Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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* CHI at GB (THU) * DAL at SEA * MIN at IND * TB at NYG
ARI at NE * DET at SF * NO at CAR * TEN at SD
* BAL at PHI * HOU at JAC * NYJ at PIT * WAS at STL
* Updated CLE at CIN KC at BUF * OAK at MIA DEN at ATL (MON)

Prediction: CHI 20, GB 31 (Line: GB by 6)

Players to watch: Michael Bush, Randall Cobb, Cedric Benson

Updated Players: Greg Jennings, James Jones

The Bears come off a major thumping of the Colts but that was to be expected. The Packers remain at home after allowing the 49ers to visit with a defense that was actually bigger than the Packers offense. The Packers swept the Bears last season, winning 27-17 in Chicago and later 35-21 in Green Bay. The Packers need this win to get back on track but the Bears won't make it easy with an offense that looks improved.

Chicago Bears
Homefield: Soldier Field
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 IND 41-21 10 HOU -----
2 @GB ----- 11 @SF -----
3 STL ----- 12 MIN -----
4 @DAL ----- 13 SEA -----
5 @JAC ----- 14 @MIN -----
6 BYE ----- 15 GB -----
7 DET ----- 16 @ARI -----
8 CAR ----- 17 @DET -----
9 @TEN ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CHI @ GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Mark Sanchez 10 200,1
WR Victor Cruz 6-90,1
WR Kendall Wright 5-70
PK Connor Barth 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: Opening up the season against the worst team from the previous year can give an unrealistic view of how good you are. But the Bears were hitting on all cylinders and losing the Mike Martz scheme seemed to really do the trick. Where once Jay Cutler was running around throwing to a never-ending cast of receivers, the offense was much more traditional. In fantasy terms, instead of having five or six guys with very mediocre to no fantasy value now there are only a couple but they are really producing.

Cutler ended with 333 yards and two scores against the Colts that was split between Brandon Marshall and everyone else. Marshall had 15 targets and nine receptions for 119 yards and one score. It was a throwback to the pitch and catch days back in Denver. No other receiver or tight end mattered other than the rookie Alshon Jeffrey who took five passes and caught three with 80 yards and a score. Only having to worry about two receivers for fantasy purposes? Nirvana.

The rest of the receivers were even worse than when Martz was still calling plays. Granted - one week at home against the worst team from the previous year hardly proves a major turnaround but then again - it looked every bit as good as you could hope.

Cutler passed for 302 yards and two scores at home against the Packers and later settled for 242 yards and one touchdown in Green Bay.

Matt Forte looked like he was in mid-season form with 16 runs for 80 yards (5.0 YPC) and one touchdown with three receptions gaining 40 more yards. What is troubling - especially for future games where the Bears may not have 28 carries to split up - is that Michael Bush has a significant role. He was given 12 runs and he gained 42 yards with two touchdowns. Both scores were in the first half from the one-yard line. Forte's score game from six yards out. Bush had no role as a receiver which may be a saving grace for Forte. But he was there for the short yardage gimmee touchdowns.

Forte only gained two yards on nine runs in the last game at Green Bay though he added 80 yards on seven receptions. The Packers were softer against the run last week but that was a product of the 49ers defense giving them field position and plenty of reasons to run the ball and chew up the clock - probably not a luxury for the Bears. Bush holds much less attraction here with the Packers likely to not give up many one-yard opportunities. But the passing game should shine once again against a secondary that just allowed two scores and 211 yards to Alex Smith.

Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 8 2 2 32 10 4
Preventing Fantasy Points GB 21 20 20 17 26 13

RB Jordan Howard, CHI @MIN 8014300000 ***
Only David Johnson was more productive in an single game against the Vikings this year than Howard's 30.2-point effort in Week 8. He finished with 202 offensive yards on 30 touches.
WR Deonte Thompson, CHI @MIN 002201000 ***
Thompson can do some nifty things with the ball, but trusting him is asking for trouble in fantasy circles. He's a risky deal in any format.
WR Cameron Meredith, CHI @MIN 006700000 ***
Meredith was a non-factor in Week 8's meeting, but he has come along nicely ever since. The attention paid to Alshon Jeffery gives him a lot of single looks that he has proven capable of beating. Minnesota is the eighth best matchup in PPR this week.
WR Victor Cruz, CHI @MIN 005500000 **
Cruz went for 70 yards on three catches in the Week 3 version of this game, but he has fallen off the radar until awakening with eight catches in Week 16. This one is too dicey to chance.
TE Daniel Brown, CHI @MIN 004300000 ***
Despite permitting two TE TDs in the last 18 catches, Minnesota remains a bottom-10 opponent for the position. Brown shouldn't be used in conventional formats.
TE Dion Sims, CHI @MIN 003300000 ***
Just one of the last 23 receptions by tight ends against the Patriots has found the end zone. Sims doesn't deserve a shot in any conventional format.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Connor Barth, CHI @MIN 0022 ***
Minnesota has given up a high volume of field goal kicks all year and has limited extra points for the most part. Barth may not have to worry about the latter part anyway.

Green Bay Packers
Homefield: Lambeau Field
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SF 22-30 10 BYE -----
2 CHI ----- 11 @DET -----
3 @SEA ----- 12 @NYG -----
4 NO ----- 13 MIN -----
5 @IND ----- 14 DET -----
6 @HOU ----- 15 @CHI -----
7 @STL ----- 16 TEN -----
8 JAC ----- 17 @MIN -----
9 ARI ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
GB vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Rodgers 20,1 320,3
WR Randall Cobb 5-70
WR Jordy Nelson 6-100,1
TE Martellus Bennett 4-40
TE Lance Kendricks 3-30
PK Mason Crosby 1 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: The Packers seemed unbeatable in 2011 other than one trap game in Kansas City. Opening at home would surely mean a win regardless of opponent but that's not going to be true. The 49ers came in with a predictably bad-ass defense but their offense fared far better than expected. It wasn't even a lock that they had an offense coming in. But they outscored the Pack in Green Bay and then thwarted the comeback attempt.

Several interesting aspects to that game were seen. Cedric Benson's race up the rankings may have been premature since he only gained 18 yards on nine carries and had no receptions which was expected. Aaron Rodgers was still the leading rusher (5-27). The Packers do not want a ground game beyond the ability to punch in a short score (provided Rodgers does not take it like normal) and to get a few first downs along the way. The opportunity should be akin to Stevan Ridley who gets to play defenses on their heels from the Patriots passing attack. At least last week, no such benefit existed against the 49ers still very potent defense.

The Packers had some success running the ball on the Bears last year but it is too early to rely on Benson for anything beyond some marginal rushing yardage. The Bears defense should be good enough to keep him at bay this week as well unless the Packers get a really big lead. On passing downs, the Packers took to using Randall Cobb in the backfield and that resulted in him leading the team with nine receptions for 77 yards. That's bad for Benson but great for Cobb. It seems a genius move really - the speedy and elusive Cobb barely has room on either side. Why not put him in the backfield? If it works it could start something new in the NFL. This is really something to watch.

The 49ers were able to largely take Greg Jennings (5-34) and Jordy Nelson (5-64) out of the game plan but Cobb and James Jones (4-81, TD) both stepped up along with Jermichael Finley (7-47, TD).

Jennings is listed as doubtful to play because of a groin strain and will be a game time decision. That makes James Jones more interesting and Jennings a huge risk to rely on.

This still remains a potent offense with a lot of weapons. The Packers had a rough opening that they lost at the end. This week is a restart at home against a familiar opponent. That should get them back on track.


Gaining Fantasy Points GB 7 32 3 6 32 10
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 12 6 24 23 2 22

QB Aaron Rodgers, GB @DET 10000028040 ***
Rodgers threw for only 205 yards in the Week 3 meeting, but four of his 15 completions found the end zone for a cool 28.5 fantasy points. Last year, at Detroit, he tossed a pair of TDs, ran for one, and threw for 273 yards with an interception. The Lions have yielded only six passing TDs in their last five games, or one every 19.5 completions. The secondary is an injury-riddled mess, however, so Rodgers should have a field day.
RB Ty Montgomery, GB @DET 5004300000 ***
Montgomery takes on a Lions defense that cannot possibly account for all of the weapons in Green Bay's offense. This defense give up two scores last week to Zeke Elliott and is battered with injuries.
WR Jordy Nelson, GB @DET 0071002000 ***
Nelson should have no problem finding room to roam against the Lions' banged up secondary. Detroit has surrendered five TDs to the position in the last two games, and Nelson scored two of his own in the Week 3 contest.
WR Davante Adams, GB @DET 004501000 ***
Adams caught 2-23-1 in the Week 3 meeting, but he has exploded since that game. The Packers travel to Detroit this time, and the Lions have allowed five receiver TDs in the last two games alone. This secondary is ravaged with injuries.
TE Lance Kendricks, GB @DET 004400000 ***
Arizona has been stout against the position all year, and Kendricks is too hit or miss to be trusted.
TE Martellus Bennett, GB @DET 003400000 ***
Miami is the second softest opponent for tight ends to exploit in Week 17. The Week 2 meeting resulted in Bennett posting five catches for 114 yards and a TD.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mason Crosby, GB @DET 1144 ***
Detroit has allowed the fourth lowest weekly average of field goal chances, but all 12 extra points in the last five games have gone through. Most of them came against Dallas last week.

* CHI at GB (THU) * DAL at SEA * MIN at IND * TB at NYG
ARI at NE * DET at SF * NO at CAR * TEN at SD
* BAL at PHI * HOU at JAC * NYJ at PIT * WAS at STL
* Updated CLE at CIN KC at BUF * OAK at MIA DEN at ATL (MON)

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