Washington (2 - 2) 20 @ (17) USC 27: The Trojans hit a major speed bump on their way to the College Football Playoffs, getting spanked by Stanford. There are no short weeks for these teams, as they last played on September 26. Trojan coach Steve Sarkisian faces his former team for the first time since heading to Southern Cal. The Washington defense is solid, but their inability to move the ball will probably give USC an edge.The Huskies are 117th in total offense, which will make it difficult for them to score enough to challenge a fairly balanced attack. But Washington is only giving up 321 yards per game, so it's possible for them to get a turnover or two and stay in this one late. USC was my pick from the Pac-12 to make the playoffs, and they'll need to run the table for that to be possible. I still think they can. But this one won't be easy because the Huskies are going to try to shorten the game and make the Trojans grind this one out. I like USC but, I think it will be closer than the many people might think.
Indianapolis (2 - 2) 23 @ Houston (1 - 3) 27: If the Texans want to have any chance to contend for the AFC South or even a wild card, they have to take advantage of the absence of Colts' QB Andrew Luck to grab a victory at home on a Thursday night. Houston was looking to challenge Indy, but a tough start has left them in an almost must-win situation. An amemic running game has hurt the Colts, while the Texans have had a hard time finding success with Ryan Mallett at QB. Their passing yardage is sixth in the league, but a lot of that is a result of having to come from behind and abandon a running game that until last week was without Arian Foster. Backup Colts QB Matt Hasselbeck will be trying to dodge Texans' standout JJ Watt and make enough plays to get another Colt win while Luck recuperates. If Houston can stop the run, which the Colts aren't all that proficient at, I think they can win. I like the Texans to step up and make Indy pay for sitting Luck for the second straight game.