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: MIN 20, IND 23 (Line: MIN by 1)

Players to watch: Coby Fleener, Kyle Rudolph

The Vikings come off a overtime win over the Jaguars and in the process did what no one thought possible - they made Blaine Gabbert look like a real quarterback. Oh, and Adrian Peterson played. The Colts come off a a solid loss in Chicago but Andrew Luck's debut was not all bad and the Colts at home have a real chance to win this coin flipper. This will be one of the easier games this year for the Colts but that is hardly a lock. But both teams are trying to find themselves and the Colts at home should squeak this out against the 2-6 road team from last year.

Minnesota Vikings
Homefield: Metrodome
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 JAC 26-23 ot 10 DET -----
2 @IND ----- 11 BYE -----
3 SF ----- 12 @CHI -----
4 @DET ----- 13 @GB -----
5 TEN ----- 14 CHI -----
6 @WAS ----- 15 @STL -----
7 ARI ----- 16 @HOU -----
8 TB ----- 17 GB -----
9 @SEA ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
MIN @ IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Sam Bradford 220,1
TE Kyle Rudolph 5-50

Pregame Notes: Credit special teams with keeping the Vikes in the game and eventually winning in overtime. The biggest news was Adrian Peterson returning after only nine months removed from his knee injury. Peterson ran for 84 yards on 17 carries and scorer twice. Peterson has always been a north-south sort of runner and his straight line power and speed seemed back to form. He'll get better incrementally as the season progresses but his start exceeds all expectations and prognosis. Tony Gerhart still had six runs but only gained 18 yards. Peterson has already reclaimed his spot and made Gerhart remain just a footnote.

Christian Ponder passed for 270 yards last week but had no scores. So far in his brief career he's been less effective away from home where he had four touchdowns over six away games. This will be a good test for Ponder against a secondary that just gave up 333 yards to Jay Cutler.

Percy Harvin remains the stud here but no other wideout has stepped up last year or in the first game of the year. Michael Jenkins (3-45) and Devin Aromashodu (3-61) factor in but neither do much to lessen the focus of the defense on Harvin. The one other receiver that does matter may end up to be tight end Kyle Rudolph who enters his second season as the best college tight end from 2011. Rudolph was second to only Harvin with five catches for 67 yards versus the Jaguars. This offense needs him to break out this year and so far the signs are starting to grow.

The Colts biggest advantage is just that they are home and the Vikings are on the road. This game is going to come down to a battle of quarterbacks and either Ponder steps up and plays better or Luck just does as well as last week with fewer turnovers.

Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 27 9 21 20 4 23
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 25 31 31 1 23 27

QB Sam Bradford, MIN CHI 0000025020 ***
Chicago provides a midrange matchup, giving up four TDs in the last five games and picking off two passes along the way. Bradford went for 228 yards and a touchdown in Week 8 against the Bears.
RB Latavius Murray, MIN CHI 5002100000 *
Remember the last time these teams met? Murray does, and probably will the rest of his days. He scored three times. Denver really righted the ship against RBs after that game, and without Derek Carr, it is tough to expect Murray to come anywhere close to that level of output.
RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN CHI 4001100000 ***
The only thing Chicago has done a good job of stopping versus RBs of late is receptions, so keep McKinnon in reserve.
WR Adam Thielen, MIN CHI 009901000 ***
Thielen is coming off what very well may end up being a career day upon his eventual retirement. Aside from the game two weeks back when he was knocked out of action, he has posted double-digit fantasy points in seven of his last eight appearances. He went for 3-40-0 the last time these teams played.

Update: Stefon Diggs is doubtful, paving the way for Thielen to receive more targets.
WR Michael Floyd, MIN CHI 004500000 ***
Update: Floyd enters the rankings after Malcolm Mitchell was deemed doubtful to play, but the former Cardinal is no better than flier for brazen gamblers.
TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN CHI 005501000 ***
In Week 8, Rudolph went for 5-31-0 against the Bears. Chicago has been statistically strong against the position of late, but the competition has been suspect.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Kai Forbath, MIN CHI 3333 ***
The Bears have permitted the 12th largest weekly combination of kicking attempts, which has resulted in being the fourth best matchup for the position in Week 17.

Indianapolis Colts
Homefield: Lucas Oil Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @CHI 21-41 10 @JAC -----
2 MIN ----- 11 @NE -----
3 JAC ----- 12 BUF -----
4 BYE ----- 13 @DET -----
5 GB ----- 14 TEN -----
6 @NYJ ----- 15 @HOU -----
7 CLE ----- 16 @KC -----
8 @TEN ----- 17 HOU -----
9 MIA ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
IND vs MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Andrew Luck 10 300,2
RB Frank Gore 110,1
PK Adam Vinatieri 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The opener was predictably painful but the loss in Chicago was not unexpected and did have some positives from it. Andrew Luck looked very credible throwing for 309 yards and one score in his first NFL start and his three interceptions will get better. Luck faced an aggressive Bears defense primed to play the rookie but this week the Vikings bring in a secondary that was exploited by Blaine Gabbert. That is not a resume builder for the secondary and no doubt where the Colts focus will be.

Luck threw 18 passes to Reggie Wayne who caught nine of them for 135 yards. For some perspective, understand that Wayne never had nine catches or 135 yards in any game last year. That is a positive. Luck also used Donnie Avery (3-37, TD) for eight pass attempts. But the second best receiver on the team proved to be his old college buddy Coby Fleener who caught six passes for 82 yards. For some perspective, understand that Fleener only once had more than four catches in any game during his four years at Stanford. That is a positive.

The receivers will likely evolve as the season progresses but at least Luck hit the ground passing. Now he just needs to limit the catches to his own team mates.

Donald Brown scored once and gained 48 yards on nine carries as the primary back. Vick Ballard turned four runs into only six yards at the end of the game. Brown was mostly met at the line but did manage an 18 yard run when he scored in the second quarter.

The Vikings weak secondary carries over from last year and now faces Luck on the road instead of Gabbert at Minny. The game will revolve around what Luck can accomplish.

Gaining Fantasy Points IND 21 27 9 10 31 9
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 22 19 16 22 17 10

QB Andrew Luck, IND JAC 0000024020 ***
In the last five games, Jacksonville has given up only four TD passes and 218.6 yards a contest to QBs. Luck posted a 234-2-1 line in Week 4 against this defense. Only Brian Hoyer as an individual passer has thrown for more than 300 yards in 2016 versus the Jaguars.
RB Frank Gore, IND JAC 8013300000 ***
Jacksonville is an overall midrange matchup, but this group has allowed a rushing TD per game in the last five weeks. Gore scored once and finished with 20.5 PPR points in their Week 4 meeting.
RB Christine Michael, IND JAC 300000000 ***
Michael doesn't figure to have a prominent enough role without an injury or a blowout. Keep him out of fantasy lineups.
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND JAC 007801000 ***
Back in Week 3, Hilton caught seven passes for 42 yards and a score against the Jags. Only two of the last 57 catches granted have found the end zone versus this defense, however.
WR Phillip Dorsett, IND JAC 003400000 ***
Dorsett shouldn't be trusted if you have anything major at stake, like a Week 17 title. He has fleeting appeal only if Donte Moncrief sits out. Jacksonville is a tough matchup for receivers.
TE Jack Doyle, IND JAC 002301000 ***
Houston has allowed a TD in the last 21 receptions to tight ends. Doyle is a high-risk play at this point, but there is some upside. He went for a line of 4-53-1 in the first meeting.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Adam Vinatieri, IND JAC 2233 ***
Since Week 11, kickers have made all 11 FGAs and eight of 10 XPAs against the Jags. Vinatieri made both of his field goal kicks and all three extra points in the Week 4 meeting.

* 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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