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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 12
2012
HOU at DET (THU) *BAL at SD *MIN at CHI *SF at NO
NE at NYJ (THU) BUF at IND *OAK at CIN *STL at ARI
WAS at DAL (THU) DEN at KC PIT at CLE TEN at JAC
*UPDATED *ATL at TB GB at NYG SEA at MIA *CAR at PHI (MON)

Prediction: MIN 20, CHI 23 (Line: CHI by 6)

Players Updated: Percy Harvin, Jay Cutler

Players to Watch: Jason Campbell, any CHI receiver besides Brandon Marshall. Anyone. Anyone at all.

The 6-4 Vikings hit the road where they are only 1-3 to face the 7-3 Bears who are on a two game losing streak. This is one of those schedule quirks where these teams play this week and again in two weeks. The Bears swept the Vikings last year, winning 39-10 at home and later 17-13 in Minnesota.

Minnesota Vikings
Homefield: Metrodome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 JAC 26-23 10 DET 34-24
2 @IND 20-23 11 BYE -----
3 SF 24-13 12 @CHI -----
4 @DET 20-13 13 @GB -----
5 TEN 30-7 14 CHI -----
6 @WAS 26-38 15 @STL -----
7 ARI 21-14 16 @HOU -----
8 TB 17-36 17 GB -----
9 @SEA 20-30 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
WR Kendall Wright 2-30
TE Kyle Rudolph 4-40
PK Kai Forbath 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Vikings come off their bye with a 6-4 record and that is probably as good as it will get. Their final schedule is perhaps more brutal than any other team with four of six games on the road and a chance to play the Packers and Bears twice while adding in the top defenses of the Rams and Texans - at their stadiums no less. This is a tough way to finish a year that seemed promising.

Christian Ponder's been decent when facing a bad secondary. He even threw for 352 yards and two scores in Washington. But each time he faced a good secondary, the results were bad. At Detroit he only threw for 111 yards and no scores. At Seattle it was just 63 yards and no touchdowns. When the Cardinals visited, he threw for 58 yards and one score. Now he is looking down the barrel of a new gun every week. At Chicago will be his worst matchup so far this year.

Adrian Peterson has made a miraculous recovery from his torn ACL last January and is on a four game streak over 120+ rushing yards and at least one touchdown every week. He even had his best game of the year while in Seattle when he ran for 182 yards on 17 carries and scored twice. Breaking off a 74-yard run helped his stats but his production has been consistently great. He has been the entirety of the offense in recent games. No doubt defenses will key on him but for that matter - so did Seattle.

Peterson rushed for 39 yards on 12 carries and scored once in Chicago last year.

Percy Harvin was held out of the week ten game with a sprained ankle but is expected back this week after resting on the bye. Unfortunately for the Vikings, Harvin is almost the entirety of the passing effort with five games over 90 yards and four touchdowns on the season. No other wideout score more than once and almost never gain more than around 40 yards in a game.

Kyle Rudolph is the leading scorer for receivers with six touchdowns but that's just one in the last four games and two of those were when he had no catches. Rudolph can catch a touchdown but has been of little use in the passing scheme.

To the advantage of the Vikings, the Bears are coming off a horrible showing on Monday night.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 28 13 23 19 4 17
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 4 5 9 16 5 26

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Kirk Cousins, MIN @GB 10000020020 ***
The good: Denver has given up a TD pass every 10.9 completions (6th-highest frequency). The rest: This is the worst defense for weekly yardage figures, and it's the third-hardest matchup for generating fantasy points (16.1/game).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Latavius Murray, MIN @GB 7011100000 ***
Back in Week 6, Murray wasn't much of a factor. The show was stolen by Jerick McKinnon's two-TD effort. Green Bay remains extremely vulnerable to running backs, though the matchup skews toward pass-catching types. Statistically, this is the worst matchup for rushing touchdowns, but extreme cold at Lambeau could flip the script.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Kendall Wright, MIN @GB 0071001000 ***
Wright has emerged in the past two games, landing 17 receptions on 24 targets. He hasn't scored since Week 4. This projection is rose colored but attainable. Cleveland has given up the fourth-most receptions for moderate yardage (14th) per game, with one in 18 landing in the end zone (22nd).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Adam Thielen, MIN @GB 0071001000 ***
Receivers have scored with the highest frequency against Green Bay in the past five weeks. One in 5.9 catches has made it into the end zone. The Packers have limited receivers to just 9.4 receptions (28th) and 121.8 yards (28th), but much of those figures can be pinned on facing shaky passing attacks of Baltimore, Carolina, Cleveland and Tampa Bay. Thielen posted a 9-97-0 line in the Stefon Diggs-less Week 6 game. This one is at Lambeau Field in what is forecasted to be single digits.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Stefon Diggs, MIN @GB 004601000 ***
Diggs missed the previous meeting. The Packers have been a poor defense of receivers all year, but the recent weeks have provided a few matchups that have helped improve the look of the stats. This defense is 28th in receptions and yards allowed per game, but it remains the best for finding touchdowns (1 every 5.9 catches).
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN @GB 004500000 ***
Rudolph (ankle) played in only 20 snaps last week, and he was limited in Tuesday's practice based on the approximation report. Green Bay provides the third-best matchup of the week, one that rates in the top eight for receptions, yardage and touchdown efficiency against.

Update: Rudolph is not on the injury report for Saturday's game.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Kai Forbath, MIN @GB 2233 ***
Twenty of the 21 combined kicking attempts were good, with all seven field goals being accurate. This is the sixth-worst matchup for three-pointers and sixth-best for TD-capping tries.

Chicago Bears
Homefield: Soldier Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 IND 41-21 10 HOU 6-13
2 @GB 10-23 11 @SF 7-32
3 STL 23-6 12 MIN -----
4 @DAL 34-18 13 SEA -----
5 @JAC 41-3 14 @MIN -----
6 BYE ----- 15 GB -----
7 DET 13-7 16 @ARI -----
8 CAR 23-22 17 @DET -----
9 @TEN 51-20 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass

Pregame Notes: Just like 2011, it was going all so well and them BAM. The bottom fell out. Jay Cutler's departure last year led to five straight losses and judging by the performance in San Francisco, it may happen again. HC Lovie Smith has been optimistic that Cutler may return this week in the way that all coaches say about all their players that they do not want to be truthful about. Jay Cutler himself said that he would play "again this year" which is kinda less optimistic. Barring a sudden and unexpected development, it appears like that Jason Campbell will once again set up shop behind the offensive line that the three little pigs made out of straw.

Granted - Campbell played against a great defense in their stadium. But he only threw for 107 yards and one gimmee touchdown late in the game. He was intercepted twice and sacked six times. He connected with Brandon Marshall only twice for 21 yards. His main problem was that offensive line that rarely gave him the time to set up and throw as planned.

Making matters worse, Alshon Jeffrey is undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery and is out indefinitely. He may show up by the end of the season but by then it could be over. Jeffrey already last six games from a broken hand. The Bears have no other receivers of any note to persuade the secondary to devote less than three people to stopping Brandon Marshall. After Marshall and Jeffrey, all other wideouts combined for only on touchdown and no games over 50 yards. None.

The offense will lean on Matt Forte may with Cutler out and Marshall standing all alone as a receiver. He received 21 carries just last week though they still are not relying on his as a pass-catcher this year. Mike Tice has not used the tight ends at all and even the backs are doing little to help with the passing. That's unfortunate when you literally have only one wide receiver.

A home game against a familiar foe should end better this week but it is starting to look like deja vu all over again.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 24 19 12 32 5 1
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 26 15 19 18 12 12

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Mitchell Trubisky, CHI CLE 10000024020 ***
Unless you play in a deep, two-quarterback league or want to take a wild flier in DFS, the rookie should remain out of starting lineups ... even against the Browns.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jordan Howard, CHI CLE 7011100000 ***
Since Week 10, Cleveland has given up only two rushing scores on 134 carries, which is 26th. The position has 32 receptions over this time, which is the sixth-highest average. Howard faces an underrated run defense that laid the smack down on a red-hot Alex Collins last week. Howard's versatility will be his best asset in this one.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Tarik Cohen, CHI CLE 2004201000 **
Cohen has just one PPR game over 10 points in the last month. He's a fringe option for a lineup spot in championship contests. Cleveland has given up only one receiving TD to RBs over the last 32 catches, but this is a top-10 matchup for weekly receptions and yardage by the position.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Joshua Bellamy, CHI CLE 004500000 ***
Wideouts have averaged 14.4 receptions (4th) for 148.2 yards (14th) and a TD every 18 hauls (22nd). There is little reason to like Bellamy with a title on the line.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Taylor Gabriel, CHI CLE 002300000 ***
The speedster has just four catches in his last three games, including a 1-catch, 10-yard effort vs. the Saints in Week 14.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Adam Shaheen, CHI CLE 002200000 **
Cleveland has permitted tight ends a touchdown every 7.7 receptions over the last five weeks, so there is the off-chance the rookie finds the end zone. Don't pay to find out, however.

Update: The rook is questionable and didn't practice in full all week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Cody Parkey, CHI CLE 1122 ***
This is the eighth-worst matchup for combined kicking chances (18th FGA, 26th XPA), and 82.4 percent of all kicks made it through the posts.

WEEK 12
2012
HOU at DET (THU) *BAL at SD *MIN at CHI *SF at NO
NE at NYJ (THU) BUF at IND *OAK at CIN *STL at ARI
WAS at DAL (THU) DEN at KC PIT at CLE TEN at JAC
*UPDATED *ATL at TB GB at NYG SEA at MIA *CAR at PHI (MON)

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