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Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs. Duke Blue Devils Prediction and Preview

Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs. Duke Blue Devils Prediction and Preview

Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs. Duke Blue Devils Prediction and Preview

After hanging with a slow-starting Clemson last week only to blown out by the playoff-contending Tigers, Duke returns home with a chance to get back in the win column this week. Its opponent, Wake Forest, will make the short trip to Durham looking to get a win to become bowl eligible, so the Blue Devils could have their hands full this week.

Duke has owned this series since 2012 with wins in five of the last six games played after Wake Forest owned a 12-game winning streak against the Blue Devils. Duke is a heavy favorite to pick up the win this week, but can the Demon Deacons make it a close contest?

Wake Forest at Duke

Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 24 at 12:30 p.m. ET

TV: RSN/ESPN3

Spread: Duke -13.0

Three Things to Watch

1. Wake Forest playing for bowl eligibility

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Wake Forest has a chance to go to a bowl game for the third straight year under head coach Dave Clawson. All Wake Forest has to do is win in Durham, which it managed to do two years ago. Wake Forest has gone to three straight bowl games one other time in program history — when Jim Grobe coached Wake to bowl games in 2006-08. If Wake Forest can meet the bowl-eligibility minimum of six wins, the Deacons will have a chance to win three consecutive bowl games for the first time in program history.

2. Duke QB Daniel Jones a rising NFL prospect

With the college football season coming down the home stretch, scouts are starting to get warmed up for NFL draft season. Seemingly rising in notoriety in NFL draft discussions is Duke's junior quarterback. Jones' combination of size and arm strength is what stands out first to scouts, but his accuracy the last few times out leaves a little to be desired. This week, Jones faces the ACC’s 13th-ranked pass defense, so he'll have a chance to improve his numbers a bit.

3. Greg Dortch close to a 1,000-yard season

Wake Forest has not had a 1,000-yard receiver since Chris Givens had 1,330 yards in 2011. Dortch, just a sophomore, has already become one of the top wide receivers in the ACC, and he enters the regular-season finale with the most receiving yards by a Wake Forest player since Givens’ 2011 season. Dortch takes the field against Duke needing just 46 receiving yards to hit the 1,000-yard mark.

Final Analysis

Duke is coming off a tough blowout loss on the road at Clemson, and the Blue Devils return home to face a team that will stop at nothing to get this win. It’s a bad spot for Duke, but the Blue Devils still have an edge in efficiency inside the red zone. Duke is also slightly better at protecting the football than Wake Forest. Those two trends alone should help Duke stay ahead of Wake Forest on senior day in Durham, and David Cutcliffe will have already won more games than the previous season for a second straight year.

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Prediction: Duke 27, Wake Forest 20

— Written by Kevin McGuire, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. McGuire also contributes to College Football Talk and The Comeback as well as hosts the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @KevinOnCFB and Like him on Facebook.