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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
MIN @ CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Christian Ponder 10 220,1
RB Adrian Peterson 80,1 4-20
WR Jarius Wright 3-40,1
TE Kyle Rudolph 4-40
PK Blair Walsh 2 FG 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 Teddy Bridgewater, MIN @MIA 30000021011 ***
Bridgewater continues to improve as he takes the reins of the Vikings. His streak of three straight with multiple touchdown passes ended last week but he did record his second consecutive 300-yard outing. The Dolphins have surrendered multiple scoring strikes in three of four, so Teddy has at least a chance to keep building towards becoming a regular fantasy contributor.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Asiata, MIN @MIA 4005300000 ***
The Dolphins are far from a shutdown run defense--they allowed two RB rushing scores last week to the Patriots--but while Asiata is essentially the only show in town he's nothing special. He'll need to be set up for a shorty to get you a touchdown, and his yardage is unlikely to be anything noteworthy as well. You should be able to do better in championship week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Greg Jennings, MIN @MIA 004501000 ***
Multiple mouths are being fed in the Minnesota passing game, with no one target standing out above the others. First it was Charles Johnson, then it was Jarius Wright and last week it was Jennings who found the end zone. The Dolphins have allowed seven WR TDs in the past four games so there's some opportunity here, but it's both limited and fractured; you should have better options at your disposal for championship week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Charles Johnson, MIN @MIA 005600000 ***
Johnson was the most-targeted Vikings wideout for the second straight week, and his 72 yards was nothing to sneeze at. But where Teddy Bridgewater is topping out at, there just isn't enough to make multiple Vikings' pass-catchers fantasy-relevant.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN @MIA 004500000 ***
The Dolphins have only allowed five TE TDs on the year, and Gronk accounted for two of them. That means tough sledding for Rudolph, who is just starting to get his targets back after returning from injury. If high volume targets is what you seek you should be fine with Rudy, but it's not a particularly favorable matchup.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Blair Walsh, MIN @MIA 2211 ***
Walsh is one for his last six; he couldn't hit water falling out of a boat at this point, so get your kicks elsewhere.

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
CHI vs MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler 240,2
RB Matt Forte 70 5-30,1
WR Brandon Marshall 8-110,1
TE Martellus Bennett 3-30
PK Jay Feely 2 FG
PK Robbie Gould 3 FG 2 XP

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 Jimmy Clausen, CHI DET 0000023022 *
Clausen hasn't thrown a touchdown pass since 2010; heck, he's only thrown nine passes total since 2010. Jay Cutler threw for 280 and 2 in Detroit; sans Brandon Marshall, it's a safe bet Clausen won't approach those numbers.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Jay Cutler, CHI DET 00000000 *****
Benched for Jimmy Clausen.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Forte, CHI DET 3008700000 ***
Worry. Forte's worst game in years came in Detroit in Week 13, when he rushed for six yards on five carries. 52 receiving yards kind of salvaged the day, but with Jimmy Clausen at the helm you can expect the Lions to focus on Forte. It'll be tough to pull the trigger on a replacement, but this doesn't look particularly good for Forte this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Alshon Jeffery, CHI DET 005601000 ***
You might feel positive about this matchup after seeing Jeffery score twice in the earlier meeting, but consider what's happened since then: no Brandon Marshall to draw coverage, and the uber-rusty Jimmy Clausen throwing the ball. He's still reasonably startable, but not with nearly as much confidence.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marquess Wilson, CHI DET 003200000 ***
Wilson scored in his first extended action in place of Brandon Marshall, but it's a significantly tougher matchup this week--not to mention a quarterback who hasn't had to progress through his reads in game action for almost four years. Temper your expectations accordingly.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Martellus Bennett, CHI DET 007601000 ***
Bennett came up large in the earlier meeting with Detroit, and tight end has been a recent Achilles' heel for the Lions as they've allowed games of 69, 109, and 78 yards and a two-TD game--all in just the past month. Bennett should be a favored target for Jimmy Clausen, but it's still a risky proposition given that Chicago's QB hasn't seen significant action in four years.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Jay Feely, CHI DET 1122 ***
It's a telling sign that in two games as a Bear Feely has more onside kick attempts (4) than total points (3). Get your fantasy kicks elsewhere.

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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