The stakes grow higher each week for the University of Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers.
Both teams are off to fast starts with the Packers (4-1) more of a surprise than the No. 8 Badgers (5-0, 2-0 in Big Ten).
Wisconsin had a "cupcake" nonconference game last weekend, crushing Kent State, 48-0, at Camp Randall Stadium. The Badgers' stingy defense pitched its third shutout of the season. Wisconsin also used some timely play-action first down strategy to prevent Kent State's defense from keying on star tailback Jonathan Taylor, who still rushed for 189 yards and had a school record five total touchdowns.
The Badgers entertain a much stronger opponent this Saturday in the likes of Michigan State, 4-2 on the season and 2-1 in Big Ten play. However, I'll still pick the Badgers by at least 10 points.
The Packers, meanwhile, surprised the Cowboys and their fans, 34-24, in Dallas last weekend. Next, they greet the Detroit Lions in a crucial NFC North game at Lambeau Field on Monday night. Actually, the perennial NFC North doormat Lions (2-1-1) may be more of a surprise than the Packers are this season, considering they are in second place behind Green Bay. With the early betting line giving the Packers a 41/2-point edge, the Lions come into Green Bay with nothing to lose. The Packers, on the other hand, can earn their third straight division victory after opening the season with victories against the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings.
I would like to pick the Packers by at least a touchdown, but the Lions always seem to make it interesting. It may come down to a last-second field goal. And then, anything can happen.