is an average offense when it comes to staying ahead of the chains, getting into 3rd and Short scenarios, and converting on 3rd and 4th Down. Northwestern passes the football 39.35% of the time.They favor running the ball as opposed airing it out.

Northwestern struggles with running the ball, getting zero or negative yard plays is disspiriting and the offensive line is not effectively making a good push. Poor playcalling, pre-snap adjustments or post-snap reads may be responsible and this could fall on the Quarterback, Offensive Coordinator, and Head Coach. Based on the Adjusted Line Yards metric, which measures the amount of credit that should be ascribed to the offensive line for a rushing play, they average 2.17 yards per carry. So what does this mean? It means that the offensive line has been incredibly disappointing in their contribution to the ground game. When it comes to getting to that second level where linebackers have not crashed down on the line of scrimmage, they are getting stopped with ease. The breakout rushing plays are simply not happening, it is a massive reach to expect this team to bust out big rushing plays.

Defenses have had average success disrupting the flow of the Northwestern Offense. Front sevens are causing an average amount of trouble for the Offense. Northwestern is a better passing team than running team this season.

The Wisconsin Roster

The Players to Watch for Wisconsin

Graham Mertz QB 6-3 215

This season, Graham Mertz has put up 375 yards and 7 touchdowns. He has thrown 0 interceptions. He has a QB Rating of 201.4thus far this season. Graham Mertz has thrown 0 interceptions this season.As a rusher, Graham Mertz has 6.0 rushing yards, which puts him in the 35.67 percentile among Quarterbacks. He ran the ball as opposed to throwing the ball 8.0 times this season, which puts him in the 38.05 percentile. Has he hit paydirt as a runner? He has 0.0 rushing touchdowns this season.

Nakia Watson RB 5-11 229

This season, Nakia Watson has 127 rushing yards on 31 carries. Was he able to get to the end zone on the ground? He has 2 rushing touchdowns.As a receiver in the backfield, Nakia Watson picked up 0 yards. He caught the ball as opposed to taking handoffs or catching laterals 0 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 0 receiving touchdowns this season.

Danny Davis WR 6-0 194

This season, Danny Davis picked up 78 yards. He caught the ball 3 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 1 receiving touchdowns this season.

Keeanu Benton NT 6-4 315

The leading tackler among Defensive Tackles for Wisconsin, Keeanu Benton has 5 tackles this season. He was able to keep rushers back and penetrate the offensive line with 0 tackles for loss, which puts him in the 26.7 percentile among Defensive Tackles. When it came to rushing the Quarterback, he has been able to take them down 0 times this season, which put him in the 34.71 percentile among all Defensive Tackles in College Football. He has forced 1 fumbles this season.

Isaiahh Loudermilk DE 6-7 293

The leading tackler among Defensive Tackles for Wisconsin, Isaiahh Loudermilk has 4 tackles this season. He was able to keep rushers back and penetrate the offensive line with 1 tackles for loss, which puts him in the 52.47 percentile among Defensive Tackles. When it came to rushing the Quarterback, he has been able to take them down 1 times this season, which put him in the 70.91 percentile among all Defensive Tackles in College Football. He has forced 0 fumbles this season.

Eric Burrell S 6-0 195

He is the leading tackler among non-exclusive Defensive Backs (meaning he can play either Safety Position, Nickel Back, Star or even play as a Cornerback in coverage) for Wisconsin, Eric Burrell had 7 tackles which puts him in the 40.19 percentile among returning non-exclusive Defensive Backs. He was able to keep rushers and receivers back on screens with 0 tackles for loss last season, which puts him in the 34.12 percentile among Secondary position players. When it came to blitzing the Quarterback, last season he was able to take them down 0 times last season. Eric Burrell as a ball hawker was able to pick off 0 passes last season, which puts him in the 39.44 percentile among returning secondary position players last season.

Falon Hicks CB 5-10 185

Considered the leading tackler among non-exclusive Defensive Backs (meaning he can play either Safety Position, Nickel Back, Star or even play as a Cornerback in coverage) for Wisconsin, Falon Hicks had 3 tackles which puts him in the 25.63 percentile among returning non-exclusive Defensive Backs. He was able to keep rushers and receivers back on screens with 0 tackles for loss last season, which puts him in the 36.32 percentile among Secondary position players. When it came to blitzing the Quarterback, last season he was able to take them down 0 times last season. Falon Hicks as a ball hawker was able to pick off 0 passes last season, which puts him in the 38.84 percentile among returning secondary position players last season.

The Northwestern Roster

The Players to Watch for Northwestern

Peyton Ramsey QB 6-2 220

This season, Peyton Ramsey has put up 723 yards and 6 touchdowns. He has thrown 4 interceptions. He has a QB Rating of 131.1thus far this season. Peyton Ramsey has thrown 4 interceptions this season.As a rusher, Peyton Ramsey has 122.0 rushing yards, which puts him in the 82.94 percentile among Quarterbacks. He ran the ball as opposed to throwing the ball 34.0 times this season, which puts him in the 77.82 percentile. Has he hit paydirt as a runner? He has 1.0 rushing touchdowns this season.

Drake Anderson RB 5-11 190

This season, Drake Anderson has 198 rushing yards on 43 carries. Was he able to get to the end zone on the ground? He has 2 rushing touchdowns.As a receiver in the backfield, Drake Anderson picked up 21 yards. He caught the ball as opposed to taking handoffs or catching laterals 1 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 0 receiving touchdowns this season.

Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman WR 6-2 203

This season, Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman picked up 198 yards. He caught the ball 19 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 3 receiving touchdowns this season.

Jake Saunders DT 6-2 300

The leading tackler among Defensive Tackles for Northwestern, Jake Saunders has 4 tackles this season. He was able to keep rushers back and penetrate the offensive line with 2 tackles for loss, which puts him in the 76.94 percentile among Defensive Tackles. When it came to rushing the Quarterback, he has been able to take them down 0 times this season, which put him in the 34.71 percentile among all Defensive Tackles in College Football. He has forced 0 fumbles this season.

Adetomiwa Adebawore DL 6-2 265

The leading tackler among Defensive Tackles for Northwestern, Adetomiwa Adebawore has 9 tackles this season. He was able to keep rushers back and penetrate the offensive line with 2 tackles for loss, which puts him in the 69.21 percentile among Defensive Tackles. When it came to rushing the Quarterback, he has been able to take them down 2 times this season, which put him in the 84.25 percentile among all Defensive Tackles in College Football. He has forced 0 fumbles this season.

Brandon Joseph DB 6-1 192

He is the leading tackler among non-exclusive Defensive Backs (meaning he can play either Safety Position, Nickel Back, Star or even play as a Cornerback in coverage) for Northwestern, Brandon Joseph had 21 tackles which puts him in the 72.96 percentile among returning non-exclusive Defensive Backs. He was able to keep rushers and receivers back on screens with 1 tackles for loss last season, which puts him in the 76.48 percentile among Secondary position players. When it came to blitzing the Quarterback, last season he was able to take them down 0 times last season. Brandon Joseph as a ball hawker was able to pick off 3 passes last season, which puts him in the 99.03 percentile among returning secondary position players last season.

Wisconsin vs. Northwestern Prediction, Picks, and Odds


Prediction: Wisconsin 23 Northwestern 11

Spread Pick: Wisconsin -7.5 -107 Pinnacle Sports
Moneyline Pick: Wisconsin -280 Bookmaker
Total Pick: Under 44.5 -112 Pinnacle Sports