We're split this week.
I think Pat Fitzgerald might have some tricks up his sleeve given the dire situation, but the offense isn't going to be able to do enough. Devin Gardner will throw some picks but NU won't capitalize on them. However, if the front seven is as active as it was against Penn State, maybe this score can flip.
Michigan 24, Northwestern 14
Earlier this week, Pat Fitzgerald said "Sometimes you have to embrace the suck." On Saturday against Michigan, Northwestern ... won't suck. What a concept. Neither of these teams are good, but I think the Wildcats, after losing three straight, will be a little bit better this weekend. A Justin Jackson touchdown run late in the fourth quarter will seal the win.
Northwestern 21, Michigan 17
Northwestern has a lot of injuries coming into this one. The Wildcats are riding a three-game losing streak and have looked increasingly worse in each game. I don't see it turning around on Saturday.
Michigan 31, Northwestern 17
It's almost basketball season... it's almost basketball season...
Michigan 23, Northwestern 10
As bad as Michigan has been this season, Northwestern has been even worse. Statistically the Wolverines rank an average of over 33 spots ahead of the Cats in offense, defense and special teams efficiency according to Football Outsiders. Fitz better hope his favorite mantra "stats are for losers" holds this week, because if it doesn't, the Cats will most likely miss a bowl for the second straight season.
Michigan 20, Northwestern 13
Last week was a fluke for the defense. They won't lay an egg like that again, but the offense still has to produce for a victory over Michigan. I think Trevor Siemian will silence the haters this week and throw for several touchdowns, set up by the steady run game of Justin Jackson, of course. The ‘Cats squeak out a close one in what is a surprisingly high-scoring game and make bowl season seem much more attainable.
Northwestern 31, Michigan 24
This game gets the big ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ from me. We thought last week would be a tough match up between two teams with terrible offenses and good defenses but we were sadly mistaken. Unfortunately, I think the team that beat Wisconsin and Penn State is long gone. I hope I'm wrong, but this team just seems to have lost its confidence and swagger after the Minnesota loss. The only thing that keeps me thinking NU might win is how absolutely putrid Michigan's offense has been. If NU can get on the board first and early, I like our chances. I think Michigan comes in with too many off the field distractions to be fully prepared for an away game. NU wins, but by a slim margin.
Northwestern 14, Michigan 13
In 1925, NU defeated Michigan 3-2. That field goal was the only score Michigan allowed all year and it ruined their perfect season. That safety, intentionally taken in awful field conditions, would cause the rule to be changed that the conceding team would have to kick off, and not receive the ball, following a safety. That game had a major impact on the 1925 season and on football in general. This game should be seen by nobody and might be equally as unpleasant to watch despite both teams needing a win to have realistic hopes of post-season eligibility. At least the game in 1925 had giant puddles. Michigan is more talented but has been plagued by turnovers. That margin has been improving in the last few games, however, which is not a good sign. Northwestern has just three pass plays of 30 or more yards, dead last in the country. Michigan has four. Look for Michigan to sell out against NU's run game and shut it down, just like it did last year. Michigan's defense is among the best in the country against the run and on standard downs. They are merely above average on passing downs, but they are among the best at getting sacks in those situations. Given the recent play of the offense, that presents a nightmare matchup. If NU can move the ball through the air, put together some sack-free drives, and take advantage of turnover opportunities, they'll have a decent shot to win. If they don't, they'll lose.
Michigan 17, Northwestern 10
Positives for this week: Devin Gardner likes to give the ball away. Negatives: everything else.
Michigan 20, Northwestern 10
I think NU should accept a bowl bid if it finishes 7-5.
Northwestern 27, Michigan 20